A local cancer charity has kicked off its festive fundraising appeal, with the help of a former patient.
Weston Park Cancer Charity’s ‘Christmas Star’ appeal - which is now in its fourth year - sees members of the public make a donation to the charity in return for a special star to hang on their own Christmas tree at home.
This year’s appeal is being supported by former patient Jenna McGregor. Jenna, of Mansfield, was just 23-years-old when she was diagnosed with Gestational Trophoblastic Disease, a cancer which grows inside the uterus. Kenna was put under the care of Weston Park Hospital, which is one of only two specialist centres in England to treat this rare disease.
Following nine months of care and treatment Jenna recovered well, but was then given the devastating news that it was unlikely she would be able to have children of her own in the future.
Jenna said: “Having cancer at such a young age and hearing the news that as a result of my illness I might not be able to have children was incredibly difficult to deal with. It was a hard time in my life but knowing I was being cared for by such a specialist hospital and such dedicated staff really did help.”
Now, eight years on from her diagnosis, Jenna has defied the odds and has two children -five-year-old Rae and four-year-old Reed.
“I know how lucky I am,” said Jenna.
“I’m determined to support Weston Park Cancer Charity’s Christmas appeal so I can help other cancer patients in the future fulfil their dreams too.”
Weston Park Cancer Charity is the only dedicated charity for Weston Park Hospital and exists to support the world-class cancer research and to improve the treatment and care for people living with cancer. Last year’s ‘Christmas Star’ appeal raised nearly £30,000 and was supported by over 900 people and organisations across Sheffield. Weston Park Cancer Charity relies on the funds raised by the appeal to invest in ground-breaking cancer research and improve the care and support services available to local cancer patients. The charity hopes that, comes Christmas Day, hundreds of people across the city will have one of its special silver stars hanging proudly on their tree.
Fundraising manager Helen Gentle said: “Thanks to the great strides that have been made in cancer care and treatment, in large part funded by charitable donations, there will be many families, like Jenna’s who will be preparing to spend a happy Christmas together. Please help us keep more families together for longer.”