Firstly, I would like to say a big thank you to Sarcoma UK for the Lifetime Achievement Award. This is a huge honour, and deeply appreciated.
I have been involved in sarcoma care since 1991 and the way the field has changed in that time is astonishing. That is reflected in the transformation that has taken place in Sarcoma UK. I remember early discussions with Roger Wilson as he was launching his newsletter to help provide UK patients with information about sarcomas and advice about where to get the best treatment. His initiative evolved into the vibrant charity Sarcoma UK is today. It’s important to realise how far it has come and what it has achieved.
In spite of providing a vital helpline for thousands of sarcoma patients and being the main focus for research grants in the field, what I see is that there is never any complacency, the ambition continues to grow. There is always more to do – patient advocacy, engagement with policy makers, as exemplified by this event, shaping the research agenda, and still greater challenges, not least in fundraising.
I have played a number of different roles including Chair of the Scientific Advisory Committee and Trustee, over this time and so I have seen from the inside how the Charity has become more professional, more efficient and has increased its reach. It has been a genuine joy to see it flourish. I have met some amazing people, staff, patients, carers, all united in their desire to make a difference and at the end of the day that is what makes Sarcoma UK special, the people. It is this which will ensure it continues to make such a vital contribution to sarcoma care.