Words and photos by Dave Barry
A Scarborough woman who has been to cancer hell and back says she couldn’t have survived without her friends.
Pam Taylor of Columbus Ravine recently got the all-clear after two near-fatal skirmishes.
After her second cancer diagnosis, Pam had her womb, bladder, bowel, urethra and other parts removed in an eight-hour operation. She was in hospital for six weeks.
“Because I’ve had it twice almost in the same area, and my mother died of it, they performed a huge pelvic evacuation and plastic surgery”, she says.
“It was a massive operation, the biggest one they do at Castle Hill Hospital”, says Pam, who has been supported throughout by her friends at a line-dancing class in Burniston.
Pam has been going to the class for several years. “They have been so supportive. They've had a whip-round and taken me out every week and contacted me all through my stay at Castle Hill.
“They phoned me, they sent gifts and flowers and cards, and they are still taking me out”.
Pam has spent two big birthdays in the shadow of cancer. The first time she had it, she was discharged just before her 60th, after eight intensive weeks of radiotherapy and chemotherapy at Princess Royal Hospital in Hull.
She celebrated her 70th with a party at the North Cliff Golf Club last August, not knowing if she was going to live or die.
Her line-dancing friends attended and £700 was raised for Cancer Research.
Now, the class has raised another £100, which they have presented to Gill Blanchard, who represents the charity.
“They have been absolutely fantastic”, Pam says, tears falling down her face.
“All of them. They have been amazing. I can’t put it into words to be honest. They’ve just got me through it, that and the line-dancing. And they are still taking me out”.
Pam recently returned to the class, at the village hall in Burniston, but can only do a limited amount. “I can’t do as much as I did but I want to get fully back to how I was before.
“The first night I went back, they were all clapping and cheering!
“I just fight all the way”, says Pam, who also goes to a keep-fit class.
Pam, who was born Filey, and her Scarborough-born husband Jeff were married at St Oswald’s Church in Filey in 1968 and are planning a golden-wedding party in October.