Friday, 19 February 2010
The Sir Bobby Robson Cancer Trials Research Centre is celebrating its first anniversary this week – a birthday it shares with the man who was so instrumental in raising the money required to equip it.
Sir Bobby Robson would have been 77-years-old this week (18th Feb) and a year ago he officially opened the cancer drugs trials centre at the Northern Centre for Cancer Care, Freeman Hospital in Newcastle.
Over the past year, the Centre has treated 560 patients from Cumbria, Northumberland, Teesside, Tyneside, Wearside and County Durham. It helps ensure people in the north east have early access to treatments for cancer, which are often so new that they are not yet available through the NHS.
Professor Ruth Plummer, director of the Sir Bobby Robson Cancer Trials Research Centre, says: “Opening this Centre a year ago has made a huge difference to the lives of people living with cancer in the north east.
“Patients here have tried standard cancer treatments which they have found are no longer effective and they’re prepared to try something new.
“It’s a wonderfully warm and positive place to work and I count myself very lucky to be part of the team here.”
Sir Bobby launched the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation after request for help from Professor Plummer.
She asked for help raising £500,000 to equip the cancer drugs trials unit and amazingly that initial target was reached in just seven weeks.
Professor Plummer adds: “It was an incredible occasion when we officially opened the Centre last year. We all sang happy birthday to Sir Bobby even though we had some very high profile guests including England manager Fabio Capello!
“Sadly Sir Bobby is not here to celebrate with us today. We couldn’t have achieved all we have for cancer patients in the north east without him. He’s a great miss and we’re very grateful for the incredible legacy he has left us.”
The Sir Bobby Robson Cancer Trials Research Centre treats patients on clinical trials of new cancer drugs. These include early trials of drugs which are just starting to be used in people as well as those which are further on in development and being compared to standard treatments for effectiveness.
This means cancer patients from across the region can choose to participate in trials and have an opportunity to try new treatments as they emerge.
Thanks to ongoing support, the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation has now raised over £2.2 million to fight cancer in the north east.
In addition to equipping the Sir Bobby Robson Cancer Trials Research Centre, the charity has funded a specialist research nurse and doctor and enhanced a children’s waiting area at the Northern Centre for Cancer Care.
It also recently contributed £30,000 to the new Teenage Cancer Unit at the Royal Victoria Infirmary in Newcastle and will be making a very significant investment into cancer research equipment early this year.
The charity operates within the Newcastle upon Tyne NHS Trust and a wider cancer research network to provide services not currently funded by the NHS.
Lady Elsie says: “My husband was very proud that this Centre carried his name. He put so much into fund-raising for his Foundation and I think he enjoyed managing a team again.
“It certainly wasn’t easy for him given his own fight against cancer at that time, but he was determined to do what he could to help other cancer patients in the north east.
“My three sons and I are very committed to continuing fund-raising in Bobby’s name. We’re lucky to have the help of wonderful patrons like Alan Shearer and Steve Gibson and the football clubs in the north east and in Ipswich are all being very supportive of our efforts.
“Bobby said though that it was the man in the street who really made the difference. He was always so touched when strangers at the match would give him a £10 note to put in the Foundation with no thoughts of thanks or recognition.
“I’m very grateful to everyone who has contributed to my husband’s charity by fund-raising or donating money. With continued support we’ll keep going to help all those people who sadly have to go through the hard fight against cancer like Bobby did.
“Every day experts like Ruth move us closer to more effective treatments and one day we’ll beat this terrible disease.”
Monday, 15 February 2010
Middlesbrough FC Chairman Steve Gibson hopes his new role as a patron of the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation will help to increase fund-raising activities on Teesside.
Gibson has agreed to represent the north-east cancer charity as its Teesside patron and help to spread the word that it is for the benefit of patients from across the entire region.
The Boro Chairman, whose father died of cancer, was unveiled in his new role at a Riverside Stadium news conference attended by Sir Bobby’s widow, Lady Elsie, and his son Andrew.
Gibson said: “It was a privilege to get to know Bobby while he was manager of Newcastle. We became friendly and he continued to be a regular visitor to the Riverside and to our training ground at Rockliffe Park after that.
“He had affection for all the north-east clubs. He was a man of great dignity and well-loved by all fans, so it was an honour to be asked to be a patron for the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation.
“My father died of cancer and there’s hardly a family that hasn’t been affected by it. We believe the Foundation can make great strides forwards in the advancement of treatment for cancer and hopefully find a solution to a complex problem.
“It’s important to stress that the Foundation isn’t just for the people of Newcastle, it’s for the north-east and stretches down to Teesside.
“Bobby wanted the benefits of his Foundation to extend across the north-east and it’s now my job to push the charity as much as I can especially here on Teesside.
“What we are striving to do now is to raise as much capital as possible towards research projects.
Sir Bobby Robson achieved incredible success at home and abroad during a football career that lasted more than 50 years and took him almost as far as a World Cup Final.
The former England player and manager began his professional football life at Fulham Football Club but it could so easily have begun on Teesside when he had a trial with Middlesbrough in 1948.
Sadly for Sir Bobby his trial was unsuccessful, and Middlesbrough’s loss was Fulham’s gain on that occasion, but he always maintained a great regard for the club.
It is therefore appropriate that Sir Bobby’s widow, Lady Elsie, should call upon Steve Gibson to represent Sir Bobby and to help continue the work of his cancer charity.
Lady Elsie said: “My family and I are committed to continuing the work Bobby began though his Foundation and Steve agreeing to help by becoming our Teesside Patron means a great deal to us.
“Bobby thought very highly of Steve and the set-up at Middlesbrough Football Club and I’m sure he would approve of his involvement in his charity.
“We’re very grateful to Steve for formally representing the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation as a Patron and for helping us to raise money to fight this terrible disease.”
Steve Gibson joins Alan Shearer as a Patron of the charity, which Sir Bobby launched in March 2008 following a request for help from his oncologist Professor Ruth Plummer.
So that it could be quickly and easily set up, the Foundation operates within the Newcastle upon Tyne Hospitals NHS Charity. However, every penny raised for the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation contributes to cancer services and projects which benefit patients from the entire north east region.
Thanks to incredible ongoing support, the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation has now raised over £2.2 million to fight cancer.
In addition to equipping the Sir Bobby Robson Cancer Trials Research Centre, the charity has funded a specialist research nurse and doctor and enhanced a children’s waiting area at the Northern Centre for Cancer Care. It also recently contributed £30,000 to the new Teenage Cancer Unit at the Royal Victoria Infirmary in Newcastle.
The Sir Bobby Robson Foundation operates within the Newcastle upon Tyne NHS Trust and a wider cancer research network to provide services not currently funded by the NHS for the benefit of patients from across the north east.
These services include the clinical trials of drugs which are at such an early phase in their development that they are not yet licensed by the NHS.
Sunday, 14 February 2010
Middlesbrough FC chairman Steve Gibson and Sir Bobby's son Andrew talk about Steve's new role as Teesside Patron of the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation.