This weekend sees our annual takeover day at Bramall Lane as Sheffield United face Crystal Palace in the Premier League. And though things will look different – most notably with the absence of the vociferous Blades support – we’re using the opportunity to raise awareness of...
Written by:Joe Bamford
Date:May 8, 2021
This weekend sees our annual takeover day at Bramall Lane as Sheffield United face Crystal Palace in the Premier League.
And though things will look different – most notably with the absence of the vociferous Blades support – we’re using the opportunity to raise awareness of the work of Weston Park Cancer Charity to support people and communities across the South Yorkshire and north Derbyshire regions.
One such individual supported by Weston Park has been John Price, from Sandygate in Sheffield.
John’s story, which will air on Bramall Lane’s big screen pre-match, has touched the lives of everybody involved with Weston Park since he was diagnosed with cancer in 1998.
After John was faced with the devastating news that his cancer was terminal, he refused to accept it, and ultimately ended up participating in a clinical trial that has extended his life greatly; enabling him to see his sons through their education, qualify in their respected professions, get married and have children.
John was subsequently rushed into hospital several times after passing blood, with specialists discovering a tumour on his kidney which had to be removed.
“It started many years ago,” said John.
“I was passing blood and very stupidly didn’t do anything about it.
“I was rushed into hospital two or three times and they couldn’t find out what it was. However, eventually they found that the problem was a tumour on my kidney, which had to be removed.
“Unfortunately, 18 months or so further down the line I found out I’d got secondary cancer on my lung and bone at the top of my leg, and my stomach.
“At the time, there was no treatment as such that would help.”
However, Professor Barry Hancock – Vice Chairman and Trustee at Weston Park Cancer Charity – contacted John to see if he would be interested in a drug trial which may help his situation.
“The problem was a big one,” said Prof Hancock.
“John could die in months.”
John agreed to take part in the trial of a drug called Interferon, which at the time was starting to show real promise with boosting the immune system against cancer.
John said: “Prof Hancock asked me if I wanted to do a drug trial which obviously I agreed to do.
“You’re a layman and you haven’t got a clue what it is, but I was just happy to be doing something that could prolong my life.
“It wasn’t pleasant to say the least. it was like having flu for a year. But remarkably it worked.”
Prof Hancock added: “The amazing thing was that John firstly tolerated the treatment.
“And secondly that scans after a few months showed that the disease was stable. Six months later, the lesions were smaller and then we did a scan after the treatment.
“He has had scans since and has remained completely clear.
“You could call that a miracle. But the miracle was the drug that he had, which he could only have because he was part of a clinical trial.
“And he could only have that clinical trial because Sheffield was part of the national trial.”
Weston Park Cancer Charity plays a pivotal role in bringing world-class treatments and research to Weston Park Cancer Centre, giving patients access to the latest advances in treatment.
Not only does this improve the quality of cancer services across the board, but it helps Weston Park’s world-leading clinicians better understand cancer, paving the way for the hope of one day finding a cure.
Since his treatment, John has worked tirelessly to repay the cost of the life-changing clinical drug which he received at Weston Park, which is one of just four purpose-built cancer centres in the UK.
John said: “I asked how much the drug trial cost and they said £100,000.
“I suppose they’ve heard it many times before, but I said I’m going to raise you that back.”
To date, John has raised over £300,000 for Weston Park Cancer Charity through a huge variety of events including his now infamous golf tournaments.
“I’ve paid it back and will continue to thank them,” said John.
“I’ll always thank them for keeping families together longer – and I’ll never be able to thank them enough to keep in my family together as long as they have.
“The best part really is seeing the boys grow up. My youngest son is a successful engineer and never ever flinches to ask to have a day off and help in various fundraising things.
“My oldest son was so moved by my experience that he always says it forwarded him into a career in oncology.
“I don’t want to go through it again, but if I was going through it again I would do things totally differently.
“I didn’t tell anybody – I didn’t tell my wife that I’d got cancer and my main worry was telling the boys.
“You know, they were teenagers at the time… and to tell them that their dad might not be around for much longer was not something I was looking forward to.
“The only thing that ever ever ever gets to me and upsets me is thinking back to having to tell the boys that daddy weren’t going to be around much longer. But he is – and I can’t thank Weston Park enough.”
For more information on our support services and our commitment to enhance treatment and enable research, contact our Helpline by calling 0114 553 3330.Continue Reading