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A team of local nurses will be tackling thirty miles on foot this May to raise funds for national blood cancer charity, Cure Leukaemia.
25 staff, friends and family across the Oncology and Haematology teams from Worcestershire Acute NHS trust and their colleagues from Woodland Oncology/Haematology Unit at Spire Southbank Worcester will be lacing up their walking shoes once again to tackle 30 miles of the canal walk between the Centre for Clinical Haematology, Birmingham and the Oncology Centre at the Worcestershire Royal Hospital.
Aptly named the “Rowan Ramblers”, the team walked across the Malvern Hills in 2019 in aid of the charity and raised over £12,000 to help support blood cancer patients across the Worcestershire area. This year they are going bigger and better however by aiming to raise £30,000!
The team were inspired to fundraise for the charity on behalf of Dr Salim Shafeek, Clinical Director of Haematology and Oncology at the hospital, who found himself on the receiving end of his own diagnosis of myeloma, a form of blood cancer back in 2019 and have now pledged to walk from the Queen Elizabeth Hospital, Birmingham, where Dr Shafeek receives treatment.
Dr Shafeek was the first consultant to treat former England, Crystal Palace and Wolves footballer and now CL Patron Geoff Thomas MBE when he was diagnosed with chronic myeloid leukaemia (CML) in 2003. Geoff said:
“I might not be here today if it was not for Dr Shafeek who quickly recognised the severity of my illness and referred me to Professor Charlie Craddock CBE in Birmingham.”
Cure Leukaemia funds the Trials Acceleration Programme (TAP) which is a network of specialist research nurses at 15 blood cancer centres located in the UK’s biggest cities.
Research Nurses help connect patients to potentially lifesaving medicine and their role in administering these trials is vital to developing effective new treatments for blood cancers. As a result, patients have access to new treatments, allowing them access to lifesaving new therapies.
The team have already received the support of Worcestershire businessman, Adam Hewitt, who has kindly sponsored the team for the challenge and made a financial contribution towards their target.
Nurse Emma Simpson completed the first walk back in 2019 with the team and is looking forward to reuniting the “Ramblers” for their next challenge.
“We originally started the Rowan Ramble in support of the inspiring work currently being carried out by Dr Salim Shafeek and the team at the Worcestershire Royal Hospital and their dedication to their patients and colleagues.
“It will be a tremendous challenge for all of us but one that we are looking forward to taking on for such a fantastic cause. The charity’s support of the Haematology team allow us to continue providing support for blood cancer patients across the region.”
Dr Shafeek said:
“Cure Leukaemia has been closely involved with us in Worcester for years, funding our trials nursing team and helping us to put patients into clinical trials.
It is so touching that my colleagues are doing this walk in support of me and for a fantastic charity.”