A cancer patient has shared heart-warming messages of support from Coronation Street stars as part of a new fundraising campaign.
Ruth Johnson from Dundee was stunned when she received videos from the cast of her favourite soap on her wedding anniversary, arranged by her husband Les to cheer her up during treatment.
Les wanted to do something special for his wife during chemotherapy and when she contacted stars of the iconic ITV series, they were more than happy to help.
Ruth said: “I love Corrie.
“I couldn’t believe it when Les started posting these videos which had been made for especially for me.”
Ruth, who is a member of Dundee’s new Cancer Research UK Business Beats Cancer fundraising board, was diagnosed for the second time in June and was told her illness is incurable.
The Maryfield resident was first treated for breast cancer in March 2018, aged 48, and is sharing her story to boost awareness for the new fundraising scheme.
It comes after Cancer Research UK revealed they are expecting a £300 million drop in income over the next three years as fundraising events across the country have been cancelled.
Ruth, nicknamed Dora, is receiving treatment for cancer in her chest wall, back and lymph nodes.
She said: “It’s the most awful news to get, that you have cancer again and the doctors can’t cure it, but to be told during a pandemic so no one at the hospital or even your family and friends can come near you, can hold your hand or give you a hug, was awful.
“That lack of human contact made the worst news even harder to bear.
“This continues to be one of the hardest aspects of living with cancer and going through treatment again – so many months after being diagnosed again and still not being able to have a hug with those who have been supporting me.”
Ruth and Les met on a blind date set up by a mutual friend in 2002.
They married four years later and celebrated their 14th anniversary in September.
They now run Dundee graphic design business Creative Orange together.
Ruth said she was “blown away” when she saw the videos on their anniversary.
“Throughout it all, my husband Les has been a superstar,” she said.
“He went to so much trouble to make our wedding anniversary special and the cast of Corrie absolutely blew me away.”
Les posted the first video to Facebook, a message from Daniel Brocklebank who plays vicar Billy Mayhew, while Ruth was having breakfast.
In the recording, Daniel said: “Your wonderful husband Les has asked us here at Corrie to send you a little message to wish you a very happy wedding anniversary.
“I hope you both have a wonderful day and I’m sending you lots of love and well wishes.”
Later, a second video was posted, this time from actress Sally Dynevor who plays Sally Webster and has had breast cancer on and off screen.
Sally said: “I hope you have a wonderful happy anniversary.
“I know you love Coronation Street, and we’ve got some wonderful stories ahead so keep watching, and we send you so much love.”
Ruth said she was particularly touched by this message, given Sally’s own illness.
“Les showed me this video just as we were getting ready to go to Ninewells Hospital for a hospital appointment, so it really struck a chord,” she said.
After the appointment, Les joked that they should have lunch at Roy’s Rolls, the fictional café in Coronation Street.
He then revealed the next video from David Neilson, who plays café owner Roy Cropper.
David said: “I just want to wish you well, send you all possible love from me – and from Roy – and to hope that on your anniversary you have all your friends and loved ones around you, and that you have the best of possible times.
“You’re in my heart, Dora. Loads of love.”
Just as a bouquet of Ruth’s favourite lilies arrived, Les played Ruth a message of congratulations from Corrie flower shop employee Mary, played by Patti Clare.
And before the fun ended, Ruth was invited on a date by the show’s heartthrob Adam Barlow, played by Dundee actor Sam Robertson.
The former Harris Academy pupil, who has played a leading role in Coronation Street since 2004, said he’d love to meet Ruth next time he’s in the city visiting his family.
“I just want to say, that I’m from Dundee as well and my parents and my sister and brother still live there, so maybe when I’m home next, we can meet, go for a drink in the Phoenix or something,” he said.
“It would be nice to meet you. Have a great day, whatever you guys are up to. Lots of love, all the best, and I’ll see you soon.”
Superfan Ruth, who has visited the set of Coronation Street twice with Les, said: “I was flabbergasted.
“I still can’t believe that Les went to so much trouble – I think it took him months to set up.
“We don’t normally do a great deal to celebrate our wedding anniversary and all I’d given Les was a box of sweeties.”
Local volunteers are appealing for more people to support Cancer Research UK’s latest fundraising drive.
Carrie Lennon, volunteer fundraising manager for Dundee, said: “Ruth and her fellow volunteers on Dundee’s Business Beats Cancer board are doing all they can to raise money to help scientists find new ways to prevent, diagnose and treat the disease.
“Covid-19 has slowed us down but we will never stop.
“We’re now seeking passionate individuals and business leaders to join our brand new board in Dundee and help us come up with new and innovative ways to raise money to beat cancer.”