A first half-marathon to support the GTD team

John Midgley with his brotherJohn Midgley’s JustGiving page gives a heartfelt story about the effects a diagnosis of Gestational Trophoblastic Disease (GTD) can have for a family, but has nothing but praise for the support they received from the GTD team at Sheffield’s Weston Park Hospital.

In his words:

“In January 2012 it felt like our world fell apart. What should have been the start of one of the happiest times of our lives went wrong. Nicola was pregnant, but it went wrong … what was supposed to be a baby growing inside her turned into a tumour. We were devastated. At the time it was a blur, it was initially something we thought we would just get through and try again … it wasn’t to be. There were a few things that got us through, but the one constant was the support we both got from the fabulous team at Sheffield Weston Park Hospital, especially Jane and Sarah. They obviously helped Nicola, but they were also there for me, explaining what was going on and listening to me when I didn’t know who to talk to. Even today, over 5 years on, they are still there when the 6-monthly samples are due or if we have a question.”

To say thank you to the team John has been fundraising by putting himself through his first half marathon in Bridlington on 15 October, battling a hilly route with strong headwinds for most of the way and realising rather too late that wearing black and not drinking enough water was not the best strategy!

What did work really well though, was that by using his JustGiving page to share his pre-race jitters as well as to tell his story so movingly, he smashed his fundraising target of £250 and has now raised over £500 including Gift Aid.

Donations can still be made via John’s JustGiving page

What is Gestational Trophoblastic Disease?

Gestational Trophoblastic Disease is a rare condition that can develop during pregnancy. The placenta is the organ that is normally formed as part of a healthy pregnancy and it produces hormones that help the baby grow and develop. It is made up of millions of cells called trophoblasts. In trophoblastic disease there is an abnormal overgrowth of all or part of the placenta. The trophoblastic cells do not grow as they should, and form a mass of abnormal cells in the uterus. The growth can be either benign or malignant. A malignant GTD is commonly called gestational trophoblastic neoplasia (GTN).

Following diagnosis, patients in the UK are registered with and followed up by one of three specialist centres, one of which is located at Weston Park Hospital, Sheffield. The Northern GTD centre at Weston Park Hospital registers approximately 600 new women annually. In most cases GTD is removed surgically and women are monitored with 2-weekly urine tests to ensure the disease is resolving spontaneously. However around 5-6 % of women diagnosed with GTD will develop persistent disease (GTN), and therefore will require chemotherapy. There are only two treatment centres in the UK, women from the North of England and Wales will travel to Sheffield for their treatment. The disease is chemotherapy sensitive and 98% curative.

Little is known about this rare disease and often many women and their families will not have heard of the disease. Women receiving treatment for GTN face a unique set of challenges associated with the loss of a pregnancy and a cancer diagnosis. It can be a very difficult and challenging time, and having a specialised centre for GTD plays a fundamental role in ensuring these patients are well supported throughout their journey. The specialist centre is very passionate about the work they do and research plays a fundamental part of the service. Internationally the UK is leading on GTD research and is currently involved in many research projects to improve the care and treatments given to patients. The aim of the GTD team’s work is to ensure they provide the best possible evidence based care for these patients.

The Sheffield Centre is led by gynaecologist Professor John Tidy as the Director, with Medical Oncologist Matt Winter as the deputy Director. Lead clinical nurse specialist Kam Singh is responsible for the day to day management of the service, with her team of clinical nurse specialists – Annie Hills, Sarah Gillett and Jane Ireson. Julie Ford and Tracey Byne provide the team’s admin support. The team also works very closely with other specialities including clinical chemistry, radiology and histopathology.

For further information about GTD, please visit the GTD Team website 

To make a donation, please visit our Online Donation web page where you should choose 'Other' as the Fund Name and 'Jean’s Trust' in the 'Other' details box.

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