Nurse to do wing-walk to thank hospital for ‘lifesaving’ cancer treatment

An NHS nurse is doing a wing walk for a hospital charity to raise money after they gave her life-saving cancer treatment in 2016.

Gill James, a local community specialist NHS nurse in Exmouth, will be raising money for the Royal Devon and Exeter NHS Foundation Trust.

“This year I celebrate being a cancer survivor”

Gill James

Ms James said she was “indebted” to the amazing care and treatment she received at the Royal Devon and Exeter Hospital (RD&E) and staff “blew her away” with their kindness, patience and compassion.

Back in June 2016, Ms James found a 9cm lump on her left breast, which turned out to be cancerous. Further scans revealed an additional lump in her right breast and a micro-cancer in her thyroid.

She made the decision to undergo a bilateral mastectomy, the removal of both breasts, and a hemi-thyroidectomy, removal of one lobe from the thyroid gland.

Ms James also completed six rounds of chemotherapy, three weeks of daily radiotherapy and had five operations in total.

“In April 2022, I completed my endocrine therapy, a treatment that stops the effect of certain hormones on breast cancer cells. Now, I can finally draw a line under this part of my life,” Ms James said.

“This year I celebrate being a cancer survivor.” To say thank you for the care she received she decided to raise money for the RD&E charity.

“Gill’s story is remarkable”

Ian Roome

On 8 August, Ms James will be raising funds by doing a 700ft wing walk at Dunkeswell airfield.

Wing walking involves climbing onto the wings of a biplane, being strapped into a harness and then the plane takes off.

The plane can reach maximum speeds of 130mph while performing low dives and sharp turns.

Ms James said: “I saw the RD&E Charity was arranging a wing walk to celebrate the NHS’s 74th birthday, so I thought it would be a great way to show my appreciation while ticking one off the bucket list.”

The head of charity fundraising at RD&E, Ian Roome, described Ms James’ story as “remarkable”.

He said: “It’s really inspiring to hear that she is raising money for the hospital to show her gratitude for the cancer treatment she received. A lovely way to say thank you to the wonderful team at the RD&E”.

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