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UWE presents honorary degree to Thomas Foot

15 September, 2017
Dr Vivien Gibbs, head of the department of allied health professions at UWE, presents Tom with the honorary degree.

In recognition of his contribution and loyal support of radiotherapy student education at the University of the West of England, Bristol, Thomas Foot was awarded an Honorary Degree of Master of Science at a graduation ceremony in July at Bristol Cathedral.

Janice St. John-Matthews, Associate Head of Department (AHP) at the University, said: “Tom has contributed to healthcare education at the University for a number of years. His background makes his input to the programmes valuable to both students and staff.

“Tom was a successful businessman but his career came to an abrupt end in 2008 when he was diagnosed with cancer of the larynx, resulting in a total Laryngectomy, followed by radiotherapy treatment. He was extremely grateful for the care and support he received from radiotherapy staff who ensured the experience was as dignified and as compassionate as possible.”

At first he found the changes to his life very difficult, explains Janice, and he never quite realised the full implications of loss of voice and how that would impact upon him and his family. Eventually things started to improve, especially as he learned to communicate using his new voice.

“Tom realises how far he has progressed since his operation and acknowledges the huge depth of gratitude he owes to those who have helped him along the way,” said Janice.

“He now likes to give as much back as possible, and talks about his experiences to laryngectomy patient clubs.”

At the University of the West of England he regularly participates in interview panels for applicants to the Radiotherapy and Diagnostic Radiography programmes, helping to select those individuals with the appropriate qualities to train as healthcare professionals. 

Together with his wife, he gives talks to students during their training about his experiences within the NHS during his journey of care and treatment. This provides valuable support and inspiration to our radiotherapy students. 

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