Oxford charities come together for World Cancer Day

The Lord Mayor of Oxford is joining forces with a cancer patient, who received life-saving treatment in Oxford’s Early Phase Clinical Trials Unit, to unite the community on World Cancer Day.

Cancer Research UK Oxford Centre and Oxford City Council are being supported by five local charities – Macmillan, Sue Ryder, International Network for Cancer Treatment and Research, Cochrane and the Oxfordshire Prostate Cancer Support Group – to help raise money and awareness, and represent cancer patients in Oxford on February 4.

They include Susan Cakebread, who was told she may have only eighteen months to live after being diagnosed with cancer, but is now free from signs of the disease after taking a trial drug for almost three years.

Susan, who will celebrate her 69th birthday on World Cancer Day, received her pioneering treatment at the Early Phase Clinical Trials Unit at the city’s Churchill Hospital which aims to discover new treatments for the future.

The Lord Mayor, Councillor Rae Humberstone, will host a programme of events which start with doctors, scientists and patients joining members of the public in Bonn Square to form a human chain to mark the day.

They will wear Unity Bands™ to show their support for Susan and others affected by cancer. The Unity Bands – made of two parts and knotted together to symbolise the power of what can be achieved when people come together – will be available for a suggested £2 donation on the day. The charities hope people in Oxford will pick up a Unity Band and wear it with pride on February 4.

Experts will later be on hand in the Town Hall to share the most up to date research in Oxford where Cancer Research UK spends around £22 million every year. Representatives from local charities will give short talks about their work and throughout the day there will be several lab tours at the Cancer Research UK Oxford Centre.

World Cancer Day celebrations will culminate with a Gala Concert in the evening.

The Lord Mayor said: “Along with doctors, health workers and representatives of the many cancer charities, I am helping to launch Oxford’s contribution to World Cancer Day. Many of us have had, or will have, a more than passing acquaintance with cancer. “It may be through a family connection, a friend or work colleague, or a personal experience of “The Big C”. My wife successfully fought breast cancer in 2006 and I had a brush with skin cancer in 2012.

“Highlighting cancer awareness is as important as welcoming new forms of treatment, if we are to finally beat this terrible disease. Therefore, I hope people in Oxford will do their bit to promote that awareness and also show support for those who are, in many different ways, currently affected by cancer. Whether by making a £2 donation for a Unity Band or joining the human chain in Bonn Square, all support is most welcome. Thank you”.

Tara Clarke, Research Engagement Manager in Oxford who organised the event, said: “World Cancer Day is a unique opportunity for people in our region and beyond, to unite for one day and show that together we can do something about cancer. So many of us have been affected by the disease, which is why on February 4 we are calling on the people of Oxford to join together and wear their Unity Band with pride. Success stories like Susan’s would not be possible without the commitment of our amazing supporters, who fund each charity’s individual work into the prevention, detection, treatment and support of those with cancer.

“So whatever the motivation – to remember a loved one, celebrate people who have overcome the disease, or to rally in support of those going through treatment – World Cancer Day is a chance to get involved and help reduce the impact of cancer on future generations.”

This year for the first time, three leading national cancer charities – Breast Cancer Care, Anthony Nolan and the Movember Foundation – have joined forces with Cancer Research UK to galvanise the whole nation to support World Cancer Day and help transform the lives of millions of people affected by cancer.

Each charity has Unity Bands available in their own colours and all money raised from the Unity Bands will go towards the charities’ individual research projects and support services.

Money raised will fund breakthroughs in scientific research; save and improve the lives of people with blood cancers; provide high quality care, support and information for people with breast cancer, and fund research and support services to tackle prostate and testicular cancer.

For more information on the partnership and to get a Unity Band, go to www.worldcancerday.co.uk