Over 200 supporters celebrated four decades of fighting childhood cancer at a glittering charity ball held at The Biscuit Factory in Newcastle on Friday 8th November.
They were gathered to celebrate NECCR achievements and its 40th anniversary year. We were established by a group of parents in 1979 when at the time only 20% of children diagnosed with cancer would survive. It was this shocking figure and the loss of some of their children to the terrible disease which led to creating the charity.
Over £30 million has been raised since then to fund research into developing new treatments for childhood cancer and helping to improve survival rates which are now at 85%. All the research is carried out by a team of world-class researchers based in the NECCR laboratories at the Wolfson Childhood Cancer Research Centre in Newcastle.
NECCR is most famous for its annual Children’s Cancer Run, sponsored by Greggs and held at Newcastle Racecourse, which sees around 10,000 fundraisers put their best foot forward to raise money for childhood cancer research.
Greggs received the Making the Difference Award on the night, sponsored by Peacocks Medical Group. The Children’s Cancer Run is synonymous with Greggs due to their steadfast commitment to supporting the event since the very first run and providing their famous picnic to runners once over the finish line. Richard Hutton from Greggs said: “We are absolutely passionate about the difference we can make to children’s cancer by working together in partnership, and we’re so proud to be associated with the run.”
Louise Woods received the Above and Beyond Award sponsored by The Encore Group on behalf of the Good Will Cause. Her son William died suddenly in June 2014 from a rare and aggressive childhood cancer, Burkitt Lymphoma. The Good Will Cause was set up to create something positive and to reflect Will’s love of life and to date has raised over £75,000 for NECCR.
The Mission Possible Award sponsored by Greggs was given to Professor Sir Alan Craft for his global impact in fighting children’s cancer. Widely recognised as a key figure in paediatric oncology, he became involved with research into childhood cancer and NECCR. When a colleague at the Royal Victoria Infirmary went on maternity leave in the 1970s, Sir Alan stood in to look after the children with leukaemia, which started his road to specialising in paediatric oncology, a field that at the time was relatively new.
He helped shape the charity over the first 30 years, as well as set up and direct a world-leading oncology service for the North of England.
On accepting the award Sir Alan praised the generosity of local people in making his work possible. Chris Peacock who survived cancer age 4 thanked Sir Alan, his Doctor at the time, and said he was the inspiration for setting up NECCR. Chris’s father was one of the founding members of the charity with Chris going on to become Chair in 2013.
The evening raised over £15,000 from auctions of prizes donated by local companies. The ball rounded off a record year of fundraising for NECCR, with total sponsorship money from this year’s run their highest ever at over £294,000 – adding to the £8 million donated by dedicated supporters over the past 4 decades.