Geoff And Lizzie Back Dragonboat

9th May 2019

Former England, Crystal Palace and Wolves footballer Geoff Thomas is appealing for businesses to get on-board for this year’s Brindleyplace Dragonboat Race on Saturday 15thJune, to raise money for Cure Leukaemia.

A blood cancer survivor himself and Patron of the charity, Geoff is encouraging business professionals to act fast if they want to battle it out at this year’s event. Now in its 20thyear, the Dragonboat Race returns to the canal as part of the estate’s Family Festival. Teams will be swapping suits for fancy dress, before taking to the water in 20ft traditional Chinese longboats to demonstrate their paddling-power.

Sponsored by Deutsche Bank, last year’s event raised over £56,000 for Cure Leukaemia, which helps finance the internationally renowned Centre for Clinical Haematology at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital and a network of specialist research nurses across the Midlands, to give patients access to potentially life-saving treatments through clinical trials.  

In 2003, Geoff was given just three months to live when he was diagnosed with Chronic Myeloid Leukaemia. Thanks to the expert care of Professor Charlie Craddock CBE and the brilliant team Cure Leukaemia supports at the Centre for Clinical Haematology, he received a bone marrow transplant from his sister and has been in remission since 2005. 

Geoff said:


“The Dragonboat Race is one of the most fun, unique and impactful fundraising events held in Birmingham and we’re thrilled to be the event’s charity partner for a 5th consecutive year. Every penny raised throughout the day goes directly towards helping blood cancer patients in the region that have exhausted standard treatments, not only giving them hope but also supporting global progress towards eradicating all blood cancers within 20 years. 


“I was one of the lucky ones and I remember many who lost their battles, so it’s so important that as many people as possible show their support for this event – whether you’re in a team or just fancy lining the canals to cheer everyone on!”


30-year-old Lizzie Dean will be taking part this year as a drummer with her team from Drive System Design. Lizzie is alive today thanks to funds raised for Cure Leukaemia. Without access to a groundbreaking clinical trial for relapsed transplant patients, Lizzie’s acute myeloid leukaemia would almost certainly have taken her life.

She said:


“I love the Dragonboat Race and, when well enough, I’ve always attended to show my support.


"This year I’m going one level further by taking part and I cannot wait.


"I can’t stress enough how important funds raised from this event can be, in my case it really is a matter of life or death and I am so grateful to Cure Leukaemia and everyone who has raised funds to give me this chance of life.


I’d urge people out there to get involved and secure a boat today!” 


Stacey Muir, Marketing and Events Executive at Brindleyplace, adds:

“As well as the race, there will be plenty planned for all the family throughout the day in Central Square, including workshops, live music, a magician and even a petting zoo, so it’ll be fun day out for all the family. We can’t wait to see who will be taking home the trophy this year!”

Each crew that enters, comprising of 10 ‘paddlers’ and one ‘drummer’, is asked to raise at least £200 per team member, with a charitable entry fee of £500. Additional funds will also be raised on the day through activities, raffles and competitions at Brindleyplace, with all funds going directly to Cure Leukaemia. 

This event isn’t just available to businesses, half boats are an option and anyone can enter. To register a team for the Brindleyplace Dragonboat Race, please contact

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The Trials Acceleration Programme (TAP)

How funds raised for Cure Leukaemia help save lives

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"Cure Leukaemia’s funding of the UK Trials Acceleration Programme (TAP) is a game-changer and increases the access for blood cancer patients to potentially transformative new therapies."

Sir John Bell
"Cure Leukaemia’s funding of the UK Trials Acceleration Programme (TAP) is a game-changer and increases the access for blood cancer patients to potentially transformative new therapies."

Sir John Bell