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Swansea mum's thanks to cancer centre team rings out loud and clear

Image shows a woman ringing a bell.

A mum’s thanks for the way “amazing” staff at Swansea’s cancer centre have cared for her will ring out loud and clear for many years to come.

Jo Gwinnett was diagnosed with stage three invasive lobular breast cancer in June 2023. She underwent surgery followed by a five-month course of chemotherapy at the South West Wales Cancer Centre.

To show her gratitude to staff, Jo, pictured left, from Waunarlwydd, arranged for a special bell to be delivered to the Chemotherapy Day Unit (CDU) within the Singleton Hospital centre.

Many cancer hospitals have bells for people to ring when they reach the end of their treatment. But Jo, whose own treatment is far from over, provided something a little bit different.

Called the Milestone Bell, it is for any patient to ring whenever they feel they have reached an important moment for them.

Jo rang it when she finally finished her chemo, an emotional moment for her, her family, friends and staff who were all present to see it.

Image shows a patient hugging a hospital nurse. “For me, ringing the bell is a celebration to mark finishing five months of my chemotherapy and to put that part of my journey behind me,” said Jo, who has been married to Simon for 23 years. The couple are parents to daughter, Morgan, aged 25, and 21-year-old son Thomas.

“I know I’m not out of the woods yet but it’s an important milestone to mark and I will move on with positivity and hope.”

Right: A big hug for Jo from CDU sister Allison Church, watched by health care support worker Carolyne Paddison

The idea came about after CDU staff put up a notice asking patients what they would like to see in the unit, which is being redeveloped after moving from another part of Singleton last year.

“Someone suggested a bell,” said Jo. “And then I met somebody who said she was finishing treatment and didn’t have a bell to ring.

“So I decided to start the ball rolling. I asked if they wanted one and everyone said yes.

“It would have been nice, through my treatment, to hear the bell ring. It gives you that push – if they can do it, then so can I.”

Jo contacted End of Treatment Bells, a charity she found on Facebook. It supplied the bell, along with a plaque featuring an inspirational poem, which now has pride of place within the unit.

Jo, who donated to the charity in return, is facing further treatment including radiotherapy, therapy drugs, and six-monthly infusions.

She said the chemotherapy had been rough but everyone at the CDU had been amazing. “I want to thank all the wonderful staff who cared for me,” she added.

Image shows a woman ringing a bell. “I would not have got through my chemotherapy journey without the help and support of my outstanding family and friends. They have all been there every step with me, especially my husband Simon.

“The NHS is pretty amazing.”

There were hugs and tears – from family, friends and staff alike – when Jo finished that last chemo session and could finally ring the bell (left).

But she wasn’t the first to ring it. “Somebody rang it at the end of her first chemo session,” she said. “I said, get it open, don’t leave it for me. I’m nothing special!”

Everyone in the unit, though, does think she’s special. Karen Phillips, Deputy Head of Nursing for Cancer Services, spoke on behalf of staff and patients when she thanked Jo for her donation.

“It’s a celebration but what is important is to make it their milestone,” Karen said. “That’s what the bell signifies.

“It’s not just an end of treatment bell. It’s when they feel it is a significant milestone for them. They can enjoy it with their family and friends. And with staff – so many of them were in tears when Jo rang it.”


If this story has inspired you to raise funds for your local NHS then Swansea Bay Health Charity would love to hear from you. Email the charity team at:

Swansea Bay Health Charity (registered charity number 1122805) is the official charity of Swansea Bay University Health Board. We use charitable funds to improve patient care and staff wellbeing throughout the health board by providing equipment, staff training, funding research and completing special projects, which go above and beyond what the NHS is able to provide.

For more information, visit the charity’s website:

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