Sarcoma UK is pleased to be working with the Sarah Burkeman Trust , a charitable foundation set up in memory of Sarah Burkeman, who sadly died from sarcoma at the age of 34 in 2016.
Sarah Burkeman was a much loved and highly talented documentary film maker who was diagnosed with an undifferentiated uterine sarcoma in 2013 at the age of 31. This was a devastating shock to a previously healthy, energetic and fun-loving young woman – and simply unthinkable to her adoring friends and family. However, Sarah, refusing to admit defeat, continued to work until very near the end of her life despite the at times debilitating side effects of treatment and disease progression. Passionate about helping people through telling their stories, she continued working with her production company where she could, including highlighting the experience of cancer patients, shooting for a charity on the West Bank and even volunteering in the ‘Calais jungle’ refugee camps.
Although her sarcoma was already disseminated at the time of diagnosis she never gave up. Conventional chemotherapy proved of little worth and there was no evidence to support the new immunotherapies which were showing such promise in other cancers. However, she was lucky enough to be offered a targeted therapy that did provide prolonged respite and extended her life some considerable way beyond the horrifying 6-month prognosis at diagnosis. After rounds of gruelling chemotherapy, radiotherapy and surgeries, Sarah was so grateful to be offered this therapy which she referred to affectionately as her ‘diet coke chemo’ and took with great relish. She used every extra day she was given to the full – including (to the quiet astonishment of her medical team) flying off to the Philippines for scuba and sky diving.
Grateful for the excellent care she had been given but bitterly frustrated there wasn’t a longterm solution, Sarah herself gave a substantial donation to sarcoma research whilst still alive. After her death, her family, helped by her many friends, established the Sarah Burkeman Trust. We hope that the establishment of the Sarah Burkeman Trust will raise awareness that tumours such as Sarah’s can and do occur in young women like her. And we hope to honour our beloved Sarah with her unforgettable spirit of kindness, optimism and passion for helping people, by helping offer other young people the chance of a full life she so longed for herself.
The Sarah Burkeman Trust therefore focuses on translational research with particular interests in links to Sarah’s own cancer journey – gynaecological sarcomas, sarcomas that can particularly affect young people, poorly differentiated sarcomas, and research focused on early diagnosis and immunotherapy.” – The Sarah Burkeman Trust
Collaboration with Sarcoma UK
Following a successful collaboration in 2022-23, Sarcoma UK is delighted to be working once again with the Sarah Burkeman Trust, who will be committing up to £200,000 for projects awarded via Sarcoma UK’s Open Grant Round in 2023-24.
Read more about these calls and how the Sarah Burkeman Trust will support selected projects.