This week I had the honour of being invited for a tour of the Cancer Research labs. Led by Professor Paul Martin and his team at the University of Bristol it was an eye-opening, thought provoking and inspirational day.
We’ve all seen the CRUK adverts and know the stats: every two minutes someone in the UK is diagnosed with cancer. Cancer incidence rates have increased by more than a third since the mid 1970’s. Cancer is the number one fear amongst the British public, feared ahead of debt, knife crime and Alzheimers.
What we don’t see on the adverts is the faces behind the research that is taking place every day at these labs. We don’t get to meet the Professors, Scientists and PhD students dedicating their lives to finding a cure for cancer. I was overwhelmed meeting these people – Professor Martin himself has overcome Hodgkin’s Lymphoma and still managed to make jokes about how ‘odd’ he looked whilst undergoing chemotherapy treatment!
The labs are modest but the equipment is not. I saw one microscope alone that cost £500,000 to buy and takes a further £85 an hour to use. Successful research is now being done using Zebra fish – we learnt that to buy and feed the fish costs thousands of pounds alone! It became very clear very quickly how much money it takes to fund even small areas of research and how heavily charitable giving is relied upon.
Cancer Research now support more than 250 clinical trials in the UK and their ground breaking research has saved thousands of lives. Teams are searching for molecules that could become the breakthrough treatments of the future and cancer survival rates have doubled in the last 40 years. These guys are incredible!
I’ll be working with Zoe, a fundraiser at Cancer Research UK (and childhood friend) to organise various events in Bath for this amazing charity. I hope you’ll support us in any way that you can because even the tiniest amount helps. Zoe assured me that there are small groups of people all over the UK working together to raise huge amounts of money, it doesn’t take much!
Watch this space 🙂