Monday, 11 May 2009

Campaign awards reception

A very emotional and exciting evening at the House of Lords last week: Breast Cancer Campaign has an annual reception to present awards in a number of categories to supporters – both corporate and personal, volunteers and the research team of the year.

While the general news is relentlessly depressing whether it is about MPs’ expenses, the wider economic situation and death and destruction around the globe – it is good to be brought back to the reality that there are a huge number of people here who do great things pretty selflessly and also carry significant individual burdens with courage. It is my great privilege and pleasure to speak about the activities of the charity and announce the awards but the best part of the evening is to meet those individuals upon whom our research is entirely dependent – the fundraisers.

The research team of the year was from Sheffield and their research results have been widely publicised and could change the way breast cancer patients are treated. The team found that giving two drugs, a chemotherapy agent and a bone protecting drug in a particular order and at specific times showed an almost complete destruction of breast tumours. Significantly these are both existing drugs so the approval process should be short and the cost modest.

Campaign has been supporting this research for some years, helped by an ongoing commitment from one of our corporate partners, Debenhams, and there is a now a clinical trial in progress related to this work.

The most moving part of the evening is always the speech from one of our supporters who speaks about their personal experience of breast cancer. It is a very humbling experience - as our speaker this year, Kirste Snellgrove, said:

“Cancer really doesn’t have to mean the end. It is a life sentence but it doesn’t necessarily mean a death sentence. So many positive things have come out of it for me. It just seems so ironic that it took cancer for me to realise how lucky I am in life. I am happy, positive and in love. I now know how loved I am by my friends and family. I would not swap my life if I had the chance.”

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