The last twelve months certainly were not boring. But life is far more than the drama of the headlines.
We asked some of our friends, colleagues and, of course, you for a personal highlight of 2016 for the December e-news. The stories that came back were so life-affirming that we wanted to share them again here.
The personal impact of the Support Line
Sam Hackett, Sarcoma Support Nurse
The Sarcoma UK Support Line has been running since February, when we started I was not really sure if we would get a call or be of any help to sarcoma community.
In March the support line had a call from a woman worried about her husband who was in a local hospital and the words ‘possible sarcoma’ had been mentioned. Both Claire and I spoke to her over a period of a week and encouraged her to request a referral to a specialist centre, talking her through this process.
In August we had an email from the family explaining that Dad was well and back at work; the tumour had been successfully removed. They explained that their children would be putting on a concert to support Sarcoma UK .
I was very touched and went along to listen to this amazing family and their friends sing. As I walked into the church it occurred to me that I had no idea what the patient or the family looked like. I need not have worried - as I walked in I was warmly greeted by a hug from the patient!
Meeting the Prime Minister at No. 10
Dr. Andrea Siodmok, Deputy Director of the Cabinet Office, lead at Policy Lab and fundraiser for Sarcoma UK
I arrived at the famous wrought iron gates, to be met by an expectant queue of people. Invites clutched in icy hands, clearing security before heading up the street to Number 10 itself. Whilst only a short cul-de-sac, I defy anyone not to be moved by the sense of history walking up those final steps to that famous big black door.
The Prime Minister seemed genuinely impressed by our collective fundraising efforts – £23k – and we were equally impressed by her kind words and generosity for hosting. In providing new funding and significant profile raising No.10 has helped further research and improve awareness of the importance of early detection.
Read Andrea’s riveting account of going ‘from Newquay to Nepal’ to raise funds for Sarcoma UK.
Energy and excitement in the sarcoma community
Karen Delin, Chair, Board of Trustees of Sarcoma UK
When I reflect back over 2016, so many things come to mind that has made this an incredible year for Sarcoma UK.
Two events I had the privilege to attend this year were the Sarcoma Basic Science Research Symposium and the reception at 10 Downing Street hosted by the Prime Minister. Both events brought together people with a keen and genuine interest in sarcoma and in support of Sarcoma UK; the energy and excitement at each event was palpable.
Becoming 10 Downing Street’s Charity of the Year is something that I am immensely proud of, knowing these unique opportunities the charity has been given will support Sarcoma UK’s excellent work to improve the landscape for sarcoma.
Sharing your stories with the world
Alice Snape, Editor of Connect
Telling patients’ stories is crucial to raising awareness. Patients and the way they deal with their diagnosis, think positively and help each other: these are the qualities that make the sarcoma community so special.
As a longtime supporter and fundraiser for Sarcoma UK, I was thrilled to take on the role of editor of Connect this year. The magazine comes out three times a year and it aims to inspire the newly diagnosed.
The autumn issue was particularly heartening, as to celebrate Childhood Cancer Awareness Month (September) we featured two courageous young girls, 9-year-old Kayla and 15-year-old Ellie, both are using their diagnosis to help others who have sarcoma. Ellie has a YouTube channel and Instagram where she chats to other people dealing with cancer from all over the world, and Kayla continues to climb trees and play with her friends, never letting sarcoma define who she is.
I love that Connect provides a platform for personal sarcoma stories, and also support for those undergoing treatment so that no patient ever feels alone.
London tourists get something to think about
James Read, outstanding supporter, 'Golf Ball man'
In November we reached the end of Sarah's first line treatment, marking the end of an arduous 17 months. It feels strange being at this point; a point which always seemed so far away, but we are thankful for how treatment has gone so far.
Outside of treatment, representing Sarcoma UK and the sarcoma community in the London Marathon was memorable. Running with fellow Sarcoma UK runners was poignant, each with our own experience of Sarcoma, all united by the same cause.
I was humbled by the support, not only in raising vital funds, but also those who made the golf ball outfit idea become a reality. The outfit certainly attracted a lot of attention, not least in the Sarcoma UK pre-marathon promotional photo shoot with Ian (Randall). Looking back, running in the costume through bemused tourists, near Buckingham Palace, was certainly comical!
Enthusiastic supporters in an eventful year
Lindsey Bennister, Chief Executive
I’m struck again by the loyalty and support of the sarcoma community. We have always taken pride in our personal connection with our supporters and we have managed to keep this important connection in a year of huge growth for the charity. They are at the heart of everything we do.
I must also pay tribute to musician Carey Lander who raised £100,000 for Sarcoma UK - our largest ever single fundraising appeal. Let’s also remember Chris Martin, Principal Private Secretary to the Prime Minister whose support led to Sarcoma UK’s partnership with 10 Downing Street. Thank you for making a difference to the lives of everyone affected by sarcoma.
Winning Gold & Silver at Rio 2016
Richard Whitehead MBE, Paralympic champion, Patron
I'm pleased with how I executed my races at the Paralympics in Rio. I've retained my title in the 200m T42 and got a silver medal in the 100m. It's a silver in an event that is not my favourite. I'm not from a sprint background so going from a marathon to a 100m, some would have said was impossible.
I hope my achievements can inspire everyone affected by sarcoma, I want to share my medals with patients and the wider sarcoma community. I feel it shows what can be done by anyone, regardless of whether you have a disability. I am proud to be Sarcoma UK's Patron and will continue to amplify sarcoma awareness.
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