Our fundraising strategy for the Addenbrooke’s 250 Appeal is to provide as many opportunities as possible for members of the community to get involved and support patients of the future. Members of the community like Pete Hobson…….
Having been treated at Addenbrooke’s for stomach cancer, Pete Hobson wanted to give something back and in December 2015, he became an ACT Community Ambassador.
"I had been an international trainer, coach and motivator for many years. But the company I worked for was facing a merger and at 53, I didn’t want to start working for someone new. So I set up my own consultancy, treated myself to a fancy new car and took a month out to run the Everest marathon.
I’d been a marathon runner all my life and had trained properly, but as soon as I got back from Everest I started feeling ill. My doctor thought I had stress ulcers, but within a month I couldn’t even run 100 yards, so I was referred to Hinchingbrooke for an endoscopy. There they discovered a tumour in my stomach. I was lucky; it was operable and it hadn’t spread. I was referred to Addenbrooke’s in 2004 for treatment.
I remember, on the day of my diagnosis, coming home to my apartment, standing by the French windows and looking at the fabulous views over the River Ouse. For 10 minutes I thought “that’s it then”. But I’m incredibly positive and thought “I’m in good hands in the best place possible. I’ve got to deal with myself mentally, stay strong and let the doctors deal with me physically”. I think it was one of the secrets of my success.
I was very open about my cancer. At the time, I didn’t realise that stomach cancer has such a poor prognosis. I was told it was operable so assumed all would be fine.
I had chemotherapy for 10 months and was fortunate in that I didn’t have a terribly bad reaction, so I could carry on working.
At Addenbrooke’s I was treated on IDA. It was experimental at the time and I had an operation to remove 80% of my stomach. I was in hospital for nine days and by the 10th I was in my local Indian with a pint in my hand.
The clinician phoned, however, and said that he wasn’t happy with my histology. He suggested I go back in, before the surgery scars had healed. He re-did the surgery and took out more of my stomach. Again, after nine days I was back out. But these were tough times.
To aid my recovery I decided to train for the November Everest Marathon. I also wanted to use it as an opportunity to raise funds for the hospital as a way of saying “thank you”. At the time I also made the commitment that I would donate 5% of my income.
I wanted to contribute in any way I could. I had presentation skills and now I had something to really talk about! I had already given a few talks about my experiences at Addenbrooke’s to some WIs, Rotary Clubs and similar groups and I’d developed a bit of a reputation. More people started asking me to speak. I just request a donation to the hospital in return.
The sheer consistency of care that I received at Addenbrooke’s was awesome. I felt safe. I trusted my surgeon because of his manner, his assurance. He told me how it was, told me what my role was and I just had to get on with it.
I just want to contribute in any way I can, and ACT’s Ambassador Scheme is a great vehicle for that.”