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Frank Hayward's Story

They say “you never know what’s around the corner” and in my case how true that statement was. Having reached 68 years of age in 2017, I considered myself to be fit and active. In fact, at the end of June that year I walked Wainwright’s ‘Coast to Coast’ in 14 days of continuous walking.

Then the bombshell. In July 2017 I was diagnosed with a High Grade, Stage 2, soft tissue sarcoma in my left leg.

The sarcoma was removed in September 2017 and the operation included some re-constructive surgery to my leg. Once the leg had healed sufficiently I underwent 32 sessions of radiotherapy over a 6-week period, travelling more than 3000 miles for my daily sessions in Leeds.

The end result was that I had gone from a ‘Coast to Coaster’ to someone who struggled to reach the post box some 200metres from my home using 2 elbow crutches.

Several weeks of physiotherapy coupled with the healing process and I was free of crutches. As a consequence of my surgery, the lymph networks that carry fluid around the body had been cut resulting in swelling in my leg. My consultant suggested a Lymphoedema Clinic might be able to help and he referred me to the Sunflower Centre at St Leonard’s Hospice.

St Leonard’s Hospice is an oasis of calm set in beautiful gardens. The atmosphere within the building immediately puts you at ease. My specialist Lymphoedema nurse, Julie Shepard, is very friendly, welcoming and supportive. Julie creates the time to fully explain your condition, offers advice on the options available to you, and at all times is caring and allows you to express your views and concerns. I have nothing but praise for the staff at St Leonard’s.