17th April 2020

Good news round-up part 3

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From anniversaries to a drop in new coronavirus cases – and, of course, one incredible veteran – here is this week’s good news round up.

Happy birthday to us

Things are tough at the moment, of that there is no doubt, but this week marks a special year for us and an opportunity to reflect on the last three decades and all the people we have helped.

On 18th April 1990, Professor Ray Donnelly sat in his office in Broadgreen hospital and decided enough was enough.

He had had enough of the poor outlook and attitude towards people with lung cancer. Working as a thoracic surgeon. he would see around 10 patients with lung cancer every year, but only one or two would be suitable for surgery – and at that time surgery was the only hope for cure.

The problem was late diagnosis, so it was blindingly obvious to Ray that we needed research into early detection. There was none in this country, and very little anywhere else in the world.

He put together a proposal for a senior research person in lung cancer. It was approved by the University of Liverpool, but they wouldn’t fund it. It was approved by the hospitals, but they didn’t have any money. He made an application to the British Lung Foundation, but they turned it down. So, he decided to do it himself.

Thirty years on, and the lung cancer landscape is looking very different. When we started, lung cancer was bottom of the pile. It’s now receiving the second highest amount of research funding.

When we started, only 17% of people diagnosed lived for a year or more. Thanks to earlier detection and new life-lengthening treatments, more people are living well and living longer with all stages of lung cancer.

And when we started, there were no stories to tell. For the last 30 years, we have been the voice of people with lung cancer. By sharing their stories just like Roy shared his, we are giving hope to someone else who has just been diagnosed. That’s something to be very proud of.

You can make a donation to our anniversary appeal through our Facebook page.

A new perspective

With so much focus on the number of cases and number of deaths, it’s time we looked at the other side of the stats.

More than half a million people have recovered from coronavirus, including 106-year-old great-grandmother, Connie Titchen.

In almost all of the worst affected countries, the number of new cases is falling daily.

Denmark is the latest country to loosen its lockdown. Schools for younger children have now reopened and, from Monday, beauty salons, hairdressers and tattoo parlours are set to open its doors. Whilst, in Austria, thousands of shops including garden centres and DIY stores have reopened, albeit with strict rules on social distancing remaining in place.

Virtually awesome

We’re always overwhelmed by the lengths our supporters go to. This week, one story really stood out. Kirsty Mulvey signed up for our Virtual Easter Run but then coronavirus hit her family. Her and her husband, Shane, had a cough, breathlessness and were extremely tired. But it was worse for her 13-year-old daughter, Alyssa, who had undergone a stem-cell transplant five months ago.

Alyssa was admitted to hospital and spent eight nights in a dedicated paediatric coronavirus ward. Fortunately, she has now recovered and been discharged from hospital.

“When we left hospital, I was determined to complete the Virtual Run. On Easter Sunday I set out with Alyssa, who was in a wheelchair, and her miniature dachshund puppy, to keep me company.

Although I couldn’t run, we had a lovely walk, despite me designing a route down a very steep hill then up another! I felt amazing when we finished though, and I encourage others to do it too. Roy Castle Lung Cancer Foundation desperately need our support. It also keeps you fit and motivated and who doesn’t love a medal!”.

A huge thank you to Kirsty and everyone who has done our Easter run.

Meals on… legs!

With many families struggling financially and the added costs of staying at home 24/7, one assisted headteacher has found a way to help.

Every day, Zane Powles from Western Primary School in Grimsby, loads up huge rucksacks with packed lunches and delivers them to at least 78 students to ensure they still have access to free school meals.

Mr Powles, a former soldier, walks five miles carrying the 18kg food packages during his daily lunch run. He drops the pack lunch on the doorstep, knocks on the door and then waits on the pavement or in the garden to ensure they are picked up. He then has a quick chat to check the children are doing ok.

He also drops off homework!

Captain Tom Moore

We couldn’t do a good news round-up this week without mentioning the incredible efforts of Captain Tom Moore who walked 100 lengths of this garden in honour of his 100th birthday at the end of the month to support the NHS.

His efforts took to the country by storm and his initial target of £1000 soon reached the millions. The Just Giving platform crashed repeated as people pledged their support. He is now the holds the biggest fundraising total in Just Giving history!

Arise Sir Tom!