Rotary Club of Belfast

Cancer Focus NI Today

RoisinQATimeRoisin Foster Chief Executive Cancer Focus NI in her address to the Club Monday 01 April advised that they celebrated their 50th Anniversary on Sunday 31 March, the date of their 1st formal meeting. She revealed that the idea came about when Peter Brand had cancer as a young man. Realising that there were no trials or research being conducted in NI on his recovery he set up the NI charity. She indicated that it was very appropriate for her to be addressing the Club as Clever Fulton Rankin were their first legal advisors. She advised that they get support because they are local but stressed that they want to be more than local and keep abreast of what is happening globally.

She revealed that they focus particularly on the now – understanding cancer and getting cancer talked about and the later – introducing care services to care for families and sufferers. She stressed that fundraising should never take precedence over reducing the impact of cancer on society but it was vital to their work. In their 1st year their goal was to raise £25,000 (15 times the average wage) but they have grown and developed and last year raised £3.5m (144 times the average wage).

cancer 50 yearsShe noted that in their 50 years they have only had 3 Chief Executives and highlighted their milestones leaflet and highlighted that they have 4 strands to their work:

  • fundraising
  • helping the public to recognise early signs of cancer together with making healthy lifestyle choices to prevent its onset;
  • providing help and advice to those individuals and families living with cancer particularly dealing with the psychological impact
  • lobbying Government.

Concluding her well received address she revealed that any interaction with patients always stays with her as does the “crow on the shoulder – will the cancer come back”.

Answering questions she revealed that there are no global tests for cancer as there are so many different forms and symptoms and advised checking with your GP if concerned and they are spending £300,00pa funding research programmes into teenage and breast cancer, particularly women’s at risk of a 2nd breast cancer, and mobilising one’s own immune system to counter it.

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