Over 30 staff at Worcestershire Royal Hospital will walk over 8 miles across the Malvern Hills on Saturday 25th May to raise funds for Cure Leukaemia in support of their colleague Dr Salim Shafeek.
Dr Shafeek, the Clinical Director of Haematology and Oncology at Worcestershire Royal Hospital, has recently been diagnosed with myeloma, a form of blood cancer and is receiving treatment at the Centre for Clinical Haematology at Birmingham’s Queen Elizabeth Hospital.
Former patients and colleagues have understandably been shocked to hear this news and have rallied in support of the consultant who has worked at the hospital for 17 years. Over 30 people will take to the Malvern Hills in May to raise funds in what is being called the ‘Rowan Ramble’ named after The Rowan Suite for haematology and oncology at the hospital.
Nurses from the Rowan who have worked alongside Dr Shafeek for many years said:
“It was an immense shock to hear of Dr Shafeek’s diagnosis. He has dedicated so much of his life to looking after patients with blood cancer as well as active involvement in research and tireless support for his staff and colleagues. He is facing his treatment with strength and dignity and we admire him enormously.
“That is why we have decided to organise a mass participation walk in the beautiful Malvern Hills to raise funds for Cure Leukaemia, a charity that is driving forward new treatments for blood cancer by funded specialist research nurses to conduct pioneering clinical trials.
“We would be hugely grateful if the public would donate to our fundraising page which can be found HERE.
Geoff Thomas (left) & Dr Shafeek (right)
Dr Shafeek was the first consultant to treat former England, Crystal Palace and Wolves footballer Geoff Thomas when he was diagnosed with chronic myeloid leukaemia (CML) in 2003 and this news has also come as a shock to Geoff:
“I might not be here today if it was not for Dr Shafeek who quickly recognised the severity of my illness and referred me to Professor Charlie Craddock CBE in Birmingham. He has helped so many patients over the years and I am sure every single one of them would want to wish him all the very best in his treatment and hopefully a full and swift recovery.
“It is great to see so many people organising a walk to support him, I hope it is a great success and raises many funds for the charity I am very proud to be a Patron of, Cure Leukaemia.”
Steve Shaw with the plants he sells to raise funds for Cure Leukaemia
Steven Shaw, from Malvern, was diagnosed with acute myeloid leukaemia (AML) almost exactly seven years ago and received his initial treatment from Dr Shafeek and his team. Steve is a keen walker and will be joining the Rowan Ramble in May. He said:
“If Dr Shafeek had not recommended me for a clinical trial in 2012 made available thanks to Cure Leukaemia I would not have been able to marry my partner Trish, meet my grandchildren Teddy, Charlie and Abby or escort my daughter down the aisle on her wedding day.
Taking part in this walk is the very least I can do to support the brilliant clinical teams that saved my life and I wish Dr Shafeek the very best for his treatment.”
Jenna Ostrowski cycling from London to Paris in September 2018
35-year-old Corporate Solicitor, Jenna Ostrowski from Birmingham, was diagnosed with AML in July 2017 and received her diagnosis from Dr Shafeek. Jenna, now in remission, visited him as soon as she heard the news:
“I was shocked, I couldn’t believe it. Blood cancers are so indiscriminate and can strike anybody and at any time and it is hard to believe that someone who has helped so many people overcome blood cancer can suddenly be in this position themselves. He has all my support and best wishes and I hope the Rowan Ramble is great success in May.”
Dr Shafeek is receiving treatment from Dr Mark Cook and Cure Leukaemia Trustee Dr Guy Pratt at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital and is optimistic about his treatment. He said:
“It started with some pain in my back, an innocuous symptom as is often the case with blood cancers, so when I received the diagnosis it was a great shock to me and my family. After a swift diagnosis at Worcestershire Acute NHS Trust within 48 I was referred to Birmingham and I am receiving excellent treatment at the Centre for Clinical Haematology. I am maintaining a positive mindset, something I have always urged my patients to do!
“It is so touching that my colleagues are doing this walk in support of me and for a fantastic charity in Cure Leukaemia. I know that all funds raised will go towards ensuring more and more patients continue to be connected with treatments for blood cancer that are currently not available to them and I hope the team are able to achieve their target.
“The support from my family, colleagues, friends, former patients and the general public has been overwhelming; and I am immensely grateful.”
How funds raised for Cure Leukaemia help save lives