‘We can’t praise them highly enough’

Janet Blackburn, 57
Janet Blackburn, 57
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Janet Blackburn knows exactly how good cancer care in Sheffield can be.

The childminder from Hillsborough was diagnosed with breast cancer last November - two weeks after her husband Rob was told he had cancer of the oesophagus.

The couple went through eight horrific months when they were both being treated in Sheffield’s hospitals, and Rob sadly passed away in July, aged just 60.

But Janet, 57, a mother of two and grandmother of two, said the dark months were made easier by the professionalism and care of the city’s health workers.

“The care we received was second to none,” she said. “I was treated like royalty. If I was the Queen I wouldn’t have been treated any better.”

Janet is now clear of cancer, having gone through a mastectomy, had her lymph nodes removed, and undergone six rounds of chemotherapy.

“Hospitals get a lot of bad press,” she said. “But I have only experienced wonderful care, from the cleaners to the doctors to the nurses.”

“Thank you is such a small word for what they have done for us.

“I have had a very, very hard time. But having so many people who cared has helped such a lot.”

Pub landlord Gareth Williams, aged 36, from Nether Edge, was diagnosed with testicular cancer last year.

But after 11 bouts of chemotherapy, surgery at the Northern General Hospital, and 120 nights at Weston Park Cancer Hospital, Gareth has been given the all-clear.

He said: “The care at Weston Park is absolutely fantastic.

“Everyone there is fantastic, from the X-ray staff to the consultants, to the physios who helped me get back on my feet - they were all superb.

“I can’t praise them highly enough.”

Gareth was given a private room at the hospital so his two children could visit in peace.

“They bent over backwards to help me,” he said. “They gave me my own room because we have a young family and we didn’t want to be stuck on the ward.

“That made so much difference to us.”

And grandmother-of-three Maureen Youel, 70, from Staincross in Barnsley, also experienced excellent care at Weston Park, after doctors found a tumour in her oesophagus.

“I’m still here enjoying my life and it is all down to the care and treatment I received,” she said.

“It could not be operated on because of how close it was to other vital organs so it was a very worrying time for me and my family.

“My treatment was always delivered with compassion and I felt as though I could have been the only person ill in the hospital, because the staff saw to my every need.

“From the receptionists, to the surgeons, nurses and cleaners, the staff are very special.”