It’s my way of saying thanks for your care

John Jempson, who has been battling cancer, with his wife Eileen
John Jempson, who has been battling cancer, with his wife Eileen
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A DYING cancer patient has thanked nurses for the treatment they have given him in a unique way – by paying for their Christmas night out.

John Jempson, 55, has battled cancer since 2005 and was told last year that it had spread throughout his body.

However, thanks to the efforts of staff at the Western General he has been given an extra year of life after intensive radio and chemotherapy.

And as a result, he’s setting aside £400 from recent fundraisers to ensure the nurses of ward three have a festive bash to remember.

Mr Jempson, a former painter and decorator from Newhaven, was diagnosed with throat cancer in 2005.

Treatment then kept it at bay, but last year he discovered tumours had attached themselves to key arteries and that there was little more that could be done to stop its onset.

He recently held a fundraising football match between Hearts and Hibs fans, and at his birthday celebrations shortly after requested cash donations be brought instead of presents.

The bulk of the £3000 funds will go to the Western General’s head and neck department.But he said: “I also wanted to find a way to thank the nurses, because they run around daft and have to put up with a lot from some patients.

“This was just a wee thing to say to them, ‘Go out and enjoy yourselves’, and to make sure they got some benefits themselves from it all.”

Mr Jempson, who gets “great support” from wife Eileen and his three children, said he had come to terms with the news of his cancer, but added he may not be here at all were it not for the work of the ward.

“When it had spread to my lungs and attached itself to arteries I was told there wasn’t any more they could do for me,” he said.

“But then the Western said they could try this round of therapy and it might give me an extra year.

“I had nothing to lose, and I’m now well into that year so I know I’ve only got a couple of months left.

“I want to be as positive as I can, there’s no use just going to the pub and drinking yourself away, I’d rather go and watch the football and spend time with my family. In this situation a lot of people worry about how their families will take it, but they’ve got on with it really well too.”

Sandra Mair, deputy director of operations for NHS Lothian’s university hospitals division, said: “I would like to thank Mr Jempson for his very kind gesture, and for recognising how hard the staff on ward three work.

“It is always nice when staff receive praise and gratitude for the work they do every day of the year in helping to provide the best possible care and treatment for our patients.”