Cure Leukaemia have issued a rallying call asking for the nation to unite in the “HATE” against blood cancer, to help fund a world’s-first children’s blood cancer trials network as part of a £5million fundraising campaign launched today on International Childhood Cancer Day.

Cure Leukaemia currently funds Research Nurses as part of the National Trials Acceleration Programme (TAP) Network across 15 cities in the UK, who enable pioneering blood cancer clinical trials, giving patients from a UK catchment area of over 30 million people access to treatments not currently available through standard care. The same network does not currently exist for children.

Cure Leukaemia are looking to reverse this trend by funding a paediatric trials network which will deliver world-class, innovative and practice changing clinical trials to improve outcomes for children with leukaemia throughout the UK undergoing a stem cell transplant across the major metropolitan cities of the UK, with the launch of their new “HATE” campaign.

Cure Leukaemia Patron Gary Lineker OBE has thrown his support behind the campaign, and he recently spoke of the “harrowing moment” 32 years ago when he was informed that his baby son, George, had blood cancer:

“This initiative is terrific and it’s a great campaign. Cure Leukaemia have done amazing things particularly with adult cancer and now to engage with children’s cancers, is just fabulous.”

“As a parent that had a child with leukaemia, thankfully George came through it and he is now 32 – I know the difference that investing in research for blood cancer can make. It is so important.”

“There were 2-3 times that we were told that he might not make it through the night which was grim. That’s why we want to get involved to do our bit to help the children of the future that get this horrendous disease.”

Professor Rob Wynn of Royal Manchester Children’s Hospital explained the significant role that the campaign can play in helping to progress blood cancer treatments for children:

“This is a changing field and there are many new drug, cell and gene therapies out there – we just need a way of coordinating the progressive work to expand across the country. We know that these new therapies will save lives of many children, but they can only be given as part of clinical trials initially.”

“Clinical trials can take many years to set up. This is time that most kids don’t have. The money raised by Cure Leukaemia will enable a trials network that will significantly reduce that time meaning that trials can be opened quicker and speeds up the process in making these new treatments available to our patients.”

“It recently took the best part of a year to open a trial recently for transplant kids with a serious complication. We eventually opened it and quickly treated nine kids with this condition. They are alive, cured and living their best life. This is what Cure Leukaemia is all about. We need this now.”

Professor Persis Amrolia of Great Ormond Street Hospital explained the importance of the setup of the paediatric network:

“For certain forms of leukaemia, there has been huge improvement, however we are still losing far too many children and the treatment that we give them is often very toxic – which highlights how desperately we need new treatments and the only way we can do this is through clinical trials.”

Matthew Gaut tragically lost his young son Harry to leukaemia at the age of six.

“I hate that I lost my son to this cruel disease. I have spent my time fundraising for this incredible charity over the years and to hear that they will now be looking to advance treatments for kids is just awe-inspiring. I unfortunately lost my son Harry, but through supporting Cure Leukaemia and helping them raise this money, it will mean that fewer families will have to go through what mine did.”

“For me, it is a tremendous honour to be associated with a charity that embraces you. They call it the Care Leukaemia family, and that’s what it feels like. You really would walk over broken glass for these people, and it is lovely.”

Thirteen-year-old Hughie Higginson was diagnosed aged just ten and recently found out that he was cancer free after a gruelling three and a half years of chemotherapy said: “What Cure Leukaemia are proposing to launch is just incredible. It will mean so that many more children like myself, will be able to receive the latest treatments when they are diagnosed.” 

“I recently found out that I was leukaemia-free which means that all of the treatment that I have had over the last few years has worked and it is so important that we continue to progress new treatments so more children like me can receive a positive outcome.”

Cure Leukaemia Chief Executive James McLaughlin said: “There is still so much more we still need to do in the fight against blood cancer. Through the launch of our innovative new trials network for children, we will be playing a pivotal role in helping to deliver new treatments and provide more hope for children with blood cancer.”

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