John W.Pattison was born in 1957 and enjoyed a normal, although uneventful childhood, discovering his passion for Newcastle United in 1969 and seeing them win the Inter City Fairs Cup that same year, sadly Newcastle have seen little silverware since that year. By his own admission John wasted his school years, much preferring to play the practical joker and subsequently left school with a handful of worthless qualifications significantly limiting his employment opportunities. So leaving his education behind him, he started work in a local shipyard in 1973 as an apprentice Welder.

Two years later and his life would change forever as a huge black cloud hovered overhead, the spectre of a cancer diagnosis would result in a permanent question mark over his whole existence; a lymphoma diagnosis which would change not just his personal philosophy but also the direction of his fate.
Realising there was a real threat to his mortality he turned to his other great passion, perhaps his overriding love, music, but not just any music, John enjoyed the escapism, the ambience and at the same time the hypnotic beats of space rock and a band called Hawkwind. This music would be his driving force, his focus and his inspiration throughout his desperate fight against cancer.
And so it was that he set out on a journey in 1975 that would be like no work of fiction, a pathway that essentially would manipulate his personality, map out the rest of his life, embarking on a journey that eventually would create his ‘love affair with cancer’.

After treatment with chemotherapy, radiotherapy and then subsequently palliative care and confronting his very existence on more than one occasion, it was in 1977 after yet another relapse his parents are told, ‘John is unlikely to survive this cancer’.  Yet some six months later he would be told that all evidence of any cancer had disappeared.

Some eight years after his unexpected recovery and having married for the first time John is given the news that all parents fear, a diagnosis of cancer of his beloved daughter Donna. He too, just like his parents had been, would be told by the experts that Donna would not survive her leukaemia diagnosis and yet, just like John she too would enter a spontaneous remission to confound the experts. Donna would go on to become a prolific swimmer representing Great Britain at the 1995 World Swimming Championships in New Zealand making John the proudest dad in the world.


Having left the shipyards after Donna was given a terminal diagnosis John returned to full time education to gain the qualifications he needed to start a new career in nursing. Subsequently, he began nurse training in 1989 and enjoyed a meteoric rise to the top of his profession, today working at his home town hospital in South Shields, the very hospital that made his cancer diagnosis many decades earlier. Working as Clinical Nurse Specialist in Haematology he is responsible for the care of individuals with the same cancers suffered by both he and Donna.

His first book, ‘A Love Affair with Cancer’ is aimed at offering hope and inspiration to anyone living with or indeed beyond a cancer diagnosis. It is also aimed health care professionals who do not always understand the psychological burden of a cancer diagnosis. Importantly, it is a self-funded project which will hopefully make donations to cancer charities from its sales.

Throughout his cancer journey, John found inspiration and direction through the sound of legendary space rockers Hawkwind. During his lowest ebbs he found escapism in the sound produced by one of the most defining bands of this century. Ultimately, when he wrote his book, A Love Affair with Cancer, a copy was presented to each member of the band. In 2005, he actually performed on stage at Donnington Park with the band, while his space rock experience went to the next dimension when he became a member of the Hawkwind Road crew for their tours of 2006 and 2007 and remains close friends with the band today. His own band, Wind of Change tour regularly and even supported Hawkwind at a festival in Devon in 2007. All of this, John puts down to fate!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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John as a baby

 

 

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John pictured just weeks before that inevitable diagnosis.

 

 

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John marries his soulmate in 2005.