Pensioner a volunteer at the Romford hospital treating him

�A Hornchurch cancer patient is giving up his free time to volunteer in the same Romford hospital he is being treated in.

Barry Wood, 72, of Nelmes Way, has been volunteering at Queen’s Hospital, in Rom Valley Way, on the cancer information desk for the past three months.

He was eager to help the hospital that has been taking care of him since he was diagnosed with Non Hodgkin’s Lymphoma in October 2008.


“My gratitude to Queen’s Hospital was such that I decided to give something back by becoming a volunteer,” he said.

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Barry first realised he was ill after developing night sweats and losing three stone in weight.

He visited his GP, Dr Timothy Bland, at Billet Lane Medical Centre, in Billet Lane, who sent him for blood and bone marrow tests and a brain scan.

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The diagnosis took three months to complete, a time Barry described as tough on his wife, Harriet, and their two daughters.

“It was a bit scary not knowing what it was,” he said. “But Dr Bland was extremely supportive and he kept me going for all these different tests.”

Barry was sent to Queen’s for chemotherapy treatment at the Day Unit and the Mandarin B ward.

“The staff were fantastic and very professional,” he explained.

“They made things easier for you and helped to make a bad experience more bearable. I even enjoyed the hospital food!”

After the chemotherapy sessions Barry’s cancer went into remission and, inspired by the care he received, he applied for voluntary work at the hospital.

“I thought as a cancer patient myself I could talk to people and reassure them that there is life after cancer,” he said.

Barry is now one of more than 200 voluntary workers at Barking, Havering and Redbridge University Hospitals NHS Trust.

Stationed at the Cancer Information Centre, he is in charge of ordering and supplying literature on the disease for patients, nurses and doctors.


Jean Thompson, Trust voluntary services manager, said: “The volunteers give up their valuable spare time to help others and they are greatly appreciated by the patients and staff in the trust.”

Barry, who will also begin acting as a patient representative on the hospital’s Cancer Board from next month, believes the hospital itself needs praising.

“I am extremely proud of Queen’s Hospital and all the staff who are continually working to improve patient car,” he said.

“We all in Havering should be celebrating that we have it in our borough.”

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