South Shields cancer survivor who has been 'through hell and back' thanks Cancer Connections and supporters as he rings the bell to mark five years clear of disease
A cancer survivor who has been through “hell and back” has thanked everyone who has supported him throughout his health battle as he marks five years clear of the illness.
Gary Patterson, 57, was diagnosed with throat cancer in May 2014 and had to undergo a seven-hour operation, followed by hours of radiotherapy as part of his treatment.
Now the South Shields grandad of three is celebrating five years clear of cancer and rang the bell to signal the major milestone at a party held at The Clover and Wolf in the town.
The event held on August 31, managed to raise £2,630 for Cancer Connections, a South Tyneside Charity which supported Gary during his journey back to health.
Gary said: “It was an emotional night – ringing the bell closed that chapter in my life.
“I want to say thank you to everyone who has supported me along the way – I wouldn’t be here without their support and love.
“I want to thank everyone who donated to the charity and to pay for the band, as well as my family and friends.“Thanks also to the public and Deborah Brennan from the Clover and Wolf, who gave us the room and helped with the prizes.”
The charity event featured music from popular band Rivelino, along with a raffle and auction.
Gary continued: “Cancer Connections have been absolutely fantastic.
“They have supported me throughout – from giving me food hampers at Christmas, to being there for me when I broke down in front of them and massaging my neck after I had the operation.
“Cancer Connections is there for everybody who is going through what I have been through – and I have been through hell and back.”
The charity based on Harton Lane, South Shields, provides emotional and practical help for those with cancer and their families.
Cancer Connections co-founder and manager Deborah Roberts said: “We really appreciate that funds that Gary and his supporters have raised for Cancer Connections.
“It is lovely that Gary has done this yet again for us.
“Thank you to everyone who has supported us through the event.”
It is the second big fundraiser Gary has held for the charity, having raised £2,243.75 to be split between Cancer Connections and Macmillan Cancer Support back in 2014.
Gary also thanked his parents, daughter Kerri Mcaskel who helped to organise the fundraiser, and Sunderland Royal Hospital doctors.