When the sound of a ringing bell can be heard throughout the Linda McCartney Centre, it usually rings to celebrate the completion of a person’s cancer treatment.
For Margie Shields, however, the sound means something very different.
On 21 June, Margie will rang the Linda McCartney Centre bell, which is seen as a symbol of hope, to celebrate her 200th treatment for her terminal bone cancer and remind everyone that “it’s still possible to make the most of your life”.
The Linda McCartney Centre brings together a state of the art breast assessment unit, a purpose built chemotherapy unit, an outpatient unit and a research and development department to oversee over 500 different forms of research within the Royal Liverpool University Hospital.
Mother-of-one Margie said: “I’ve heard the bell being rung, but never thought I would get to ring it myself because my treatment is never going to finish.”
Margie, 67, from Huyton, was first diagnosed with breast cancer in 2002. Following a successful double mastectomy, Margie received further devastating news when she was diagnosed with metastatic bone cancer just two years later.
Margie remembers suspecting something wasn’t right with her breast in 2002, but admits the second diagnosis came out of nowhere.
“In 2005 my daughter pointed out a lump on my chest. I immediately contacted the Linda McCartney Centre again to make an appointment. After having a bone scan, my worst fears were confirmed when I was told I had bone cancer. I was devastated.
"I always try to not think too far into the future; I want to live my life now. The only time I have thought that far ahead is when I told myself that I wanted to be around to see my daughter growing up. She gave me the strength to fight my cancer."
Margie is under the care of The Clatterbridge Cancer Centre NHS Foundation Trust at a specialist outreach clinic at The Linda McCartney Centre.
This service is provided by The Clatterbridge Cancer Centre as part of the partnership approach to treating patients with anti-cancer drugs closer to home.
Margie continued: “The drugs I receive are wonderful and make a real difference to my quality of life. Even though my cancer is terminal, I’m able to carry on as normal.
“Nowadays, people think bone cancer is the end but I am proof that with the right treatment you can live for a long time and can make the most of your life. Thanks to the Royal and Clatterbridge, I have had 15 great years and I hope to have 15 more.”