Elaine Rennie could think of no better way to celebrate her 60th birthday, than by shaking the hand of the man who saved her life.
As a young mum, the South Yorkshire woman had been diagnosed with a life-threatening disorder called Agromegaly - the result of a brain tumour in her petuitary gland.
With two young children to think about, Elaine chose to put her life in the hands of Professor Robert Battersby, a neurosurgeon at Sheffield’s Royal Hallamshire hospital.
“It was a scary time, but I was told surgery was my best option, so I agreed and focused on trying to be strong for my children,” said Elaine, who lives in Elsecar in Barnsley.
“22 years ago, this was a fairly new procedure but everything went smoothly and now here I am celebrating my 60th birthday. If it wasn’t for Professor Battersby, I wouldn’t have seen my 40th birthday, I’m certain of that, so I owe him everything.”
It was this revelation that led Elaine to ask family and friends to mark her milestone birthday by making a donation to Hallamshire’s neurocare department. Around this same time, Elaine’s children decided to contact Neurocare in an effort to track Professor Battersby down.
“They were just kids when all this was going on,” recalled Elaine.
“But they’re all grown up now and wanted to meet the man who gave them their mum back.”
And Elaine admits that, when the reunion finally happened this month, it was an emotional meeting.
“I honestly just couldn’t thank him enough,” said Elaine.
“It meant a lot that we all got to thank him in person for the work he does.”