12 years ago John was told he had terminal cancer, but he’s still Living the Dream
Nothing could have prepared John Price for the heartbreaking prospect of not living to see his two children grow up - the bleak future he faced when doctors delivered the devastating news that he was suffering from terminal cancer.
But 12 years on, John, aged 59, is still living life to the full and looking forward to building precious family memories that once seemed an impossible dream.
His survival is thanks to a ground-breaking drugs trial at Sheffield’s Weston Park Hospital - and after 10 years of being clear from cancer, John is hoping to fund further pioneering research by raising a record amount of money for the hospital, while at the same time raising awareness of prostate cancer.
John, from Sandygate, holds an annual golf day in aid of Weston Park, and hopes to reach a total of £120,000 with this year’s event, which will be followed by a Blues Brothers night the following evening, involving family, friends, businesses and sponsors.
“Put very simply, the research study at Weston Park Hospital saved my life and meant that I was able to see my children grow up,” he said.
“I will be forever grateful to Weston Park Hospital and will gladly continue to support and fund the groundbreaking research and treatment that happens there every single day. I would urge anyone, if worried, to visit the doctors and get checked out.”
John was initially diagnosed with kidney cancer in 1998. Although he made a good recovery, in 2001 he was given the devastating news that he had developed secondary cancers and this time the diagnosis was terminal.
At the same time, Weston Park was conducting a research study into the use of a new form of cancer treatment called ‘magic bullets’.
John was able to participate in the trial, which resulted in the four tumours that had developed significantly decreasing in size and eventually disappearing entirely.
The experiment involved using the drug Reolysin, which contains particles of a harmless virus which normally causes stomach upsets.
The common virus is injected into patients and boosts their immune systems, blasting away tumours. Used alongside radiotherapy, it creates a potent combination that makes the disease more treatable.
Clinical oncologist Professor Barry Hancock, who treated John, said: “Eleven years ago John came to the clinical trials centre when his kidney cancer had started to spread.
“He enthusiastically agreed to take part in a Medical Research Council international clinical trial involving new biological therapies and in which Sheffield was one of the lead investigators. It was wonderful to see the cancer clear completely on this treatment and we are delighted that John remains in complete remission to this day.”
John said he later developed further issues which he feared were the first signs of prostate cancer.
“I experienced urological problems and my initial thoughts were that it could be prostate cancer, but luckily this was not the case,” he said.
John - whose wife, Anne, works as an administrator for the cancer charity - has since gone on to see both of his sons marry, as well as becoming a grandfather for the first time.
Seeing his father’s fight against cancer and the care also inspired John’s eldest son, James, to become a doctor.
This year’s golf day is happening at the Hallamshire Golf Club on Friday July 12, involving 55 teams making their way around the course dressed as characters from the film The Blues Brothers.
Last year’s event raised more than £26,000 for the teenage cancer unit at Weston Park, and John is eager to raise more this year with support from local firms such as the Special Steel Group and Westfield Health.
The day, already a sell-out, will be rounded off with an auction and raffle.
* Visit www.wphcancercharity.co.uk for more information on how to support Weston Park Hospital or call 0114 226 5370.