Leeds cancer patients enjoy special Paralympian visit

Children and young people with cancer at St. James’ University Hospital in Leeds were joined by a special guest at the hospital’s first ‘End of Treatment Day’ on Saturday 2 February.

Leeds cancer patients enjoy special Paralympian visit

CLIC Sargent, the UK’s leading cancer charity for children and young people, invited Team GB’s double Paralympic gold medallist Hannah Cockroft to pay the young patients a visit. She shared her summer memories and tips for success at the event, which was attended by children and young people who had recently completed their cancer treatment.

Cockroft, 20, was told she would not live past her teenage years after suffering two cardiac arrests at birth, but she went on to win gold in both the T34 100m and 200m events at London 2012.

Cockroft, who lives in Leeds, said: “It was fantastic to meet so many of the children and young people who have been through cancer, and they were all great to talk to. Obviously the summer was a really special time for everyone, and I always enjoy bringing a bit of that joy to people who have been through so much.

“I’m really grateful to have been invited to the event by CLIC Sargent, and I hope the children and their families enjoyed themselves. 

“I know how much support CLIC Sargent gives families affected by childhood cancer across the UK, and the great work that Candlelighters does to support children, young people and families across Yorkshire, so I’m proud to have worked alongside such excellent charities.”

There are around 100 children and young people diagnosed with cancer each year at Leeds General Infirmary. Families are supported by social workers funded by CLIC Sargent and play specialists and other staff supported by Leeds-based charity Candlelighters, working alongside the team from the Leeds Teaching Hospitals Trust.

Rachel Hollis, Lead Nurse for Children’s Cancer, said: “This was the first event of its type we have ever held, and it was fantastic to see it go so well. Hannah is an extremely inspirational person and to have her here to talk to the children was wonderful.

“Of course the end of treatment does not mean the end of the cancer journey for these children and young people, but it is a time for reflection and is certainly worth celebrating. I know that everyone really enjoyed themselves and I cannot thank Hannah enough for coming along.”