A GRATEFUL granny has said thank you to the hospital which treated her cancer – by giving £1,000 from her own pocket to its cancer centre campaign.

Peggy Whitfield first noticed a lump on her breast when she was on holiday, but didn’t mention it at the time to her husband, Eric, or their friends.

However, when she returned home, she did tell Eric and her daughter, Claire, before going to Essex County Hospital to be tested.

The next 18 months saw her undergo surgery as well as chemo and radiotherapy, but Peggy, 66, said she had nothing but praise for the care she has received.

Since then, the family has been dealt another blow – the news Claire has also been diagnosed with breast cancer and is now also undergoing treatment.

It was all the more reason for Peggy to feel like being generous to the Cancer Centre Campaign, backed by the Gazette.

The campaign is aiming to bring together all local cancer services at Colchester General Hospital.

Peggy said: “My husband and I have both saved hard for our old age.

“We normally go to Benidorm for 26 days, but couldn’t go because I was having treatment. I would have spent more than £1,000 on that holiday, so thoughtIwould give it to the campaign.”

Recalling her own diagnosis, Peggy, who also has a son, Christopher, and four grandchildren, said: “The doctor felt the lump and sent me for a mammogram and a biopsy.

“They said it was suspicious and I went in straight away.

When the results came back ten days later, they said it was breast cancer.

“I had had my suspicions, but I was still shocked, especially as my mother, Ivy, died of breast cancer when she was 67. Everyone said I took it calmly and was always cheerful.”

Peggy, of Delamere Road, Colchester, decided to have a masectomy, to completely remove the breast, to ensure the cancer had gone.

Tests found the cancer was in the early stages but it was an aggressive cancer and HER2 positive, which means the cells grow more quickly.

Less than a month after her surgery, Peggy began chemotherapy.

She lost her hair within two weeks and also had to have radiotherapy.

At one point she developed pneumonia and was rushed into hospital via accident and emergency.

Peggy also had to have treatment when her surgical wound became infected.

Despite all her trials and tribulations, Peggy has nothing but praise for the hospital and its staff.

She said: “All the care I have had in Colchester has been fantastic and I think the hospital needs praising.

“Everyone has been absolutely lovely, they are so kind and cheerful.

“When they found out about Claire, they gaveme kisses and cuddles and said it was the only time they had seen me sad.”