Simon McConville (26) from Stockport has been inspired to do a 10k run for the first time in his life because of the compassion, care and hope that his stepfather Peter has received from The Christie. Simon is aiming to raise £500 for The Christie charity at the Wilmslow Running Festival on 15 March 2020.
His stepfather Peter (51) from Warrington had already planned his own funeral and cashed in his pension after being diagnosed with inoperable intestinal cancer in January 2018. Peter was told he might have less than 6 months to live but 2 years later he is currently stable following treatment at Manchester’s internationally acclaimed cancer centre, The Christie.
“The news was devastating”, said Peter. “It felt like everyone was out to get my family.”
Worried that his wife Maxine would be unable to pay their mortgage, Peter cashed in his pension and made arrangements for his own funeral. “I arranged to have the plot next to my sister in the local crematorium. It makes it a little bit easier for your loved ones if the funeral is already arranged.”
But Peter asked for a referral to The Christie for a second opinion. He was now in a wheelchair and had lost around 40kg. Dr Angela Lamarca, from the Hepato Pancreatic Biliary team at The Christie saw Peter in April 2018 and admitted him that day for a stent to be fitted to enable him to eat properly for the first time since Christmas, chemotherapy treatment commenced shortly after.
By November that year, the tumour had shrunk enough to be considered for a pancreaticoduodenectomy or Whipple procedure at a neighbouring hospital.
By December 2019 Peter’s tumour marker count was down to 64, from 900 originally, and there had been no cancer growth since the previous scan. Peter currently feels well and has no other health concerns.
Commenting on his experience of The Christie, Peter said: “Everyone I’ve met at The Christie has been so positive. They have gone out of their way to support both me and my wife. I owe my life to them.”
Simon, whose mum Maxine married Peter added: “I’m taking part in my first ever 10k running event to raise money for The Christie because of the treatment my family have received over the past few years.
“My stepdad Peter had been written off, but The Christie gave him and my mum hope. The care and compassion they have given to Peter and the whole of our family has been exceptional. This is my way to say thank you to The Christie for everything the hospital has done.”
All funds raised by The Christie charity from the Wilmslow Running Festival event will go towards The Christie’s ambitious plans to develop a new £26m cancer centre in Macclesfield to provide cancer care closer to home for around 1,500 existing patients each year from Cheshire, North Staffordshire and the High Peak area of Derbyshire.
The Christie at Macclesfield, which received planning approval earlier this year, will transform cancer care in East Cheshire, bringing together essential cancer services into one place, including a wider range of clinical trials. Work on the two storey building is expected to begin in May 2020 with the aim of opening during autumn 2021.
The Christie charity supports the work of The Christie NHS Foundation Trust providing enhanced services over and above what the NHS funds. This includes money for care and treatment, research, education and extra patient services. Gifts from the public make a huge difference to the care and treatment that The Christie is able to provide to patients and their families.
The Christie NHS Foundation Trust was the first specialist trust to be rated as ‘Outstanding’ twice (in 2016 and 2018) by the health regulator the Care Quality Commission (CQC). It referred to The Christie as ‘a leader in cancer care’ and ‘a pioneer in developing innovative solutions to cancer care.’ The CQC praised the Trust’s staff which it said ‘go the extra mile to meet the needs of patients and their families’ and that they were ‘exceptionally kind and caring.’ In 2017, the CQC rated The Christie as the best specialist trust in the country, and one of the top three trusts overall in England.