Toby Ward, former Christie patient

Toby Ward was just 34 when he went into hospital for a ruptured appendix in 2016. He thought it would just be a routine operation, but his consultant gave him some devastating news: they had found what they thought were cancerous cells during surgery.

Toby was referred to Professor O’Dwyer at The Christie. Professor O’Dwyer confirmed that Toby had cancer which had spread to his abdominal wall, intestines and spleen. Toby was told he would need lifesaving surgery and hyperthermic intraperitoneal chemotherapy (HIPEC) treatment.

But unfortunately, doctors found Toby’s cancer was more widespread than first hoped. This meant curative surgery wasn’t possible at this stage. Although at this stage his options were limited, there was a glimmer of hope.

Toby visited The Christie and was told that there was a slight chance that regular chemotherapy might reduce the spread of the cancer. This would mean that surgery could then be an option. Even though the odds were low, Toby was determined to try.

After 6 rounds of chemotherapy, Toby received the amazing news that the treatment had worked enough to allow him to go on to have HIPEC at the Colorectal and Peritoneal Oncology Centre with Professor O’Dwyer. After a 13-hour operation and further chemotherapy, followed by an extended period of recovery, Toby received the best news of all: his consultant reported no evidence of disease.

4 years on, Toby is making the most of life. He’s changed his career and followed his lifelong dream of becoming a cricket coach. And he and his wife Jacqui welcomed their son, Finn, in 2019.

Toby’s now supporting our plans to creating a new Academy of Surgical Oncology. The academy will help our expert teams discover new and effective cancer treatments, meaning they can deliver better patient outcomes.

“When I found out I had stage 4 cancer, it was heart-breaking. It was even harder when I found out that the life-saving treatment I needed might not be an option. Thankfully, I had Professor O’Dwyer and the experts at The Christie on my side. The oncology team looking after me said ‘We are going to throw everything at this’. It was an amazing moment because it gave me hope. And from then on, things just kept getting better and better.
“Supporting research is absolutely critical. Professor O’Dwyer and her team have helped to save so many lives already. The Academy of Surgical Oncology will help to take it to the next level.”

  - Toby Ward, former Christie patient

Will you help us fund better, more personalised treatments for cancer patients? Donate today towards our new Academy of Surgical Oncology.