Patient defies the odds whilst raising funds and awareness

Ellen and her family 2July 25, 2017

When diagnosed with a life changing or terminal illness, many people could be forgiven for falling to pieces or giving up.

However, one lady from Sutton-in-Ashfield took a very different approach, after being diagnosed with pancreatic cancer.

Ellen Thompson decided that she wasn’t going to be defeated and would do all she could to raise awareness of the disease and raise money for the Pancreatic Cancer UK charity. By focusing on fundraising she has managed to raise £1540 so far for the charity.

Ellen first thought something was wrong in September 2016, when she visited Nottingham City Hospital with jaundice, but, after further tests, she was diagnosed with inoperable pancreatic cancer. However, after six cycles of chemotherapy using a specialist treatment called Folfirinox (used to treat pancreatic cancer that has spread or can’t be removed by surgery), her tumour had shrunk against all odds, which allowed for an operation to take place to try and remove the tumour and improve her quality of life.

Ellen was diagnosed at Sherwood Forest Hospitals’ King’s Mill Hospital and has been treated by both Nottingham University Hospitals (for chemotherapy and operations), whilst having her PICC flushes (a long flexible tube called a catheter used to give chemotherapy and other medicines. The line stays in place until treatment is over) at King’s Mill Hospital. 

Following her treatment at both hospital Trusts, Ellen said: “I can’t fault the hospital staff at both Trusts, they have been amazing and they have all provided me with excellent care. From ward staff to nurses and support staff, everyone has been brilliant. I have always asked for honesty with regards to my diagnosis and prognosis and I have always received that from everyone who has been part of my care. I really appreciate being given the chance by the doctors and for all they have done for me.”

Talking about her fundraising journey Ellen added: “When I turned 65 I had a party and made it into a fundraiser and asked everyone to donate rather than giving me any gifts. I also asked everyone to wear purple, which is the colour of the charity. We also ran a raffle and tombola, I started off trying to raise £500, but people have been so generous and we have raised so much, I am really grateful for everyone’s support.”

Ellen’s advice to anyone facing cancer is: “Don’t give up, you don’t always know what can be done, the word cancer can be really scary, but don’t let it beat you. Positivity can go a long way.”

HPB (Hepato-Pancreato-Billary) Nurse Specialist at Sherwood Forest Hospitals, Ryan Inumerable, who has been part of Ellen’s care team and has supported Ellen through her treatment, said: “Ellen has been a true inspiration and has remained positive throughout her treatment with us. Her dedication to her fundraising has been admirable and me and the team are really proud of her and her achievements.”  

Ellen is now recovering at home following her operation at the Queen’s Medical Centre in Nottingham. She is focusing on the future and looking forward to a holiday with her family.