It’s now a year since we lost James Brokenshire MP at the age of just 53.
Great people leave an enduring legacy, and as well as a lifetime of public service, James sought to make a permanent difference to the lives of all affected by lung cancer.
He wanted to prevent them having to go through what he did, so he dedicated his time and energies to raising awareness of this disease.
From his initial diagnosis in 2017 until his death on Thursday 7th October 2021, James was an indefatigable campaigner for better lung cancer screening, becoming the first MP to host a debate on it in the House of Commons. He was clear that the misconceptions surrounding lung cancer should be removed.
In the past 12 months, Cathy Brokenshire has stepped forward to take on the work that her beloved James began so brilliantly. She has put these issues right at the top of the public health agenda. Her appearances on television have had a major impact, driving awareness of lung cancer and its signs and symptoms.
Cathy has forged a strong bond with Fiona Castle, whose late husband, the fabulous entertainer Roy Castle, did so much to put lung cancer – and this charity – on the map in the 1990s.
Previously a private person, happy to provide James with quiet, steadfast support, Cathy is now dedicated to improving public awareness of lung cancer and the issues associated with it.
While she never wanted to take on this challenge, Cathy takes strength from what she calls the ‘Power of James’. She feels his support and influence at every turn.
Cathy is now supporting the NHS and Roy Castle Lung Cancer Foundation in their campaigns to promote targeted lung health checks in locations across England.
She knows that James would have been delighted to hear that the National Screening Committee has just announced its recommendations that there should be a national lung cancer screening programme across the UK.
Scientific research, including work funded by our charity, is revealing just how complex lung cancer truly is. It can arise from many factors. James never smoked but he got lung cancer; one of the less common variants.
We know now that around 28% of all cases of lung cancer are not linked to smoking. If you have lungs, you can get lung cancer. James understood that and threw himself into supporting all those affected. Now Cathy is doing the same.
She says: ‘’Thank you to everyone who has supported our campaign in memory of such a wonderful public-minded individual.
‘’We have been overwhelmed with wonderful messages and support since his death and ask that you to continue to share your memories and photographs of him on his tribute page. They bring great comfort and joy to the family and to others who knew and loved James.
‘’We’d also like to thank all the NHS staff who cared for James so well.’’