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ACT’S 2024 London Marathon runners say ‘Go for it’ in 2025!

Our inspiring bunch of runners from this year’s 2024 London Marathon are encouraging anyone thinking of running for ACT next year to go for it – describing the experience as ‘second to none’ and ‘a chance to see humans at their best’.

We would like to extend a huge thank you to all of our 13 runners who completed Sunday’s marathon. Collectively they have raised a total of £47,275. However, with donations still flooding in the final figure is expected to be in excess of £50,000.

Lauren taking a selfie at the race

Twenty-four-year-old Lauren Whiting originally signed up to run the marathon after staff at Addenbrooke’s looked after her mum, Sue, following a brain bleed several years ago. She was given a 10% chance of getting her health back to what it was before the aneurysm – and Lauren says her mum is now back doing most of what she loves, thanks to all the amazing care she received from Addenbrooke’s staff.

Since signing up to run the London Marathon, however, Lauren’s dad, Guy, was diagnosed with a brain tumour, which was removed during surgery at Addenbrooke’s in December. He has now been diagnosed with aggressive stage 4 brain cancer and continues to be monitored by Addenbrooke’s as he takes on radiotherapy and chemotherapy in Ipswich Hospital.

Having completed Sunday’s Marathon, Lauren says anyone thinking about running it on behalf of ACT next year should definitely go for it.

“The feeling when I finished was second to none. I would recommend anyone thinking about doing it to go for it, but not to underestimate the dedication that goes into it.”

Lauren, who is studying a doctorate to become an Educational and Child Psychologist, said she was running up to five times a week for the last four months leading up to the marathon.

“Training was intense. A lot of people thought I was crazy doing it at the same time as my doctorate and at times it was definitely challenging, especially on days I was travelling for placements where sometimes I have to commute an hour-and-a-half each way. So, it’s not to be taken lightly, but it is one of the best achievements I think I’ll ever do. And from a personal perspective, the training has been one of the best things for me. It has given me headspace.”

Lauren, who completed the marathon in 4 hours 50 minutes, said her dad wasn’t able to travel down to London to watch the marathon as it would have been too much for him but said the family did get together for a celebratory meal in the evening.

“It was very emotional. My dad doesn’t get very emotional so if he does tell me he is proud it means a lot.”

Sean running the marathon

Fellow runner, Sean Papworth, who finished his run in 4 hours 33 minutes, said: “It’s such an iconic event and race and seeing all the different runners and costumes and seeing London at its best is quite emotional. It really is humans at their best.”

For Sean, the event hit several important milestones– marking 15 years since he ran his first London Marathon and 20 years since he finished his treatment for cancer at Addenbrooke’s – all in the same year he will be turning 50.

Runner Alfie Moore was our fastest runner – completing the challenge in 3 hours and 32 minutes.He signed up for the marathon after being treated by staff at Addenbrooke’s following treatment for a traumatic brain injury while studying at university.

Alfie with his mum and dad after the race

 “It was a great day. I loved every second of it – even though the pictures of me at the end might say differently! I got quite emotional when I saw all of the support for the Addenbrooke’s team, thank you so much for cheering me on and keeping me going.”

Addenbrooke’s Charitable Trust (ACT) is the official charity for Addenbrooke’s and the Rosie hospitals, whose supporters raise funds to help make them even better.

ACT’s Head of Community Fundraising, Donna Lee-Willis, said: “We are so proud of all our runners who took part in Sunday’s event – and to find out they are going to raise over £50,000 is just amazing. To hear our fundraisers urging others to take part in next year’s London Marathon on our behalf is really heart-warming.”

“As a team we are introducing as many different fundraising challenges as we can so there is something there for everyone – everything from skydives, ultras and bungee jumps, to marathons and walks.”

You too can make a difference to someone’s life by donating or fundraising for ACT. We fund cutting edge research, highly technical equipment and more, making care at Addenbrooke’s even better. To apply for your place in the 2025 London Marathon click here.

We also support any fundraisers who wish to organise their own events such as charity football matches and auctions. If you would like to get in contact, email us at: fundraising@act4addenbrookes.org.uk

ACT welcomes news that plans for pioneering new Cambridge Cancer Research Hospital has been given the go ahead

A leading clinician behind the East of England’s Cambridge Cancer Research Hospital has welcomed the decision by councillors to give the go ahead to the pioneering new hospital on the City’s Biomedical Campus – saying there was no other place in Europe it could have been built.

Dr Hugo Ford

Dr Hugo Ford, Clinical Lead at CCRH, said: “There are only a very few places in the world that are focussing on early cancer. Cambridge is the only one in Europe, that is why the project has to be here. Every new technology that is introduced as a result of the hospital and the work that goes on in the hospital has the potential to save thousands of lives.”

The new hospital, which will bring together clinical and research expertise under one roof, will detect cancer earlier, treat it more precisely, and save more lives.

Addenbrooke’s Charitable Trust (ACT) – the charity for Addenbrooke’s and the Rosie hospitals, whose supporters raise funds to help make the hospitals even better – has recently launched a public appeal to contribute £12 million towards the building of the new cancer hospital.

ACT’s Chief Executive Shelly Thake said: “We are so excited the new cancer hospital has been given the go ahead by councillors. We can’t emphasise enough how important all the fundraising efforts of our supporters are, as together with Government funds and grants, they will really help drive this project forward.”

Fundraising for the new hospital has already begun in earnest – with our amazing supporters busy organising events. In one weekend alone, our supporters raised more than £100,000 for the new hospital, which experts say will change the story of cancer.

If you would like to support fundraising efforts, please visit our website.

ACT’s community fundraising team has organised lots of exciting challenges for fundraisers to take part in throughout the year, including marathons, ultras, walks, skydives and bungee jumps. Find out more.

We also support any fundraisers who wish to organise their own events such as charity football matches and auctions. If you would like to get in contact, email us at fundraising@act4addenbrookes.org.uk.

Please see below for the official press release from the Cambridge Cancer Research Hospital team, welcoming the planning news:


We welcome today’s planning committee decision, with councillors recommending approval to build Cambridge Cancer Research Hospital on the Cambridge Biomedical Campus.

Cambridge Cancer Research Hospital

Architect image of Cambridge Cancer Research Hospital

Our new specialist cancer research hospital will be the first of its kind for the East of England, and will transform the lives of the millions of people diagnosed with cancer.

Cambridge Cancer Research Hospital will bring together NHS staff from Addenbrooke’s Hospital and world-leading scientists from the University of Cambridge and its Cancer Research UK Cambridge Centre, under one roof. We are breaking down barriers between the laboratory and the clinic, enabling patients to benefit from the latest innovations in cancer science, to detect the disease at a much earlier stage and develop personalised treatments to patients.

We’re continuing to work closely with our partners and the local planning authority to ensure we balance the needs of a new hospital development, against the wider growth and infrastructure requirements for Cambridge, both of which are important to our staff, patients and the local community.

It will be a low carbon and electric powered hospital, full of light, with access to outdoor spaces and designed to meet the NHS’s new Net-Zero Carbon Building Standard.

We are continuing to make significant progress on our programme. Pre-construction works are set to begin this summer to start preparing the site for full construction works in 2025. www.cambridgecancer.org.uk/our-vision

ACT supporters raise over £100,000 for the new Cambridge Cancer Research Hospital in just one weekend!

Earlier this month, Addenbrooke’s Charitable Trust’s (ACT) amazing supporters pulled out all the stops with three magnificent fundraising events raising more than £100,000 for the new Cambridge Cancer Research Hospital.

The funds raised will help to change the story of cancer, bringing together clinical and research expertise in a new, world-class hospital, designed in partnership with patients. This new hospital will detect cancer earlier, treat it more precisely, and save more lives. The breakthroughs and innovations this hospital will deliver will change the way we detect and treat cancer far beyond Cambridge, bringing hope to millions of people.

Cambridge Cancer Research Hospital

David Bateson, one of the charity’s star fundraisers, has been receiving immunotherapy at Addenbrooke’s for cancer and is thankfully now cancer-free.  On the Friday, he raised £23,000 for the cancer hospital by holding an ambitious silent auction and raffle with prizes including signed Messi and Luton Town shirts and a signed Christiano Ronaldo football boot. This, along with the money raised from a football match he organised in the summer, brings David’s fundraising total to an incredible £50,000 raised.

David Bateson holding auction prize

David said: “What a great night! I want to say a massive thank you to all those who supported it. Receiving my good news makes fundraising for the cancer hospital even more important to me. Without the advances in new drug treatments, I just wouldn’t be here now. Raising the money to build this new hospital is so crucial for all of us now and in the future.”

Also on the Saturday, Vicky Gammon’s family and friends hosted an unforgettable fundraising dinner and raffled some fabulous prizes in memory of Vicky who sadly passed away in 2019. They raised almost £11,000 for the cancer hospital.

Then, on the Sunday to round off a brilliant weekend, the popular TTP Cambridge Half Marathon saw 130 #TeamAddenbrooke’s runners along with 13,000 others pounding the pavements through the colleges of Cambridge, raising over £65,000 for the new cancer hospital.

Donna Lee-Willis, ACT Head of Community Fundraising, said: “What a weekend! We are so grateful to our wonderful fundraisers for all their dedication into making these wonderful events a success. Thanks to their efforts the new Cambridge Cancer Research Hospital is one step closer. People like you are changing the story of cancer.”

To find out more about the new Cambridge Cancer Research Hospital and how you can fundraise to make it a reality please click here.

Loss of 8-year-old Emily drives nature-inspired improvements for patients at Addenbrooke’s

A family from St Albans have turned the love for their 8-year-old daughter, Emily, who sadly passed away, into a lasting legacy which will benefit other patients at Addenbrooke’s Hospital.

Sarah and Andy Smith and their son, Harry, 12, faced the unthinkable last year when they lost Emily to a rare brain tumour in the summer holidays, just 11 days after she was diagnosed.

The family set up a JustGiving page in Emily’s memory to raise money for the Addenbrooke’s teams that looked after her and for research into paediatric brain tumours and bereavement support. Within days the page had reached £5,000 in donations and has to date raised just over £30,000 with donations continuing to come in from friends, family, loved ones, and even Emily’s school who continue to fundraise in her memory. 

The Smith family wanted to do something worthwhile with the money so generously raised, so they decided to brighten up the once-drab Outpatients X-ray waiting room.

Going for scans made Emily quite anxious. The previous tired and rather unwelcoming area was not a pleasant place to sit at what can be an especially nerve-wracking time for some patients, and the space wasn’t at all calming or child-friendly.

The team from the hospital’s charity, Addenbrooke’s Charitable Trust (ACT), worked together with the family on their ideas for the waiting area, incorporating several personal touches special to Emily and the Smith Family.

Emily loved going to the woods and climbing trees, so, to reflect this, the walls are wrapped in special woodland-themed vinyl. Her favourite soft toy was Rabbity, who features in the scene along with eight other rabbits – one for each year of Emily’s life. There is even a tree engraving with Emily’s name written in her handwriting. There are also puzzles on the wall to distract and keep children busy and a comfy seating area designed by Emily’s brother, Harry, with stools that look like tree stumps.

Emily’s mum, Sarah, said: “This area was in desperate need of refurbishment and did not have a separate children’s waiting area at all. We hope this environment helps to calm young patients down, that the relaxing, natural scene grounds them and they might take a minute and wonder who Emily was and marvel at her wood.”

Donna Lee-Willis, ACT Head of Community Fundraising, said: “When the family mentioned that Emily used to get upset when she went for CT scans, we knew we had to help make this area of the hospital a nicer place to be. Improving the space meant a lot to the family and it is already having a big impact on the 200-300 patients who use it every single day.”

Lucy Swain, Addenbrooke’s Outpatients X-ray Manager, said: “Once the vinyls were installed, patients immediately commented on how calming the new space looked. The new reception desk has also provided more space and storage making it a nicer place to work – the entire team now feels a sense of pride working in this beautiful area.

“None of it would have been possible without the generous money donated by the Smith family in honour of their daughter. We would like to express our heartfelt gratitude to them for helping us improve the patient experience in this area and creating a space that everyone can enjoy.”

This project is a great example of how ACT works tirelessly to make sure all monies raised are spent where the need is greatest across the hospital. We work closely with the hospital, and our supporters, to ensure their donations are put to good use at Addenbrooke’s to make it even better for patients.

If you would like to thank the hospital click here.

Transplant pioneer, Sir Roy Calne, has sadly died

We are very sad to learn that transplant pioneer, Professor Sir Roy Calne, has died.

He will be missed not only by all of us at Addenbrooke’s Charitable Trust (ACT), but also by the countless staff who worked alongside him, and the patients whose lives were transformed by his pioneering work. Thousands of families all over the world will have been touched by his caring and innovative approach – Professor Calne never accepted that something wasn’t possible and many people’s lives have been saved thanks to that determination.

Sir Roy performed the first successful liver transplant in Europe at Addenbrooke’s on 2 May 1968, and dedicated his life to turning seemingly impossible surgery into regular practice at Addenbrooke’s, where he established the kidney transplant service.

The Organox liver perfusion machine
Sir Roy Calne (L) and Prof. Chris Watson with the liver perfusion machine funded by ACT supporters

In 2018, Sir Roy helped launch ACT’s £250,000 appeal to run a state-of-the art ‘liver perfusion’ machine. This machine helps newly donated livers survive for longer and, crucially, enables surgeons to ‘test-drive’ livers on a system mimicking the body, ensuring their functionality before transplant.

The appeal reached its target the following year thanks to the generous support of the charity’s incredible donors and has meant that since the machine arrived in February 2018, 213 livers that may have previously been deemed unsuitable for transplant have been found to function well enough for them to be transplanted.

One of the stories we reported on was that of Paul, who in 1990 was diagnosed with liver disease. Paul experienced the stress of receiving a call in January 2018 asking him to travel to Cambridge as a liver was ready for him only to discover that, unfortunately, the liver was not suitable. In August Paul was called again, however this time the liver perfusion machine was in operation and, as a result, the liver was tested for suitability and confirmed for use. After a successful surgery Paul was able to get back on his feet and start enjoying the things he used to love like golf and cycling.

ACT CEO, Shelly Thake, said “We are so very sorry to hear the sad news of the passing of Professor Calne. He was such an inspiration and innovator in the transplant world, and we are honoured to have worked with him on our liver perfusion machine appeal that will go on saving lives for years to come.”

We offer our sincerest condolences to Professor Calne’s family at this time, and our gratitude to a man that transformed the lives of so many, and embodied the caring, innovative and world-leading approach that Addenbrooke’s Hospital is known for.

Addenbrooke’s Christmas Appeal

This year, our Christmas appeal is supporting parents with cancer and their families. At Addenbrooke’s, we believe that no child should have to lose their parents to cancer.

For mothers and fathers, the diagnosis can be particularly upsetting, as they naturally worry about what their children may have to go through, and whether they might be left on their own.

This letter below is from Ijeoma – a cancer patient and mother of four children. Your support this Christmas means more mothers like Ijeoma will be there for their children despite being diagnosed with cancer.

By making a gift today, you could help to make diagnosis, care and treatment even better for cancer patients at Addenbrooke’s, as well as their families.

DONATE TODAY AND HELP US STOP CHILDREN LOSING THEIR PARENTS TO CANCER

Addenbrooke’s arts team scoop national award for work on cancer care

(CUH press release)

CUH Arts, Cambridge University Hospitals’ arts-in-health programme, has claimed a prestigious national healthcare award for its work on exploring the role of arts and culture in cancer care environments.

The hospital arts programme received a Building Better Healthcare award in the ‘Patient Experience’ category at the UK healthcare awards on 1 November 2023. The award ‘Best Collaborative Arts Project (Performance)’ was recognised for the team’s creative engagement work with patients and staff to help shape the design of the future Cambridge Cancer Research Hospital.

Natalie Ellis and Ellen Nowak, CUH Arts

The specialist cancer research hospital for the East of England will bring NHS staff from Addenbrooke’s Hospital and scientists from the University of Cambridge and its Cancer Research UK Cambridge Centre under one roof, in a new world-class facility being built on the Cambridge Biomedical Campus.

Research from both the UK and internationally has shown that using arts in care settings can significantly improve patient experience, health outcomes, and create positive working environments.

The programme, generously funded by the kind supporters of Addenbrooke’s Charitable Trust (ACT), saw the CUH Arts team (Natalie Ellis and Ellen Nowak, CUH Arts pictured above right) facilitate workshops and research trips with staff and patients, exploring how nature, the environment and outdoor spaces can positively impact hospital environments. The team hope to incorporate their learnings into the Cambridge Cancer Research Hospital, as well as inspiring their work in current and future oncology spaces.

Ellen Nowak, from the CUH Arts Team said: “We are absolutely delighted to have won this national award, which recognises the value of our creative approach to engaging with staff and patients as we design cancer care for the future.

“We are deeply grateful to everyone who so generously shared their time, experiences and creativity with us.

“Through this work we have learnt so much about the vital role that the arts play in humanising our hospitals, and we look forward to putting this into practice as we design the new Cambridge Cancer Research Hospital.”

Patient representative trying out interactive play equipment in UCLH Proton Beam Therapy Centre

As part of the award-winning programme, patients, staff and Cambridge Cancer Research Hospital’s project team visited the Oxford Cancer Centre and University College London Hospitals Proton Beam Therapy Centre, to learn from their experience of using arts within NHS oncology environments.

The CUH Arts team commissioned writer Hannah Jane Walker and botanical dye specialist Mia Sylvia to facilitate eight workshops in partnership with the University of Cambridge Museums.

The sessions, run at different museums in Cambridge, explored materials, textures and botanicals found in the natural world through expressive writing, pottery, natural dye-making, and wild flower-foraging to explore themes of rootedness, time, self, beauty, imperfection, strength and authority – all of which have profound relevance in the context of cancer care.

The activities facilitated conversations about experiences, care and ideas for future hospitals amongst the patients, clinical and research staff and museum professionals. Hannah Jane Walker observed conversations and has since created a publication of her learnings, titled ‘Arts and Culture in Oncology Environments’, detailing what cancer patients and staff want from arts and culture while in hospital.

Susan Arnold, a patient involved in the design of Cambridge Cancer Research Hospital, said: “It feels amazing to be useful for something. After a process like cancer, where you have been made to feel redundant, passive, and irrelevant, to be asked for my opinion on something that can make it a better experience for others. I feel very emotional and I really appreciated being asked to share my experience.”

A co-produced exhibition with Mia Sylvia, titled ‘A Big Natural Colour Chart’ which showcases the artwork is now on display at Addenbrooke’s Hospital.

Addenbrooke’s becomes first NHS hospital to use AI cancer treatment thanks to ACT supporters

Addenbrooke’s has become the first NHS hospital to use thermal ablation (hot needle treatment) to destroy life-threatening tumours in one go, including hard-to-reach cancers.

Through the generosity of ACT supporters, we were able to buy the £250,000 thermal ablation machine following a two-year pilot involving 50 patients with liver cancer. Less than half of those treated during the pilot needed further treatment. The hospital is now looking at how this treatment can be expanded to kidney and other cancer patients.

Combining the precision of AI and thermal ablation means hard-to-reach or very small tumours can be more easily and effectively treated without the need for repeat treatments.

Hear more below from Consultant radiologist Nadeem Shaida about how this incredible machine will save the lives of more people with cancer.

Read an interview with Dr Nadeem Shaida on the amazing cascination machine on pages 4 and 5 of our latest Impact magazine.

Read the coverage of the cascination machine on the BBC website.

Looking after our VIBees!

As part of Biodiversity Action Week at Addenbrooke’s, hospital staff and volunteers planted nectar-rich flowers into 10 pre-filled planters, funded by ACT supporters, providing colourful, nature-friendly spaces around the hospital campus for all.

These beautiful planters have turned drab, concrete spaces into a more appealing place to be as well as given nature a helping hand.

Click here to find out more about the hospital’s Green Plan to reduce its carbon footprint and increase biodiversity.

New app helps patients find the way

A new wayfinding app ‘CUH Directions’ funded by hospital supporters has been launched.

Now patients, families and visitors to Addenbrooke’s and the Rosie will be able to easily find their way around the hospital site, meaning less worry and stress getting to and from appointments.

The app was developed with the help of patient feedback and maps a route of images and text instructions when you provide a start and end point.

ACT CEO, Shelly Thake, said: “The charity is delighted to help launch the new CUH Directions app which was kindly funded by ACT supporters. Patients coming to the hospital, including those who are sight impaired or have learning disabilities, will now be able to find their way to appointments and wards from car parks and the bus station more easily.

Just visit the App Store or Google Play Store to download and install the app on on your device.

You can read more about the CUH Directions app on the hospital website.