A husband and wife from Congleton who have both been diagnosed with cancer have donated more than £2,760 to The Christie at Macclesfield appeal.
Keith Oldham (59) and his wife Andrea (46) asked guests at their wedding last September to donate money for new equipment at Macclesfield District General Hospital and later decided to donate the surplus collected to support The Christie’s plans for a new cancer centre in Macclesfield.
Keith, a freelance IT consultant, was first diagnosed with bowel cancer in 2017. He had surgery at Macclesfield Hospital to remove the tumour, chemotherapy and then radiotherapy at The Christie.
During this time he was travelling from his home in Congleton to south Manchester every weekday for five weeks. Not only contending with traffic jams but also having to take regular toilet breaks to deal with the unfortunate side effects of his treatment.
Shortly before his wedding to Andrea last September, Keith found out that cancer had returned, this time in his lung, he had to have around half of his lung removed at Wythenshawe Hospital.
Then, only a fortnight before Keith was due to present his donation to The Christie, his wife Andrea found out that she had been diagnosed with breast cancer. She will now have surgery followed by several weeks of radiotherapy at The Christie in Withington.
Keith and Andrea raised over £5,000 at their wedding with around £2,000 being donated to purchase a top of the range surgical headlight for surgeons at Macclesfield Hospital, including consultant colorectal and general surgeon Chris Smart, who had performed Chris’s original surgery in May 2017.
Speaking about his experiences at East Cheshire NHS Trust’s recent Annual General Meeting, Keith thanked Mr Smart and Ward 1, before expressing his gratitude to staff for their care while he was undergoing difficult chemotherapy sessions.
Keith said: “Chemotherapy can be one of the worst experiences but the Macmillan Centre is one of the best places to have it. The compassion and care you get there is on another level. I’ve never experienced anything like it.”
Speaking about why he is supporting The Christie at Macclesfield appeal Keith said: “The Christie does amazing work with some very special dedicated staff who go out of their way to help you.
“I know exactly how gruelling it can be to not only go through daily radiotherapy every day for five weeks but to have the added stress of a long journey to and from Manchester. I know that being able to have treatment closer to home will make a huge difference to patients in the future. I only wish we had it now because very soon it will be my wife Andrea going through daily treatments in Manchester.
“The NHS staff at every level and every stage of my treatment have been wonderful, from the housekeepers to the consultants and radiographers who oversaw my care. I’ve experienced such wonderful humanity and I wanted to give a little back by fundraising. I’m also planning to write a book about my experiences to say thank you.”
Keith and Andrea are determined to maintain a positive attitude to help comfort their family and friends, including Keith’s three sons.
If you would like to support The Christie at Macclesfield appeal please visit www.christies.org/macclesfield or call 0161 446 3988.
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 our patients and their families. The charity has more than 53,000 supporters who helped raise £13.9m last year.
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.