Cancer survivor Jan turns her many talents to fundraising

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A BORDERS cancer survivor has turned her hand to producing a cookery book, staging a charity hockey match and organising a coffee morning as ways to raise funds to thank her carers.

Teviothead resident Jan Little has raised £4,600 through her fundraising efforts, with the cash split between the Borders General Hospital and Macmillan Cancer Support and, at Jan’s request, the hospital has used its part of the donation to purchase two new electric adjustable beds.

She explained: “I went into Ward 16 at the BGH in 2006, originally for what was thought an ovarian cyst, but they then discovered cancer on the outer side of my bowel which they decided was inoperable.

“On consultation with the Western General in Edinburgh, they decided to do a full hysterectomy and give me six lots of chemotherapy. The surgeon agreed to come down to the BGH to perform the operation.”

The prognosis for Jan was not good, but she is defying the odds and is in remission, no longer having to attend the Western General for any treatment.

She told us: “It was an extremely difficult part of my life as you can imagine.

“But the care shown by all of Ward 16 staff from the top matron, Trish Wintrup, the surgeon, the doctors down to the nurses and so on, was second to none and they all helped me back onto the road to recovery.”

However, there was one thing that Jan wasn’t happy about. She explained: “As the incision for both operations was up my stomach to my belly button it was really awkward to get out of the hospital bed.

“At that point there was only one modern bed that went up and down on the ward which was a godsend for me as moving was difficult.

“So I promised myself that if I got through this I would like to give something back and set about raising funds to buy a bed for the ward.”

Jan’s fundraising efforts where so successful that she was able to buy two beds – and a plaque acknowledging her efforts hangs proudly on each one.

She started her fundraising efforts by compiling a cookbook.

She has always been a keen baker and cook, having been taught from an early age by her mum.

So she thought it would be a good idea to get some favourite recipes from family and friends as well as from her own collection which she gathered during her travels around the world.

Jan told us: “When I started, I decided it would be nice to look back on my late grannies’ ones too, as a lot of the recipes and old sayings would be lost and there were some great ones to be found, as both were good cooks.

“My first batch of 500 books was sold through local shops, which were great in helping promote and sell them, and after about three weeks they sold out.

“So I decided to do a second batch and they were sold out in a fortnight. So thanks to everyone who supported me in this.”

Jan has also always loved photography and, as well as compiling the recipes in the book, took the photographs as well.

More cash came in from the Teviot Valley stitching group to which Jan also belongs.

“The group meets up once a month to knit, sew, tapestry, crochet and have a blether.

“Everyone donates a pound each time they go and at the end of the year it is donated to charity. They kindly gave me the donation to add to the coffers,” she added.

Jan along with friends and neighbours also organized a coffee morning in Peebles, a charity hockey match between Hawick and Peebles – Jan had played hockey for both teams – as well as a ‘Well Being’ day in the Teviot Valley, when alternative therapists donated their time.

Trish Wintrup, senior nurse and operational manager at the BGH, said: “This is a very welcome donation from Jan and we are so very thankful for it.

“The beds are some of the most comfortable around and will go a long way to improving the experience of patients.”