Leading cancer hospital The Christie has praised the Steve Prescott Foundation for its work in enabling “huge progress” in cancer research.
The renowned centre in Manchester believes that funds and awareness raised by the charity has improved its understanding of cancer patients “beyond belief” and could lead to the availability of different treatments in under five years.
Senior surgeons Professor Sarah T O’Dwyer, Professor Mark Saunders who treated former rugby international Steve, and Mr Malcolm Wilson, welcomed SPF representatives to The Christie to thank the Foundation for donations totalling almost £600,000, and highlight how those funds have driven the centre forward.
The SPF were taken behind the scenes at The Christie and its remarkable Proton Beam Therapy centre, represented by Linzi Prescott, Steve’s widow and trustee, along with chairman Mike Denning, Trustee Ade Cunliffe, Martin Blondel and Alex Chicken, rugby league greats Paul Sculthorpe and Adrian Morley, fellow ambassador George Riley and Sky Sports’ Fraser Dainton.
Prescott was diagnosed with the rare cancer pseudomyxoma peritonei (PMP) in 2006 and given just months to live. He set up the SPF and embarked on a series of gruelling endurance challenges, raising almost half a million pounds before his death in 2013. The Foundation has gone from strength to strength since the loss of its founder and inspiration, with The Christie now receiving huge annual donations, including £40,000 in December raised through its official events in 2019.
“Since 2016 we have assigned over £500,000 to support a number of initiatives for patients with PMP, appendix and peritoneal tumours. We are extremely grateful to the Steve Prescott foundation for their unfailing support and generous donations,”it said.
The cancer centre believes that alongside the funds raised by the SPF, it is the work the Foundation has done to raise awareness of PMP that has helped make some of the biggest breakthroughs.
“Steve presented with a very advanced form and it wasn’t possible to remove all his tumours from the outset, “ said Professor Saunders.
“Now because of donations enabling research and raising awareness, we are getting a big increase in referrals and seeing people at a much earlier stage.“
“The SPF has pushed this considerably,” added Professor O’Dwyer.
“Not just through fundraising but through awareness and keeping his name alive. When people search for PMP they will find Steve and that is testimony to the Foundation and the work of its supporters. It remains a very rare form of cancer and one that most GPs will never come across in their careers.”
The surgeons believe Prescott’s fearless attitude towards the disease was a watershed moment.
“It takes a special type of personality to go through what Steve did with his pioneering operation in Oxford,” said Malcolm Wilson.
“You need to be very tough and he showed the mentality of a professional sportsman. The multi-bowel transplant that he went through is testament to that.
“The funds raised by the SPF since have enabled an improved understanding of cancer patients from the point of referral beyond belief. Donations made now could mean the availability of different treatments in three to five years time.
“There has been an explosion of public knowledge of the condition thanks to the SPF, which has pushed forward research. The progress has been huge.
Without Stephen getting this disease we would know nothing about it. He was a landmark individual that has pushed forward research into, understanding and awareness of PMP.”
Thanks to your donations to the SPF, The Christie has made significant progress in the following areas:
- Increased awareness has led to more referrals.
- Earlier referral has led to more patients seen with less advanced disease.
- Easing patients’ financial burden through accommodation and transport.
- A new health and wellbeing programme - “prehabilitation” - to get patients in the best possible health for surgery and therefore improve the outcome of it.
- Research - storing and exploring cells in The Biobank laboratory, and working with centres in Italy and Spain to develop new treatments in PMP over the next five years.
The SPF will soon embark on the first of its official events for 2020. To support the Foundation, or sign up for this year’s challenges please visit https://www.steveprescottfoundation.co.uk/events/official-events
The work we do directly supports The Christie, the RFL Benevolent Fund and the SPF Special Causes Fund. Your efforts help lives, and save lives.