Thursday, 20 December 2012
During 2012, Lady Elsie officially opened the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation PET Tracer Production Unit, which was jointly funded by the charity and Newcastle University. The charity also announced it was contributing £850,000 towards life-saving new cyber surgery equipment at the Northern Centre for Cancer Care at the Freeman Hospital in Newcastle.
Both of these major advances in treatment and tumour detection for cancer patients will work in tandem with the clinical trials of new drugs within the Sir Bobby Robson Cancer Trials Research Centre. Together they are what Professor Plummer, director of the Sir Bobby Centre, describes as “pieces of a very special jigsaw to help fight cancer.”
Professor Plummer says: “We’ve been able to do so much thanks to the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation and we’re very grateful to everyone who has helped.
“All the funny ideas which people come up with to raise money, the great physical challenges and the donations to celebrate an occasion or remember a loved one, they all make a difference. Together they add up to a very significant amount of money and are helping fund truly world-class cancer facilities.
“Working together with the Newcastle upon Tyne NHS Foundation Trust, Newcastle University and other charities we’re making real progress here and that’s exactly what Sir Bobby hoped for.
“Shortly before he died he talked to me about the Foundation being his legacy and how much he wanted it to continue. Thanks to wonderful ongoing support, the charity is stronger than ever and next year even more cancer patients will benefit directly from innovative new approaches to detecting and treating the disease.”
In November (2012), the charity announced its largest funding contribution to date, £850,000, to help purchase the latest generation in cyber surgery.
The Varian TrueBeam STx with Novalis radiosurgery is only the second of its type in the UK and will dramatically improve the accuracy of radiotherapy treatment. It will be used to treat tumours which are currently inoperable and delivers extremely high doses of radiation with pin-point accuracy.
Damage to surrounding tissue is minimal, vastly reducing potential side effects, and treatment is delivered in just a few short radiotherapy sessions. Typically, a five to seven week course of conventional radiotherapy could be reduced to just one to three outpatient treatments.
It will offer curative treatment to up to 250 local patients each year that cannot currently be cured with either standard surgery or standard radiotherapy.
Lady Elsie says: “It gives me great pleasure to see the legacy my husband left through the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation growing and helping even more people.
“The Foundation continues to be a great team effort against cancer and this really has been a great year for that team. No doubt Bob would compare it to winning the league.
“We can only help the experts find better ways to detect and treat cancer with help from all the generous people who support us and I’m very grateful to everyone who has contributed in any way.
“We’re always so touched to receive even the smallest donations. It’s such a thoughtful way to remember loved ones we have lost and to consider those who will have to fight cancer in the future.”
2013 promises to be another memorable year for the Foundation with major fund-raising events planned including Sir Bobby Robson – A Celebration at the Sage, Gateshead on what would have been Sir Bobby’s 80th birthday.
Featuring Mark Knopfler, Roy Hodgson, Joe McElderry, Paul Whitehouse, Simon Day and many more, the gala event on 18 February is also in aid of The Alan Shearer Foundation. The first release of tickets has sold out and VIP packages will be available in the New Year with details to be announced.
Sir Bobby and Lady Elsie launched the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation in 2008. It funds projects within the Newcastle upon Tyne Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust that directly benefit cancer patients from across the north east and Cumbria, and which contribute significantly to research into the disease.