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Prime Minister Theresa May held a reception at 10 Downing Street today for Sarcoma UK - the bone and soft tissue cancer charity. The special event was to bring people together who can help to transform the landscape for sarcoma.
Sarcoma UK was announced as the official charity for 10 Downing Street earlier this year, in memory of Chris Martin, Principal Private Secretary to former Prime Minister David Cameron, who passed away from sarcoma a year ago.
The reception was attended by patients, carers, health professionals, scientists, researchers, MPs, and supporters of Sarcoma UK, including Richard Whitehead MBE.
Richard Whitehead, Paralympic Gold Medallist, has been patron of Sarcoma UK for the past three and half years. He has a close personal affiliation with the work of Sarcoma UK having lost his close friend, Simon Mellows to sarcoma in 2005. Richard’s work in promoting the charity was duly recognised as part of the evening, with the Prime Minister presenting Richard with a Point of Light volunteering award for his services to Sarcoma UK. The Points of Light programme recognises exceptional volunteers who are making a difference and changing lives.
Theresa May gave a speech championing Sarcoma UK’s work in bringing together a strong sarcoma community, and stated how proud 10 Downing Street was to be associated with the charity that is very close to their hearts. The event was an opportunity to look to the future for Sarcoma UK, and support their mission to find effective treatment for the disease.
Prime Minister Theresa May said: “We’ve been honoured to support Sarcoma UK as the Downing Street charity of the year. Chris is a much missed figure who was hugely popular amongst his colleagues here and the whole team has been very proud to continue his legacy, helping raise funds and awareness for Sarcoma UK, the only charity of its kind in the UK."
Chief Executive Lindsey Bennister said, “Chris was a close friend of Sarcoma UK and everybody who met him was touched by his strength and how much he built up relationships with those involved in the sarcoma community. We’ve been delighted with the support we’ve received from 10 Downing Street, illustrated by the team taking part in various challenges such as Tough Mudder and smashing their £23,000 target. We hugely appreciate the support of Number 10 as we look to take Sarcoma UK to the next level”.
As well as addressing guests, the Prime Minister spent time with patients hearing about their sarcoma stories.
Ten people are diagnosed with sarcoma every day in the UK, and half of those who are diagnosed will not survive. Sarcoma UK has pledged to invest over £3 million into sarcoma research by 2020 with the aim of finding effective treatment for the disease within the next 10 years. The charity currently donates £500,000 a year into this research.