WARRINGTON cancer survivor Ben Hardman is calling on people to help tackle the devastating loss of funding for cancer research, caused by the COVID-19 outbreak.
Ben, who lives in Birchwood, has vowed to help Cancer Research UK continue its mission as it launches an urgent new appeal for donations to help get life-saving work back on track.
Following the cancellation of fundraising events like Race for Life, the charity is expecting a staggering £160 million drop in income in the year ahead.
As a result, Cancer Research UK has had to make the difficult decision to cut £44 million in research funding, but this is likely to be just the beginning.
After being diagnosed with testicular cancer aged just 23, Ben owes his life to advances in treatment.
That’s why he’s helping to highlight the threat the funding gap poses to future breakthroughs for cancer patients in Warrington and across the UK.
This is powerfully brought to life in a new TV appeal film. It shows a cancer patient on the verge of finding out whether her treatment has been successful, when the video pauses at the critical moment.
The message is clear – to save lives tomorrow, Cancer Research UK needs the public’s support today.
By sharing his story, Ben, who is now aged 34, hopes to inspire people to donate now.
Ben, who works in IT for a large European company, was diagnosed with cancer in 2008. He went to see his GP after he began to experience breathlessness and was initially prescribed antibiotics for a suspected chest infection.
However, when the symptoms continued, Ben underwent further tests and was devastated to be told he had testicular cancer which had already spread to his lungs and lower back.
Ben, who lives in Birchwood, had three months of chemotherapy treatment followed by surgery.
He made a good recovery and returned to full health even completing the London Marathon in 2014.
He said: “My experience means I understand the importance of Cancer Research UK’s work all too clearly. I was absolutely devastated to be diagnosed with cancer at such a young age.“It’s thanks to improved treatments that I’ve been given more precious time with my loved ones – so it upsets me to think about research being delayed and what this might mean for people affected by cancer in the months and years to come.
“By boosting funding now, we can all help to lessen the future impact on patients. So, I hope that people will be moved by the charity’s determination to carry on beating cancer and give what they can. They could make a real difference to people like me.”
Cancer Research UK’s work into the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of cancer has been at the heart of progress that has seen survival in the UK double in the last 40 years.
Thanks to the generosity of its supporters, the charity currently funds around 50 per cent of all publicly funded cancer research in the UK.
However, as a direct result of the coronavirus pandemic, promising projects which could have the big answers to cancer are being held up.
Jane Bullock, Cancer Research UK spokesperson for the North West, said: “We’re grateful to Ben for helping to underline the stark reality of the current situation.
“COVID-19 put so much of our research on pause, leaving us facing a crisis where every day and every pound counts.
“With around 41,000 people diagnosed with cancer each year in the North West, we will never stop striving to create better treatments. But we can’t do it alone.
“Whether they donate, sign up to Race for Life at Home or shop at our stores – with the help of people in Warrington, we believe that together we will still beat cancer.”
Cancer Research UK was able to spend over £30 million in the North West last year on some of the UK’s leading scientific and clinical research.
Donate now at cruk.org/give
HELP TO KICKSTART RESEARCH
Every year, around 41,000 people are diagnosed with cancer in the North West.
Thanks to the generosity of its supporters, Cancer Research UK was able to spend over £30 million in the region last year on some of the UK’s leading scientific and clinical research – helping more people like Ben survive cancer.
The charity has played a part in developing 8 out of 10 of the world’s top cancer drugs, but progress such as this is under threat due to a devastating loss of funding caused by COVID-19.
There are lots of different ways people in Warrington can help to get life-saving research back on track by:
•Making a donation
•Taking part in Race for Life at Home
•Signing up to Cycle 300
•Shopping at the recently re-opened Cancer Research UK store in Sankey Street, Warrington.
Donate now at cruk.org/give