Stars of the show
Patients from the Great North Children’s Hospital star in a film to help raise money for the Future Fund, a campaign to establish new state-of-the-art children’s cancer research laboratories at Newcastle University.
In the film youngsters are dressed up as staff on the paediatric oncology ward, they pretend to carry out medical duties as they make their way around the hospital and explain the importance of research and clinical trials.
The Future Fund’s film premier was at the Great North Children’s Hospital medi-cinema and youngsters were treated like stars as they walked the red carpet and were given ‘Oscars’ for their performances.
A number of dancers from the Theatre Royal’s pantomime, Dick Whittington, attended the event to entertain guests.
Professor Josef Vormoor, Consultant Paediatric Oncologist at the Great North Children’s Hospital and Director of Newcastle University’s Northern Institute for Cancer Research, leads the Future Fund campaign.
He said: “The children enjoyed making the Future Fund campaign video and it’s great to see them have so much fun taking part in the project – their likeness to the staff is striking!
“Christmas can be a difficult time for children in hospital so the premier is a lovely way to give youngsters and their families something exciting to focus on.
“Childhood cancer remains a serious problem and developing a research facility to provide cutting edge resources to keep advancing research will give more youngsters a future to look forward to.”
Centre for Childhood Cancer
Experts at Newcastle University, the Newcastle Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust and the North of England Children’s Cancer Research charity are working together to set up a £5.5m Newcastle University Centre for Childhood Cancer.
A recent donation of £500,000 by the Garfield Weston Foundation means the Future Fund is now under £1 million off its target.
The Garfield Weston Foundation is a family-founded, grant-making trust that has been supporting charities across the UK for more than 50 years.
It supports organisations that share a commitment to making a positive impact to the lives of the communities in which they work, and that are driven by a desire to achieve excellence.
Philippa Charles, Director of the Garfield Weston Foundation, said: “The Garfield Weston Foundation is delighted to support the Future Fund in its aim to create the Newcastle Centre for Childhood Cancer Research.
“We were particularly pleased to hear that the Future Fund is now less than £1 million from its target, as this facility will conduct vital research to develop more effective treatments for children with cancer.”
Meanwhile, with a donation of 100 tickets to their traditional Christmas Show at Newcastle City Hall (supported by match-funding from sponsors Utility Wise) the band Lindisfarne have also raised £3,500 for the Future Fund campaign.
Approximately 1,600 children are diagnosed with cancer each year in the UK and the illness remains one of the main reasons why children under the age of 16 die prematurely.
The Newcastle University Centre for Childhood Cancer will be set up in the heart of the University, helping the city retain world-class staff and attract internationally recognised experts in the field.
Work will focus on developing therapies with fewer side-effects, and treatment for children with advanced cancer or those whose illness has come back.
Chris Peacock, chairman of the North of England Children’s Cancer Research, said: “It has been fantastic to be part of today’s event and to see the final Future Fund film for the first time.
“Thanks to generous donations from the likes of the Garfield Weston Foundation, we have less than £1 million left to raise to achieve the full £5.5 million we need for the Childhood Cancer Centre.
“The innovative research centre will provide state-of-the-art laboratory resources to keep advancing children’s cancer research so that more young lives can be saved.”
The Future Fund video was produced by Roots & Wings to support the charity’s campaign.
After the screening of the Future Fund film, children from the paediatric oncology ward watched the pantomime Dick Whittington from their beds thanks to a special recording provided for free by Newcastle Theatre Royal.
Helping children to have a positive future
It is children like little Joseph Fawcett who will benefit from the pioneering research at the Newcastle Centre for Childhood Cancer.
Joseph, of Stannington, Northumberland, was only eight-months-old when he was diagnosed with a rare and aggressive brain tumour, called atypical teratoid rhabdoid.
The youngster underwent intensive brain surgery at the Great North Children’s Hospital to remove the tumour, followed by gruelling rounds of chemotherapy and a stem cell transplant.
Luckily, against the odds, his treatment worked and at present he has no signs of the tumour.
Joseph is now a lively three-year-old, and 18 months post treatment he is doing well and living life to the full with his parents and younger brother, William.
Mother Amy said: “Joseph’s high dose of chemotherapy completely wiped out his immune system and left him in intensive care, fighting for life.
“He will always have to live with the side-effects of his intensive treatment but it’s great to know that research is going on to help children with cancer have as positive a future as possible.
“I very much support the Future Fund with its aim to build the research facility at Newcastle University.”
Amy and her husband Alex are doing a number of fundraising events in 2016 in honour of their son Joseph’s brave battle to defeat cancer.
For information on the Future Fund visit www.futurefund.co.uk
To donate visit www.justgiving.com/futurefundnewcastle, text NCFF01 plus the amount of your donation to 70070 or telephone 0191 208 7250.
Support the fund on Facebook www.facebook.com/futurefundnewcastle and on Twitter @FutureFundNCL
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