Our Patron and Watford FC goalkeeper Patron Ben Foster has given his backing to the national blood cancer charity’s ‘We Will’ campaign to mark International Nurses Day 2020 on Tuesday May 12th.
The ‘We Will’ campaign, developed with our friends at marketing agency OWB Creative, highlights the Cure Leukaemia’s main objective which is to fund specialist research nurses across the United Kingdom and urges support from the blood cancer community.
Cure Leukaemia fund specialist research nurses at 12 blood cancer centres across the UK to form the national Trials Acceleration Programme (TAP) network which covers a catchment area of over 20 million people. These nurses enable pioneering clinical trials for blood cancer to run allowing patients the chance to access potentially life-saving treatments whilst also hastening global progress towards finding effective treatments for all forms of blood cancer.
The current COVID-19 crisis has seen many of these nurses re-deployed to play a key role in the accelerated assessment of COVID-19 clinical trials in patients without an underlying cancer across the UK and in doing so continue to provide essential capacity for the NHS as well as utilising their skills and expertise during this crisis. As a result, this has caused a number of trials within the TAP network to be paused highlighting the knock-on impact of this virus for blood cancer patients across the UK.
Fronting the campaign imagery is 24-year-old haematology nurse Brooke Evans, who’s story has inspired Ben and many others. In 2013, Brooke was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukaemia and began treatment at Birmingham’s Queen Elizabeth Hospital. Thanks to treatment made available through funds raised for Cure Leukaemia, Brooke went into remission and resumed her education with a view to becoming a registered nurse. In 2018, she graduated from the University of Worcester and later in the year started treating blood cancer patients on the same floor of the hospital she herself was treated five years earlier.
In 2019, Brooke took up cycling and rode Velo Birmingham & Midlands and Cure Leukaemia’s 300-mile London to Paris event later in the year and she is currently helping to treat patients during the COVID-19 crisis at the Centre for Clinical Haematology in Birmingham. Speaking about Brooke and the campaign Ben said:
“I remember hearing Brooke’s story for the first time back 2017 and was so inspired by what she had gone on to achieve since her blood cancer diagnosis. Now she is a nurse at the same hospital she was treated in and clearly loves her cycling as much as me! We were due to cycle to Paris together this summer for Cure Leukaemia but sadly that event had to be postponed but I look forward to joining Brooke at a future cycling event for the charity.”
“I’ve seen Cure Leukaemia grow as a charity ever since I became involved back in 2015 and it is amazing to see the impact it is having across the country. Now, more than ever before, the nurses Cure Leukaemia fund are so vital for blood cancer patients and that’s why as a proud Patron of the charity I am keen to raise national awareness that funding more nurses, allows more clinical trials to be run and ultimately helps save more lives.”
Brooke, who lives in Droitwich said:
“I owe my life to Cure Leukaemia and I am always happy to help in any way I can to ensure more patients can receive the treatments I was lucky enough to have. Without specialist research nurses in blood cancer centres across the country these life-saving clinical trials will not run so it is vital that we support charities like Cure Leukaemia to ensure patients continue to access these treatments when this virus has passed.”
Cure Leukaemia Chief Executive James McLaughlin said:
“The importance of clinical trials has been highlighted regularly since the outbreak of COVID-19 in the UK with Chief Medical Officer Professor Chris Whitty and Health Secretary Matt Hancock MP emphasising their importance in finding a vaccine for the virus. The TAP network is running a COVID-19 clinical trial for patients with acute myeloid leukaemia and this trial simply would not be possible without the infrastructure of the nurses within the network. That is why we have created a campaign to highlight the vital importance of these nurses and encourage people to support Cure Leukaemia so that more nurses can be funded at more centres across the UK.”
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