Sheffield man’s delight at beating his own ‘death sentence’

Cllr John Robson at The Spires centre in Arbourthorne after returning from Hull following treatment for Lymph Node Cancer with Alistair Beattie, Andrew Keel and Neil Harris
Cllr John Robson at The Spires centre in Arbourthorne after returning from Hull following treatment for Lymph Node Cancer with Alistair Beattie, Andrew Keel and Neil Harris
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a GRANDAD is today celebrating the birthday he never thought he would see – exactly a year after been diagnosed with an aggressive cancer.

Sheffield councillor John Robson is returning to public life and is marking his 64th birthday in a special meal with loved ones tonight.

However, this time last year doctors said he probably would not see Christmas after been diagnosed with aggressive cancer of the tonsils and lymph nodes.

It had taken weeks of tests to discover what was wrong after a lump came up in his neck ‘overnight’.

John, of Lowfield, Sheffield, said: “The doctor told me I’d probably be here for the birth of my first grandson last August, but I wouldn’t be able to see the child’s first birthday and I wouldn’t be here by the end of last year.

“That was the shock, it took my breath away.

“At my age and generation the word cancer is a death sentence.”

John - who had nursed his father until he died of cancer just two years ago - went through five months of ‘grim and gruesome’ treatment at Castle Hill Cancer Hospital in Hull, where his partner John lives.

At some points he was taking 17 different medicines daily, suffered radiation burns, was readmitted to hospital hours after chemotherapy bouts and lost his hair.

John said black humour, support and the ‘amazing’ hospital staff helped him through tough times and turn around his attitude of ‘going through the motions’.

On December 28, with the results of an MRI scan, he was given the ‘all clear’.

He said: “What two wonderful, marvellous words.

“I wasn’t due to live past Christmas, I should have been dead by then.”

Although still suffering from fatigue John, Labour member for Arbourthorne ward on Sheffield Council, attended the authority’s budget meeting last month and has returned to his community work this week.

He hopes speaking out may help others fearing cancer or facing a diagnosis.

He said: “It will be another six months before I feel totally healthy, I don’t mind that. I’m one of the lucky ones because a couple of my fellow patients who were in for the same cancer didn’t make it.

“I have had the most fantastic support and it’s been overwhelming.

“It’s time for me to meet all these people and thank them for their support.

“I’m going to a restaurant tonight to celebrate the fact I’m having a birthday I never thought I’d have – last year wasn’t the birthday I was expecting.”