Staff get on their bikes

Press release posted 14 June 2016

Members of staff from The Christie NHS Foundation Trust and UCLH (University College London Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust) are joining forces to complete a bike ride fundraising for the UK’s first NHS high energy proton beam therapy (PBT) centres. 

Around 30 members of staff, from The Christie and from UCLH, are taking part in the 220 mile cycle ride from specialist cancer centre, The Christie, in Manchester to UCLH in London in just two days. 

The cycle takes place on 17th and 18th June 2016. 

The teams are aiming to raise at least £10,000 towards the new PBT centres. While the build and operational costs of the centres are entirely funded by government money, this will contribute to an overall fundraising target for each hospital of £10 million. All the money raised will support UCLH and The Christie PBT centres to provide the very latest equipment and make the environment the best it can be. 

Currently patients requiring PBT have to travel abroad for long periods of time to receive this state of the art treatment as the service is not available in the UK. These treatments will be delivered in Manchester and London from 2018, as a national service combining the expertise of cancer specialists from the two hospitals.  

The new service will bring together some of the world’s leading specialists in complex cancers.  Together, The Christie and UCLH will see more children and teenagers with cancer than almost any other centre in the world, and more adults with bone and soft tissue cancers and cancers of the skull base than any other centre in the UK. 

The cyclists are made up of all types of staff including clinicians, researchers, accountants, engineers, nurses and the PBT project team. There are seasoned cyclists and those training to undertake a cycle like this for the first time. With a number of steep climbs and daunting mileage the teams are undertaking a strict training regime.  

The teams will receive lots of support on route with the Territorial Army donating food and accommodation on the first night of the cycle, and OTE and Cycle Republic offering nutritional supplements and mechanical assistance respectively.  

Steve Last, project accountant, is one of the team leaders at UCLH:  “I am really delighted that we have over 30 people from both centres taking up this challenging bike ride and raising money for PBT. My friend’s son had PBT in Oklahoma, USA as part of the NHS overseas treatment programme. Every penny we raise will help kids like him get the very best care here in the UK.”

Dr Ed Smith, clinical lead for PBT at The Christie said: “In 2018 The Christie in Manchester will start treating patients with PBT. Patients will need to travel from around the UK to receive this treatment and will need to stay in Manchester for extended periods of time. With the planning and delivery of treatment taking up to eight weeks the treatment itself only takes an about an hour a day. We think the wellbeing of patients for the other 23 hours of the day is just as important. We want to provide social and other activities for patients and families, making their stay less stressful and their experience of treatment more tolerable. Being away from your family and friends isn't easy when you're being treated for cancer, by providing these services we hope to make it that little bit easier. Thank you for your support.” 

The proton beam therapy centres are currently under construction, with The Christie due to complete in 2018 and UCLH in 2019. The centres will each treat up to 750 patients every year. 

To support the teams visit https://www.justgiving.com/teams/Cycle-o-Tron and https://www.justgiving.com/ManchestertoLondonPBTRide2016.

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