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Stranded cancer survivor reunited with stranger who helped him to urgent appointment

15 January 2021, 20:16 | Updated: 15 January 2021, 20:37

By Victoria Smith and Nick Hardinges

A cancer survivor who was stranded in the snow on Thursday has been reunited with the kind stranger who gave him a lift to an urgent appointment.

Luka Johnson, 28, was on his way from Pontefract to Dewsbury Hospital, both in West Yorkshire, to find out whether his cancer had returned.

However, the wintry weather that had blanketed the region on Thursday - causing Yorkshire Ambulance Service to declare a 'major incident' - left Luka stranded at a petrol station due to the thick snow on the roads.

"It was full of hills where we were; it was impossible to go any further forward," Luka told LBC.

"There were cars abandoned everywhere and cars crashing. My girlfriend was visibly upset, I was upset. I thought I'd missed the appointment.

"With Covid and everything that's going on, the chances of getting another one soon were slim to none."

But the harsh conditions were not enough to stop one good samaritan from coming to Luka's rescue.

Read more: Snow and ice warning for much of England and Scotland this weekend

Luka Johnson was told upon getting to his appointment that he is now cancer-free
Luka Johnson was told upon getting to his appointment that he is now cancer-free. Picture: LBC
Steffan James told LBC he was emotional after hearing Luka had the all-clear
Steffan James told LBC he was emotional after hearing Luka had the all-clear. Picture: LBC

Steffan James, 28, of Earlsheaton in Dewsbury, got talking to Luka after pulling up to the station to put petrol in his 4x4.

"Without hesitation, he said 'just jump in and come hell or high water we'll get you there'," Luka said.

"The roads were dangerous but he put me before himself in order to try and get me there. But he got me to my appointment, which I'm over the moon with."

When he got to the hospital, an emotional Luka was then told he was cancer-free which, he said, was a big relief to his family members who were all in tears after hearing the news.

The pair were reunited by LBC reporter Vicki Smith via Zoom for their first conversation since the ordeal.

Asked why he wanted to help Luka, Steffan told the station: "We got into a conversation and he mentioned he was going to a major appointment to do with cancer.

"And cancer's a close thing to me because I lost my mum this year due to cervical cancer."

Read more: Heavy snow and freezing rain batters UK forcing vaccine rescheduling

Luka said finding out being cancer-free "is absolutely amazing and it feels like there's a weight lifted off my shoulders".

"And not just for me, but everyone who's close to me. My father was in tears yesterday and everyone who's close to me owes that to Steffan."

Steffan replied saying it made him feel "very good" to hear Luka had the all-clear.

He said: "I'm not going to lie, yesterday when I found out he had the all-clear it got me a bit emotional because of how it ended up - I dropped him off and was like 'right, I'm never going to hear from him again' and I was kicking myself."

Luka said that if he had failed to make the appointment and it turned out he did, in fact, have cancer, "it could have been the difference... between it spreading and not spreading and, quite frankly, between life or death".

He gave a "big thank you" to Steffan, concluding that it's "great to see the world's still a nice place, despite the times we're living in".