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Helping Yorkshire Shine: Neil Garner

“So many people have been stars during my cancer experience”, said Neil Garner, 69. “From my family and friends to the brilliant staff at the NHS and the fellow patients I met on the ward who helped me keep a positive attitude.

“The team working on the Active Together programme have all been stars, and I want to do something to thank them this Christmas.”

Neil, from Fulwood in Sheffield, was diagnosed with bowel cancer in May 2022. He received treatment at Weston Park Hospital in Sheffield and has now been given the ‘all clear’.

18 months on from his diagnosis, Neil is looking forward to spending Christmas with his wife Lynne, children and two young grandsons.

Neil and his grandsons

He said: “Last Christmas was three months after my operation, and I was halfway through my chemotherapy treatment.

“This year, I’m looking forward to a healthy and happy family Christmas, with many more to come. Plus, my grandsons can go back to jumping up and down on me. I’ll be watching the film ‘It’s a Wonderful Life’ with my wife from a whole new perspective this year.”

Neil and his grandsons at Christmas Neil and his grandsons at Christmas

To recognise the people who supported him throughout his treatment, Neil has dedicated a ‘Yorkshire Star’ to the team who run the Active Together programme, as part of Yorkshire Cancer Research’s annual Christmas campaign.

Active Together is a pioneering exercise programme funded by Yorkshire Cancer Research. The service offers personalised fitness, nutrition and wellbeing support to people diagnosed with cancer.

Neil was referred to the exercise programme to help prepare for surgery following his diagnosis with bowel cancer. After his surgery, Neil continued to be supported by the team, who helped him rebuild strength and fitness after chemotherapy.

Neil at the Active Together site in Sheffield

Neil continued: “Now that I’ve finished my treatment, I want to give something back to help other people going through the same cancer experience and I believe the best way to do that is to support the work of charities like Yorkshire Cancer Research who fund Active Together. Taking part in the Yorkshire Stars campaign is a nice way to do that at Christmas.

”The charity’s campaign invites people to ‘help Yorkshire shine’ this Christmas. People can get involved by dedicating a Yorkshire Star to someone affected by cancer, or to someone who has made a difference during their own experience with cancer. Stars are displayed on an online gallery as well as a physical Christmas tree at the charity’s Yorkshire Cancer Research Centre in Harrogate.  

People can also support the campaign by donating to the charity, or by coming along to the Yorkshire Cancer Research Centre in Harrogate for a festive event. The event, held on 14th December, will include the chance to enjoy festive music, browse the charity’s new boutique-style shop and same festive treats from the new cafe.

Find out more about how you can help Yorkshire shine


Emma Jacob, Communications Officer

Yorkshire Cancer Research

Tel: 07903225991