Community rallies around as 'heart of gold' Warsop joiner battles cancer and coronavirus

Residents in Warsop are rallying around after a self-employed joiner received a shock cancer diagnosis – and was then hospitalised with Covid.

Tony Hubbard is well known in for his selfless work in the community and efforts to better the area he grew up in – earlier this year he built safety barriers on the Carrs to help protect young swans, before helping to a new community park in the summer.

However, the 39-year-old was diagnosed with bowel cancer earlier this summer after going to his GP with what he thought to be mild symptoms, undergoing surgery to remove a section of his bowel last month.

His recovery was complicated though when he contracted coronavirus, which left him in intensive care at Sutton’s King's Mill Hospital – and has left him too weak for chemotherapy.

Tony with wife Leonie and children Evie, 6 and Roman, 1.

Now Nichola Willetts, his sister, has set up a JustGiving page to help Tony and his family cope throughout his extended absence from his joinery work.

Nichola said: “My brother has definitely stared death in the face on more than one occasion this past few months, but has been so strong for his beautiful wife and kids.

“This is far from over though – Tony was expecting 12 weeks off work, but is now looking at 12 months, if not more.

“Being self-employed, it is a long time to deal with everything, plus having financial worries on top.

“Tony has a heart of gold and would do anything to help anyone, so now is the time for us all to give something back.

“We have raised more than £2,000 already and I know, after talking to Tony, this support means the world to them.”

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Battle

Tony’s wife Leonie was on hand to ensure Tony’s surgery wounds could still be cared for through his initial coronavirus battle.

However, he quickly became unwell, due to his immune system being weakened by the cancer and was rushed to hospital.

He was home for just a week-and-a-half after his bowel resection before being admitted to King’s Mill with Covid, where he spent seven days, including five days on the intensive therapy unit. He was diagnosed with covid pneumonia, before also developing sepsis and medical emphysema.

Now recovering at home in Warsop, he still has limited lung function and spends most of his time in bed as he attempts to regain enough strength to begin his cancer treatment.

In a post to his friends on Facebook, he said: “I’m out of breath just writing this, and may not get full lung capacity back for a very long time.

“I have lost nearly two stones in muscle wastage, and I feel really weak, but, as fed up as I am with it all, I know how lucky I am.

"Thank you all so much for the messages, offers of help and donations so far.”

To donate to the appeal, which is currently at £2,275 of its £10,000 target, visit justgiving.com/crowdfunding/craig-willetts

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