Havering breast cancer survivor adds coronavirus to life threatening diseases she has defeated after 89 days in hospital

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A breast cancer survivor who spent 89 days in hospital battling Covid-19 has thanked the NHS staff who became her “second family”.

Janice Benham and her husband Philip began feeling ill in mid-March shortly after returning from a holiday to Morocco they had taken to celebrate the 63-year-old being given the all-clear from cancer.

When the couple’s symptoms got worse and they were struggling to breathe they called an ambulance and were both rushed to King George Hospital, Ilford, on March 25.

Mr Benham, 65, spent four days recovering on a ward, but his wife had to be admitted to intensive care.

Doctors and nurses lined the corridors to clap her out when she was finally well enough to go home on June 22 -the day before her daughter Claire’s 37th birthday.

Janice, from Havering, said: “It’s lovely to be home with my family. I am a little bit anxious, I know I still have a long road to recovery. My husband and daughter are very good so I know I’ll get a lot of support from them.”

Mrs Benham spent two weeks in intensive care before moved to a recovery ward.

She added: ““The hospital staff who looked after me were absolutely fantastic. The team on the respiratory ward became like a second family. They’d do really nice things and always shared cake with me. Little things like that really made a difference when I was away from my family for so long.”

Philip said: “It hit me like a ton of bricks. I didn’t think it was Covid though, I thought I had the flu. We called an ambulance when Janice started to feel unwell with similar symptoms, a cough and breathlessness, and they took us both in. Janice got worse. It was difficult as I couldn’t come in and see her.

“The intensive care staff were fantastic and called me every day to keep me updated.

Janice leaves King George Hospital last Monday
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Rachael Burford

Local Democracy Reporter