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Grateful pancreatic cancer patient raises funds for hospital’s Oncology department

4 December 2019

A patient with pancreatic cancer is raising funds as a way of saying ‘thank you’ for the excellent care he has received through University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay NHS Foundation Trust (UHMBT).

John Patchett, who is originally from Grimsby and now lives in Crag Bank near Carnforth, has had his hair shaved off to raise money for the Oncology Department at the Royal Lancaster Infirmary.

John describes his condition as “an inconvenient ailment” and said he and his wife Moyna had chosen to adopt a positive attitude towards his illness. John had his head shaved during Pancreatic Cancer Awareness Month which took place throughout November.

John said: “Rather than raising money for a national organisation, I want to raise funds for people like me who live in the local area.

“I have received magnificent care and I want everything I raise to go to the Oncology Department. There are lots of people worse off than me!”

John had his head shaved by Suzanne Reaney during the morning service at Torrisholme Methodist Church in Morecambe. John’s friends at the church were so touched by what he was doing that they donated more than £800 on the day. He is now aiming to raise at least £2,500 and is asking for more donations.

“I’m feeling the cold now,” smiled John. “It’s never been as short as this.

“I didn’t feel well on the day but I didn’t let it stop me. They were actually queueing up to donate! I felt like Midas.”

John said he’d also had great support from his local GP, Dr Jim Hacking and his Upper Gastro Intestinal Specialist Nurse at the Royal Lancaster Infirmary, Sarah Bruce.

John had many different jobs in his working life from engineering to estate management. He was a keen bowler and a member of Carnforth and District Bowling Club until he found it too hard to continue.

Like the majority of people who develop pancreatic cancer, sadly it was far advanced when John started to feel ill.

He said: “I just thought I had a bad back. I went for physio a few times but nothing was working.

“I was losing lots of weight and by the time I saw my GP I had jaundice. Then I had scans and a stent was put in my bile duct.

“This stopped the jaundice and I was put on pills. In some ways I don’t feel ill at the moment; I just have a bad back and I don’t have much energy.

“Moyna is my rock. I would be lost without her. We just try to keep laughing.”

Sarah said: “We are delighted that John is raising funds for the Oncology Department at the RLI.

“Unfortunately, the symptoms of pancreatic cancer can be confused with other things and it can be very hard to diagnose. Often patients present late and it has spread.

“I love my job. It’s very rewarding to work with people like John.  My role is to support each person on their treatment journey.

“It’s a difficult disease to treat. Nowadays the aim is to fast-track any patients who potentially have pancreatic cancer and operate as soon as possible.”

Pancreatic cancer has the lowest survival rate of all cancers in the UK. The five-year survival rate is seven percent and the one-year survival rate is 24 per cent.

All funds raised by John will be handled by Bay Hospitals Charity and used to enhance the care of patients within the Oncology Department.

Donations can be made at ‘Beverley Fisher For Hair’ at 13, New Street, Carnforth, LA5 9BX, at the Oncology Department at the RLI and through Bay Hospitals Charity at http://www.bayhospitalscharity.org/donate/ in the name of John Patchett, visit the RLI charity office or call 01524 516 064.