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Cancer Centre

The Helen Straker Charity raises £36,000 for The Forever Friends Appeal

On Tuesday 5 December the Helen Straker Charity announced it has raised £72,000 during 2017 in aid of two charities, The Forever Friends Appeal and Dorothy House Hospice Care. Both charities received £36,000 each at a cheque presentation held at The Bear Hotel in Devizes as they were the two favourite charities of Helen Straker, late wife of Gordon Straker, who died in 2013 and was an active fundraiser throughout her life.

Gordon Straker (central) presents cheques to Dorothy House Hospice and RUH. Photo: Siobhan Boyle SMB2257/4

This year’s fundraising total by the Helen Straker Charity was raised across the year at a number of events including their annual golf day and clay pigeon shoot plus a generous contribution from the Devizes Lions Club.  This follows another great year of fundraising last year when the Helen Straker Charity raised a total of £80,000.

A proactive fundraiser for both the new Cancer Centre which will be built at the Royal United Hospitals, Bath and Dorothy House Hospice Care, Helen Straker sadly lost her brave fight against cancer in 2013.  Her husband, Gordon Straker, continued Helen’s impressive fundraising efforts and The Helen Straker Charity was officially registered in 2014. The charity now organises a variety of fundraising events each year including golf days, clay pigeon shoots, dinners, balls and comedy nights.

Gordon Straker, Trustee of the Helen Straker Charity said: “My thanks to all the companies, individuals and sponsors who supported the charity this year. Well done to all involved it’s a great achievement. We are proud to have raised £72,000 in funds for Helen’s two chosen charities this year as her aim in life was to help others and it is very satisfying to be able to continue her legacy as she would have wished.”

Jan Witt, In Memory & Legacy Officer, The Forever Friends Appeal said: “On behalf of the Appeal, I personally would like to thank the Trustees of the Helen Straker charity for their continued support, commitment and raising funds for the RUH’s pioneering new Cancer Centre which will provide a highly beneficial healing environment, transforming care for patients and their families. In recognition for their superb fundraising efforts totalling £150,000 in just three years, the Helen Straker Charity are now Principal Family Partners of The Forever Friends Appeal, meaning they will have a naming opportunity for one of the specialist areas or departments within the new Cancer Centre.”

Strakers receive plaque from the Forever Friends Appeal

Phillippa Watson, Head of Fundraising at Dorothy House Hospice Care said: “Many congratulations to the charity for raising such significant funds once again in 2017, it is greatly appreciated and will help Dorothy House continue to provide specialist care for people living with a life-limiting illness. We are extremely grateful to Gordon Straker, the charity Trustees and to the Devizes Lions Club this year for all their hard work and fundraising efforts.  Dorothy House cared for Helen during her battle with cancer and we’re proud to remain a beneficiary of the Helen Straker Charity.”

For information about the Helen Straker Charity please contact Gordon Straker on: 01380 720 371.  To donate to The Forever Friends Appeal click here or to volunteer for Dorothy House Hospice Care please visit www.dorothyhouse.org.uk

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Michael Eavis is 2018 Walk of Life Ambassador

We’re delighted to announce Michael Eavis CBE as Ambassador for our 2018 Walk of Life. He will officially mark the start of the Walk of Life event, a 26.2-mile walking marathon that will take place on 12 May 2018. People are encouraged to sign up now to take part.

Michael Eavis at the RUH

The Walk of Life is an annual event which starts at The Crown Inn, Bishops Cannings and follows the the Kennet and Avon canal, finishing in Bath. There is also an option for people to take part in the afternoon and walk the 10 miles from Bradford-On-Avon to Bath.

It was created with and in memory of Vanessa Kyte, who passed away from cancer in 2007.  Every year, Vanessa’s family and friends love seeing the Walk grow and help raise even more funds for the cause that was so close to Vanessa’s heart.

This year, 500 people from across Bath, Somerset and Wiltshire took part and raised funds for the Appeal and a record amount was raised, over £130,000 by individuals and corporate sponsorship for the Appeal’s major fundraising campaigns and RUH wards.

Tim Hobbs, Head of Fundraising, The Forever Friends Appeal said:

“The Walk of Life is a wonderful opportunity to celebrate the life and memories of your loved ones. We were overwhelmed by the incredible amount raised this year and are extremely grateful to everyone for their support and making it a sellout.

“We are thrilled to have Michael join us as he is a big supporter of ours and he gave our walkers a great send-off this year. We are really looking forward to next year’s event as it’s one of the Appeal’s highlights in our event calendar.

“Fundraising for the RUH and its patients is vital and the funds are going towards the build of our new Cancer Centre, the new RNHRD and Therapies Centre as well as other departments in the RUH.”

To celebrate the success of this year’s Walk of Life event, we invited Michael to come and meet James Scott, RUH Chief Executive and staff.

Places for the 2017 Walk of Life sold out months before the event, so to avoid disappointment, interested walkers are invited to sign up as soon as possible..

General entry places and Corporate Challenge places for business teams for the Walk of Life cost £20 and everyone who signs up will receive a t-shirt, medal and refreshments along the way.  Sign up today

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Former RUH patient supports Cancer Care campaign

Former RUH patient Kevin Gullick is so grateful to staff at the Oncology Department for saving his life, that he’s donating 30 per cent of sales from his new book to the RUH Cancer Care campaign. His novel, Nelvik, Escape to Beulah Land, is a fantasy adventure. His personal story, ‘My thanks to the RUH for my new life’ is equally gripping – and has a happy ending too!

For website

I was admitted to the RUH for a routine biopsy on my throat on 30 December 2005 and on the 3 January 2006, I was diagnosed with having Acute Myeloid Leukemia (AML), an aggressive form of blood cancer.

I decided to receive a relatively new treatment plan (AML 15 Spanish Arm Protocol) and my intensive chemotherapy began on 6 January 2006 and was completed in May 2008.

Sadly, on 5 November 2007, I was once again diagnosed with a form of cancer, this time of the vocal cord. I was assured that this was an extremely early vocal carcino-ma which was eminently curable, but further investigation discovered that the carci-noma had aggressively grown significantly and it was not suitable to continue with the surgery to remove it. Therefore it was agreed that a treatment plan consisting of 35 sessions of radiotherapy and a different form of chemotherapy should be under-taken.

It was decided to discontinue my AML maintenance therapy to allow my body to re-cover and rest and build up my immune system before beginning treatment for my throat cancer. That began on 7 January 2008 and lasted for a period of seven weeks (35 sessions in total) and completed on 21 February 2008. Good news followed on in April where I was given the all-clear for the throat cancer.

A decision was made by Dr Charles Singer and his team in May 2008 not to reintro-duce the AML maintenance treatment as I had already completed two years’ treat-ment. It was a great relief to me and my family but I had to continue attending the hospital on various occasions to allow the Oncology department to take my blood and continue to analyse it for any anomalies. This continued until July 2011 when I was finally informed that there was no need to attend any further clinics.

Sadly my father died in RUH in 2010 due to cancer and in August 2011 I was once again admitted to the RUH to undergo surgery to have my Gall Bladder removed.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank all the personnel in the Oncology and ENT departments who paid attention to great detail in order to treat me and make my stay and visits to the RUH as comfortable as possible. In particular I would like to thank Senior Haematologist Consultant Dr Charles R J Singer, Dr Vinayak Tandon, Dr Philip Robson; Dr Sarah Wexler; and Specialist Research Nurse, Christine Cox.

I would also like to thank Professor Martin Birchall for his persistence and profes-sional dedication in discovering the root cause of my vocal hoarseness.

To Mr John Waldron FRCS Consultant Surgeon, who always made my wife and I welcome and at ease during his clinics and to Mr Arunesh Specialist Doctor and Mr Darren Pinder Consultant.

Without the tireless dedication and professional commitment by all those mentioned and many others, I would not be alive today. Please accept my sincere thanks and gratitude for saving my life. Today I enjoy spending time with my two grandchildren and without the RUH it would not be possible.

As a mark of our great respect and thanks to RUH, my wife and I have decided to work with the charity Forever Friends in a joint venture to raise funds for the hospital and the charity Green Valley Organics with the aim of fulfilling its vision and mission to work with poor farmers, widows and families in Uganda, East Africa.

Nelvik, Escape to Beulah Land is available online and in all Waterstone book stores. However in order for the Appeal to receive 30% of the book sales, please email kjgullick@sky.com and don’t forget to include the product code FFA30 when place your order.

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Beckington Ball raises £29K for RUH Cancer Centre

Proceeds raised at the prestigious Beckington Ball have been generously donated to The Forever Friends Appeal. A cheque for £29,000 has been donated to the RUH’s pioneering new Cancer Centre which will provide state-of-the-art cancer treatment to thousands of patients treated at the RUH.

Beckington Ball cheque presentation

The Beckington Ball is a biennial event held near Frome. It aims to bring local businesses together, large and small to raise funds for good causes.  The Beckington Ball Committee includes Chris Weare, Ang Allen and Dan Gulliford, as well as other volunteers who organise the event. Tickets for the 2017 ball sold out within 24 hours.

Chris Weare, Beckington Ball Committee member said:

“Overall, the event was an overwhelming success and I’d like to say a huge thank you to everyone who came on the night and showed their support. We raised funds in a number of different ways; from sponsoring tables to donating prizes for the raffle draw, the generosity just kept coming. We also had an auction of promises with prizes ranging from day trips to local experience events.

“I’d also like to thank Justin Thorner and the team at Wainwrights for being our lead sponsor and showing their support and to the Appeal’s Warminster and District RUH Fundraising Group for their help. It was a heart-warming event and wonderful to see people’s response to supporting such a worthy local cause.”

Claudia Hickin, Senior Community Fundraiser, The Forever Friends Appeal said:

“We are completely overwhelmed by the generosity and would like to thank The Beckington Ball Committee for donating the funds towards our Cancer Care campaign.

“In recognition for fundraising over £50,000 in two years, the Beckington Ball Committee are Principal Community Partners of The Forever Friends Appeal, meaning they will have a naming opportunity for one of the specialist areas or departments within the new Cancer Centre.”

Through support from the public and major donations, The Forever Friends Appeal continues its Cancer Care campaign hoping to generate over £9m towards the building. To make a donation or find out about the new Cancer Centre click here

Photo above: left to right: Terry Hickmott (member of Warminster and District RUH Fundraising Group), Chris Weare, Big Ted, Annie Hickmott (member of Warminster and District RUH Fundraising Group) and Justin Thorner

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