Losing a loved one is never easy, but to see someone fade away knowing there is nothing you can do to help them is especially difficult.
Seven years ago I lost my mum to breast cancer, which when it was diagnosed was presented as a death sentence because the disease had already spread into her bones.
Like every son I thought my mum was the most special person on the planet.
Able to solve every problem, there whenever you needed her – kind, generous, loving and seemingly indestructible. So when a nagging back pain eventually led to the family being taken into a small room at the Royal Hallamshire to be told that not only did she have breast cancer but it was also untreatable our worlds fell apart. We were not alone. Everyone knows someone close to them who has been affected by cancer.
You only have to see the popularity of events such as Race for Life as people raise money to help find a cure for this wicked disease.
From these devastating situations you take a silver-lining wherever you can find it.
Ours came from the support we received, first at the Hallamshire and then later at Weston Park Hospital.
As a city Sheffield is very lucky to have such experts on our doorstep.
And now, for me at least, these geniuses may have found the holy grail – a treatment that could have helped a woman like my mum.
Scientists at Sheffield University say they have discovered a way of stopping cancerous cells from burrowing into a patient’s bones. Secondary tumours in bones is the cause of roughly 85 per cent of the 12,000 breast cancer deaths seen in the UK every year.
But the team has discovered a type of drug which may stop cancer penetrating the bones in around 30 per cent of cases.
They hope the findings will slash breast cancer death rates, which affects more than 50,000 people in the UK every year.
The drugs, called bisphosphonates, are already used to treat osteoporosis.
Now, the trials are still at an early stage and need to be verified in further clinical trials but what this news does is give people hope.
My mum was a fighter – a typical Sheffield woman who would take on all comers. If she’d have had hope then she would have seized on it with every fibre of her being.
Hope is all we ask for in the battle to beat cancer. And it may be right here in Sheffield that it begins.