Continuing our landmark series of pullouts to mark the 30th anniversary of the Inevitable Good Health section, here are more inspiring stories, practical advice and medical breakthroughs culled from our archives.
Today, we look at a disease – cancer – where these advances have had a major impact, reducing mortality. There is much to be hopeful for for cancer patients and their families.
But for a lot of people, there is heartbreak – highlighted in this moving interview with Gary Lineker from 2005, where the TV sports presenter talks about her support for a hospice for seriously ill children, and talked about the agony of seeing his own son George. A child, undergoing difficult – but ultimately successful – treatment for leukemia…
December 20, 2005
When Gary Lineker came to open a new playroom in Kent Hospice [Demelza House]The normally bustling areas had a dreary atmosphere.
‘They lost two children that day,’ he recalls. ‘It was hard to get away from it. The other kids were happy to have a new facility, but there was a note of sobriety about the whole event. It brought home to me how amazing these people really do, in circumstances most of us would consider the impossible.’
Like most celebrities, Lineker, a former England captain turned sports TV presenter, gets his fair share of requests from donations. But when asked to attend DeMelza House, which Mel chose as the beneficiary of his annual Christmas appeal [back in 2005]He didn’t hesitate to say yes.
In a moving interview with Gary Lineker from 2005, he speaks about the agony of watching his own son, George, (pictured together), then a child, undergo horrific, but ultimately successful, leukemia treatment. Is
And there was a deeply personal reason why the father of four wanted to lend his support to the charity.
Thirteen years ago, Lineker discovered how difficult it can be for a family to cope alone in the event of a child’s serious illness. His eldest son, George, was diagnosed with leukemia when he was just a child.
Lineker and his then-wife, Michelle, spent much of George’s early life by his bedside at the Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children in London, where little George had chemotherapy.
Although the treatment appeared to be successful immediately, George did not become fully clear until the age of five. Memories of those painful days are clearly not far from Lineker’s mind.
a magic pill to swallow
6 March 2001
A revolutionary device that is small enough to fit in a pill could prevent thousands of developing bowel cancers. Nicknamed the Magic Pill, it’s actually a digital camera hidden in a capsule the size of an aspirin.
Today’s update: The gadget was developed as a tool called PillCam, which is now widely used around the world (pictured)
After ingested by a patient, it begins its journey through the intestinal tract, breaking up true color images every five seconds. Until now, it has been nearly impossible to examine the middle part of the small intestine with endoscopy or colonoscopy, which makes it difficult to detect warning signs of cancer.
Dr Paul Swain, one of Britain’s leading gastroenterologists, was the first person in the world to swallow the magic pill just a year ago. Since then, 50 patients have used it worldwide, including nine in the UK.
Today’s Update: The gadget was developed as a tool called Pilcam, which is now widely used around the world. Earlier this year, the NHS launched a pilot scheme with tablets based on similar technology, which have been sent to 11,000 patients to be screened at home. As well as aiding in early diagnosis of bowel cancer, it is hoped that it can tackle the backlog in colonoscopy due to the pandemic.
“When I come to a place like Demelza and see families that are so worried, it all floods back,” he explains.
‘Any family that has ever had to sit by a child’s bed, filled with anxiety, will never forget how awful it feels. But we had a big difference.
‘When George was ill, we always hoped he would be fine, and we cling to that hope. I think being positive was the only way we could get over it. However, the families here have faced the worst. Most have had to accept that their children will never get better. Some are right in the end.’ He trembles. ‘The strength of character you see in a place like this is really humbling.
‘I honestly don’t know how some families do it – but places like this really help them tackle the impossible.’ When he goes to Demelza House – where he spends time talking to parents, or kicking football with the youngsters – Lineker does not talk about his family, to say that he understands, To an extent, what are they doing.
‘It’s very different,’ he explains. ‘I never make a big deal out of what happened to us, but most people we know have had an experience with a very sick child, and they appreciate it.
‘But I won’t say for a minute that I understand what they’re going through because I don’t. You can’t unless you have to go down that path.’
However, with each visit, he returns home – to his four boisterous sons – reminded of his own good fortune.
Maybe that’s why Lineker has long been immersed in fundraising territory.
As well as supporting Demelza House, he is a tireless campaigner for Great Ormond Street.
He also supports leukemia charities, and was a high-profile campaigner for the donor card.
They say, ‘I want to forget something about the times we went through, but I can’t, and taking a little back is probably our way of saying thanks, and maybe helping other people in the process. have to do,’ he says.
IVF fear of breast cancer
The death of Paul Merton’s wife Sarah Parkinson in 2003 once again brought IVF treatment into the limelight for all the wrong reasons. After it was found that she had breast cancer…