Cancer survivor Carl Sharpe, from Wigan, along with his dedicated fundraising group, The Christie Champions, has raised over £500,000 for The Christie, as a thank you to the specialist cancer centre for saving his life.
Carl, 60, from Hindley in Wigan was diagnosed with an advanced form of Hodgkin's Lymphoma (Stage 4) in early 1998 and was admitted to The Christie for treatment. He underwent courses of intensive chemotherapy and after responding well to treatment, was given the 'all clear' by the end of that year. Carl has continued to have check-ups at the cancer centre and fortunately the cancer has never returned.
Carl's wife, Pat was also treated at The Christie in 2007 when she was diagnosed with breast cancer. She is also now cancer free.
Carl founded the fundraising group The Christie Champions in 2000 and has been Chairman ever since. Members of the group are all people who have been affected by cancer or who have had family members affected by cancer. To date the group has organised local community events; concerts, discos, coffee mornings, bingo nights as well as carrying out regular bucket collections to reach their half a million pound total.
Carl has also been a public governor at the Foundation Trust since 2007, he said: "It's wonderful to reach the half million mark knowing this money will go towards developing services and improving outcomes for cancer patients. We're not stopping here though; our next target is £1million. I volunteer and fundraise for The Christie to say thanks to Professor Radford and all the staff there for the excellent treatment I received. The Christie means so much to us, my wife and I were both treated there, along with other members of our family and friends.
"I can't give enough back, which is why I continue to raise money for such a vital cause. I also want to say a huge thank you to everyone who has been part of The Christie Champions group over the years as well as current members - I couldn't do it without them, and of course to the public who continue to donate so generously."
Heather Robertson, community fundraising co-ordinator at The Christie charity, said: "Huge thanks to Carl and all of The Christie Champions for their devotion to raising funds for our charity over the years. This has been used to fund vital cancer research, buy medical equipment and support new developments. Carl works tirelessly holding fundraising events as well as volunteering at the Trust and we are enormously grateful."
As Carl knows first-hand what it is like to be a patient, he has given talks to the Trust's patient experience committee and is also on the membership of the'Living With and Beyond Cancer' committee. The former HGV driver has been a committed fundraiser and volunteer for The Christie for almost 15 years.
During that time he has also represented the charity at Tatton Flower Show and taken part in The Christie's walking float at the Manchester Day Parade.