A LANCASTER mum-of-two has raised £10,000 to say thank you to the hospital which saved her life.
Linda Grimes is recovering from leukaemia but has still found the time to fundraise for the haematology and oncology unit at Blackpool Victoria Hospital.
Linda was diagnosed with acute myeloid leukaemia last January.
She began feeling unwell in November 2011 and was diagnosed with an underactive thyroid.
But by January she was feeling worse, and her husband Ian took her to A&E at the Royal Lancaster Infirmary.
She was sent straight to Blackpool Victoria Hospital’s specialist haematology unit.
“I still didn’t realise it was serious,” she said.
“But then the doctor just came out with it that I had leukaemia and I had to start chaemotherapy the next day.
“It was a massive shock. I just couldn’t believe it.
“You never think it is going to happen to you but it did and I had to go through a lot of intensive treatment.
“I slept through most of the next few months and I can’t really remember much of it.”
Linda, who has a son Kane, 20, and daughter Shelby, 18, finished her last course of chaemotherapy in September, although her treatment was hampered by bleeds on the brain.
She was then told she would need radiotherapy, and travelled to Christie’s Hospital in Manchester for 12 sessions.
During this time Linda’s hair began to fall out until she eventually took matters into her own hands and shaved her head. Linda was so grateful for the care she received that she embarked on a quest to raise as much money as possible for the unit that cared for her.
The 42-year-old, who lives in Sefton Drive, Scale Hall, said: “I just felt I had to give something back and decided to raise as much as I could with Ian and the family.”
“It was hard but I had great support from my family and the staff on the unit, who were absolutely amazing.
“Nothing was too much trouble for them and they did all they could to make my stay as comfortable as possible. I have no doubt that without the skills of the consultants and the support of the staff I would not be here today.”
Ian, 49, and Linda’s sisters Jackie Higson and Sandra Stewart took part in tandem parachute jumps at Cockerham last July and raised £5,000.
Family friends raised £2,000 while a further £3,000 was raised through a fun day at a local pub.
The money will go towards new TVs and wireless headphones for the ward Linda stayed on as well as specialist equipment for the unit.
Dr Paul Cahalin, a consultant haematologist at Blackpool Victoria Hospital, thanked Linda and Ian for their support.
He said: “We are overwhelmed by Linda’s donation and it will help make a huge difference to the unit.
“Linda was really sick and we had some difficult times but she looks great now and it is lovely to see her looking so well.
“Linda had some of the most up-to-date treatment possible anywhere which involved specialist DNA techniques.
“We are proud to be one of only a few units in the country that could provide such expertise and we are delighted that she is looking so well.”
Linda and Ian are now looking to raise more funds for the unit in 2013, with another fundraising day in August planned.
Kathy Ancell, head of fundraising at the hospital trust, said: “Linda is a real inspiration and Blue Skies Hospitals Fund is extremely grateful to her, Ian and their family and friends for their generous support.
“They have raised a fantastic amount of money for the benefit of future patients and should be very proud of their achievement.’’