Stories

A Fundraising Thank You

A couple from Sheffield are supporting Weston Park Cancer Charity after experiencing the specialist care on offer at Weston Park Hospital first hand.

 

In October 2012, just before Tom Bolland (28) and his wife Becca were due to embark on their travels around Australia, Becca visited her GP with symptoms she wanted looking at before they went away.

 

In a frightening turn of events, Becca was referred to Jessops Hospital in Sheffield for a biopsy where an aggressive cancerous tumour on her cervix was discovered. Within days Becca began a course of intensive radiotherapy followed by chemotherapy.

 

Tom, who met Becca through their mutual love of music, said, “I can’t forget the day we were told that Becca had cancer. It was like being hit in the belly with a big rock and someone spinning you round and asking you to run straight. I’d never been through anything like it before, so of course I thought the worst. But I remember my mum saying, ‘she’s at Weston Park, don’t worry’. It wasn’t until Becca’s treatment started that I understood what she meant. Some of the best humans I’ve ever encountered work at Weston Park Hospital and for their care, we will be forever grateful.”

Life beyond cancer

After surgery and a blood transfusion on Christmas Eve 2012, Becca was told there was now no sign of the cancer and, although spreading was thought to be inevitable, for now she was in remission.

 

Tom, a Financial Advisor at Aviva, was determined to raise money for Weston Park Cancer Charity following Becca’s recovering. Having signed up to complete the Great North Run and Sheffield 10k, Tom is hoping that through matched-funding from fundraising events at Aviva, his final total will top £750.

 

Tom continued, “I can’t name all the incredible staff individually but it’s thanks to them that I still get to argue with Becca about what’s for tea and about the price of new bedding. I get to listen to her tell me about silver and gold shoes and show me pictures of them 100 times a week without buying them. I get to take out her contact lenses and put her in bed after a Saturday night on the town and I still get to listen to her tell me the flat is freezing- when it really isn’t.”

 

“I’m super grateful Weston Park Hospital gave me the chance to do all that and even though there are still difficult times ahead, I worry a lot less knowing that this fantastic hospital is just up the road.”

 

Charity Fundraiser, Gemma Noon said,
“Tom and Becca have been through a rollercoaster of emotions but it’s great to see Tom turning the negatives into positives raising funds for the cancer charity. Whether in memory of a loved one or to say thank you for care received at Weston Park Hospital, every penny raised enables us to continue supporting life-saving projects and improve cancer services across the region.”

 

To support Tom’s fundraising visit his JustGiving page at www.justgiving.com/fundraising/Bolland5

Cancer Clinical Trials Centre runs more trials than ever before

The Cancer Clinical Trials Centre plays a critical role in the development of treatments for cancer patients in our region.  Established in 1999, the centre now employs more than 70 staff working on over 200 clinical trials at any one time. One in five cancer patients currently participate in a clinical trial (compared to just 1 in 25 in 2000), and with sustained investment, the centre hopes to maintain and increase this level of recruitment in the coming years.

Funding Breakthroughs

Investment from the University of Sheffield, Sheffield Teaching Hospitals and Weston Park Cancer Charity has enabled the rapid growth of the centre and secured the ‘very best’ academic talent.

 

The team, comprising research nurses, radiographers, data managers, laboratory technicians and administrative staff, work tirelessly to manage and carry out the vast and intricate work contributing to the overarching goal; to achieve the best outcomes for those fighting cancer.

 

Centre Manager, Wendy Wilson said, “Over the years, the centre has been involved in and delivered some important ‘first in patient’ trials, and invested in early stage research projects which have ultimately transformed the way certain cancers are treated across the world. It is extremely important for us to attract and retain high quality researchers and oncologists so that the centre in Sheffield can ensure our patients receive the highest standard of treatment and care.”

 

Last year, 1,402 patients across the Sheffield cancer network were recruited to a clinical trial and investments were made into many projects including surgery, bone oncology, drug development and improving radiotherapy treatments.

 

Lead Research Nurse, Alison Clarke said, “We rely on funding each year from Weston Park Cancer Charity to expand and improve the way research is delivered. Without this support, the Centre would simply not have achieved the successes it has over the last 20 years. Research undertaken ultimately saves lives and the more research we can do, the more families in our region can stay together for longer.”

Janet’s Story

Janet Blackburn (60) was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2010 and just 2 weeks later her husband, Robin, was diagnosed with cancer of the oesophagus.

 

Janet underwent a mastectomy, had her lymph nodes removed, received chemotherapy at Weston Park Hospital and responded well to treatment. Sadly, her husband lost his fight with cancer in 2011 whilst both were receiving treatment simultaneously.

 

In March 2011, Janet was offered the opportunity to take part in a clinical trial called the D-CARE Study. This involved six sessions of chemotherapy followed by check-ups at the hospital every three months.

 

D-CARE is a trial in women with breast cancer looking to see if a drug called Denosumab, which is normally used to strengthen and protect the bones from weakening due to osteoporosis or damage from cancers that have spread to the bones, can also help prevent breast cancer from spreading in the first place.

 

Research Nurse at the Cancer Clinical Trials Centre, Sarah Brown said, “Janet was one of the first patients to sign up to the D-Care study and is still being followed up by the study 6 years after her diagnosis. We are so grateful to Janet and the other patients who sign up to these studies, not only do they often receive new cutting edge medicines first, they also help to improve quality of care and treatment for future patients. Meeting patients like Janet is the best part of my job.”

 

Since diagnosis and whilst still receiving treatment, Janet has gone on to raise a staggering £22,500 for Weston Park Cancer Charity through various fundraising initiatives and now holds a craft stall every month in the hospital’s main reception area.

 

Janet said, “The staff at Weston Park Hospital and in particular at the Cancer Clinical Trials Centre have saved my life. Every penny I raise for the cancer charity is a huge thank you from me and a hope that one day I can raise funds to give cancer patients the treatment options that I had.”

 

To find out more about the Cancer Clinical Trials Centre visit sheffield.ac.uk/oncology/units/co/research/crc.

Cancer patient takes on 1,000 miles and raises over £10,000

In September 2016, Jonathan Booth (36) from Monk Bretton took on a 15 day, 1,000 mile cycle ride from John O’ Groats to Land’s End, despite a terminal cancer diagnosis.

 

Jonathan was first diagnosed with saliva gland cancer in 2003. Following successful treatment at Weston Park Hospital, the cancer returned in 2007 and Jonathan faced another round of radiotherapy. Sadly, in the summer of 2016, Jonathan was given the devastating news that the cancer had spread to his stomach and liver and was now terminal.

 

“I couldn’t believe it when they told me the cancer had returned,” said Jonathan. “My options are now very limited and the future is somewhat uncertain. But whilst I’m still physically able to do so, I want to set a real example and encourage others going through similar situations to never give up!”

 

Jonathan climbed on a bike for the first time following his final diagnosis and trained daily at Barnsley Premier Leisure venue Fitness Flex to give himself the best chance of completing the course

 

“More than anything, I want people to realise what a vital service the hospital provides to cancer patients in our region. The charity plays a key role in enhancing this service so that people like me can access the very best care and support throughout.”