Survivor Geoff Thomas to help reaffirm the QE as world leader

9th December 2014


On Tuesday 9th December, Cure Leukaemia Patron Geoff Thomas revealed a boost for life-saving work at the Birmingham Centre for Clinical Haematology at a Parliamentary Conference.

  • Geoff Thomas is recruiting 20 cyclists to join him in cycling Le Tour – One Day Ahead, aiming to raise £1 million for Cure Leukaemia.
  • The £1 million will fund trials of new leukaemia treatments at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital and increase the number of patients having access to new therapies.


09 December: A boost for the life-saving work carried out at the Centre for Clinical Haematology (CCH) at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital, Birmingham (QEHB) was announced today at a Parliamentary Conference hosted by John Baron, MP, Chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Cancer. Cure Leukaemia Patron, Geoff Thomas, announced that his fundraising efforts will increase the Centre’s ability to deliver pioneering treatments for blood cancer patients at this international centre of excellence in Birmingham consistent with the Government’s Life Sciences vision.

In order to build on its track record of success and drive forward access to innovative therapies, the CCH will benefit from a £1.5 million funding injection, £1 million of which is scheduled to be generated by Geoff Thomas and his Le Tour – One Day Ahead premium cycling fundraising event.

The money will pay for:

  • More research nurses
  • Ability to deliver more state of the art therapies clinical trials and blood cancer treatments
  • The potential to deliver stem cell transplants as an outpatient procedure
  • A dramatically improved patient experience
  • The chance of developing cures for a range of blood cancers within the next 30 years
  • Consolidate the Queen Elizabeth Hospital’s position as a world-leading centre for the development of new drugs for the treatment of blood cancer

Personal commitment

In 2003, former England footballer, Geoff Thomas was diagnosed with chronic myeloid leukaemia and was given less than three months to live. Following treatment from Cure Leukaemia Co-founder and Director of the Blood and Marrow Transplant Unit at the QEHB, Professor Charlie Craddock, Geoff has been in remission since January 2005.

Since then, Geoff has worked tirelessly to raise money for treatment, research and awareness for blood cancer and the Patron of Cure Leukaemia is taking a hands-on role within the charity, setting himself the target to raise £1 million next year, through cycling the entire Tour de France route just one day ahead of the professional peloton. The money raised by Geoff and his fellow cyclists will fund the delivery of novel new drugs and transplant therapies for patients with blood cancer at the Centre for Clinical Haematology.
 

Speaking in Westminster, Geoff Thomas said:

 

“I owe my life to the excellence of the haematology team at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital and I have always been honoured to be a Patron of this great charity. When I heard about the opportunity to increase the amount of work carried out by the Centre where I was treated and in the process extend access to life-saving therapies for people who are in the same position as I was a decade ago, I was determined to do something to make a significant difference.

 

“After I went into remission from leukaemia in 2005 I marked the occasion by cycling the Tour de France route, several days ahead of the peloton, in order to raise awareness and funds for this visionary leukaemia charity. With 2015 marking ten years since that achievement I wanted to revisit such a major challenge and use the occasion to raise £1 million which will make a huge difference to the lives of so many patients.”


Selfless contribution

Professor Charlie Craddock said:

 

“Geoff has been an inspiration to both patients and clinicians ever since his transplant ten years ago through his selfless work to increase treatment options for blood cancer patients. It is a huge privilege to be working with him again to raise funds for the Centre, which will increase curative options for patients across the UK.

 

The time is now for curing blood cancer. We know from experience that large numbers of patients are responding to these new treatments so this is the time to invest in clinical trial teams and Geoff’s efforts to raise £1 million towards this deserves support.”

John Baron MP, Chairman of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Cancer (APPGC) said:

 

“Today’s ‘Britain Against Cancer’ conference in Westminster has brought together the country’s cancer community. International centres of excellence such as the Centre for Clinical Haematology are at the forefront of the battle against cancer. Hearing today of the fundraising efforts to help increase the chance of finding a cure for blood cancer, I would recommend that everyone gets behind Geoff and helps with his ambitious goal.”


Geoff is inviting riders to apply to be part of his Le Tour – One Day Ahead peloton of just twenty riders who will join him for the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to experience life as a pro-cyclist, with full rolling road closures and support crew and vehicles, one day ahead of the actual Tour de France. Together the group will aim to raise £1 million for Cure Leukaemia and help beat blood cancer.

Entries for Le Tour – One Day Ahead are now open and to register for one of the final 15 places, or to find out more, visit: www.beforethetour.com

Donations to Geoff’s challenge can be made through his JustGiving page:
www.justgiving.com/Geoff-Thomas-2015

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