The Christie charity is launching a major new advertising campaign featuring the stories of people whose lives have been touched by Manchester’s internationally acclaimed cancer centre, The Christie. 

The campaign aims to show how crucial fundraising for The Christie charity is and how many of the services provided by The Christie would not be possible without the support of charitable donations. The campaign also shows the human side of care and treatment that The Christie provides throughout Greater Manchester and the North West.

It highlights the everyday work of The Christie, talking about saving lives, making breakthroughs, holding hands, wiping tears, lifting spirits, raising funds, ringing bells and beating cancer. 

A key feature is that no actors or models have been used. All the people involved are real people who have a direct connection to The Christie including three patients, a doctor and nurse, two fundraisers, a volunteer and the wife of a current patient at The Christie. The campaign will run on everything from giant tower blocks to billboards, large digital advertising screens, bus sides, radio adverts and social media from November 19 for three weeks. 

One of the stars of the campaign is 21-year-old Christie patient Rebecca Cruice. Rebecca was 18 when she was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma – a rare cancer of white blood cells. Rebecca, who lives in West Gorton and is currently a carer for her mum, asked to be treated at The Christie’s teenage and young adult unit (TYA), so she could benefit from the age-appropriate services including activities and counselling. The Christie’s TYA opened in 2014 and cost £12 million, £10 million of which was provided by The Christie charity. Many of the support services and extras specifically for young people continue to be funded by charitable donations. 

Rebecca will feature on digital screens across Manchester city centre, as well as newspaper adverts and the sides of buses. She said: “I volunteered for the campaign because I want to do my bit to raise awareness. The medical treatment at The Christie is amazing and no doubt saved my life, but what made the biggest difference was the support network. I didn’t want to be labelled as the girl with cancer, and I met friends who were having the same experiences as me. Even now, I am cancer free but I still rely on the friendships I made. The Christie charity made that possible, so I’m so pleased I can help with this campaign by sharing my experiences.” 

Matt Bilney, aged 38, is a matron at The Christie and is also featured in the campaign. His voice will appear in a radio advert and he will also feature in newspaper adverts and on bus sides. Matt lives in Didsbury and joined The Christie as a student nurse in 2002. He said: “I was very proud to be asked to represent all Christie nurses in the campaign. I work with some amazing colleagues who go above and beyond to provide care and compassion to our patients. In my previous role, I managed the integrated procedures unit (IPU) which brings together day patient services in one place and which our charity raised almost £5m for, and so I know first-hand just how important the support of our charity is. Now, as a senior nurse manager for inpatient wards, it is clear every day what a difference our charity makes to patients and their relatives and I hope people will really get behind this campaign and make a decision to fundraise for us.” 

Professor Corinne Faivre-Finn, also from Didsbury, is a doctor at The Christie and is another face of the campaign. Prof Faivre-Finn, originally from Paris, has worked at The Christie for 21 years and has benefited directly from funding from The Christie charity as it has funded her current post as a consultant clinical oncologist. 

She says that the charity funding has allowed for a large programme of research to be set up which has benefitted lung cancer patients in Manchester significantly. Prof Faivre-Finn believes this would not have been possible without the charity funding. Corinne will feature on digital billboards throughout the city, as well as the radio advert and social media. 

Charmain Sangster, aged 54, from East Didsbury also features in the campaign and will be shown on bus sides and billboards on Trinity Way in the city centre. She has been a volunteer at The Christie for the last four years and currently helps often fragile and frightened first time patients to find their way around the hospital. Charmain’s first experience of The Christie though was 10 years ago when she was diagnosed with stage 2 breast cancer. She says that she always feels safe when she is at The Christie and is proud and excited to be part of this campaign because it’s a cause close to her heart. 

The other people featured in the campaign are patient Geneva Rhodes from Wigan; patient Dave Kearney and his wife Amanda from Bury; and fundraisers Craig Keatley from Urmston and Brenda Walker from Bury. 

The advertising campaign urges people to help The Christie ‘keep touching lives’. 

The Christie charity hopes that the new campaign will encourage donors and potential donors to think about the work The Christie does in the run up to Christmas. The Christie charity is fundraising for a range of exciting new projects throughout 2020 including building a new world class cancer research centre, funding a new 4D scanner, attracting world class doctors and researchers, carrying out proton beam therapy research and conducting research into childhood cancer. 

Louise Hadley, Director of fundraising and corporate affairs at The Christie, said: “When we decided to do this advertising campaign, we wanted it to feel real and genuine, so it made sense to use the voices of all those who are touched by The Christie on a daily basis. We often hear that everyone in the North West knows someone touched by The Christie and we hope that sharing the stories of our patients and staff will show people just how integral our charity is to the work of the hospital. The Christie would not be the incredible place it is today without the support of our charity and fundraisers. It allows us to provide enhanced services over and above what the NHS funds which in turn ensures Christie patients receive world leading care and treatment and access to the very latest clinical trials.”

The Christie NHS Foundation Trust was the first specialist trust to be rated as ‘Outstanding’ twice (in 2016 and 2018) by the health regulator the Care Quality Commission (CQC). It referred to The Christie as ‘a leader in cancer care’ and ‘a pioneer in developing innovative solutions to cancer care.’ The CQC praised the Trust’s staff which it said ‘go the extra mile to meet the needs of patients and their families’ and that they were ‘exceptionally kind and caring.’ In 2017, the CQC rated The Christie as the best specialist trust in the country, and one of the top three trusts overall in England.