Yorkshire Cancer Research will launch its new campaign For More Life Without Cancer on Monday 7 March to highlight the hopes and possibilities of research through the experiences of people directly impacted by cancer.
With 30,000 people diagnosed with cancer every year in Yorkshire alone, the region is one of the hardest hit in the country. The charity aims to save 2,000 lives in the region each year by funding work to prevent, diagnose and treat cancer.
The campaign will include a new TV advert featuring three people from Yorkshire who have been affected by cancer.
Rob Smith from York, Ryan Grainger from Harrogate and Sheena Hussain from Bradford are supporting the charity’s drive to save as many lives as possible in the region.
Rob was diagnosed with prostate cancer in 2016. Following his diagnosis, he discovered the York Philharmonic Male Voice Choir. Becoming a part of the group, along with his wife Helen who joined as the choir’s accompanist, gave him a new lease of life. The choir and the joy it has brought the couple features in the new campaign.
He said: “I was keen to use this opportunity to raise awareness of cancer and the great strides that have been made in terms of treatment and support services over recent years. This would not have been possible without the research activities of organisations like Yorkshire Cancer Research.
“I also wanted to highlight the fact that it is possible to have cancer, whilst still enjoying a wonderful and fulfilling life. Having a cancer diagnosis shakes the very foundations of who you are as an individual, but one of the key things in my mind was, I'm not ready for my life to end yet. There are things that I still want to do, want to achieve and want to enjoy.
“Cancer has made my wife and I realise how important life is and how much we appreciate the relationship that we have together.”
Farm worker Ryan Grainger, who was 19 when he was diagnosed with testicular cancer, is also supporting the campaign.
Ryan said: “Yorkshire’s my home and after going through cancer, I want to do anything I can to help. It’s important that we talk about it and raise awareness.
“Cancer has definitely changed my outlook on life. My family and friends have become so important to me. You don’t realise how much you might need them.
“Not every day is sunshine and rainbows but when I have bad days I think, look at the bigger picture. I could not be here but I am. There’s always tomorrow.”
Sheena was an immigration lawyer before being diagnosed with thyroid cancer. During her cancer experience, she discovered poetry. She has now self-published her first book, runs an annual children’s poetry competition and has started her own support group for women.
Sheena said: “After being diagnosed with cancer, I realised that there's more to life than just you and your career. There are so many different avenues to take, and we shouldn't be scared to take them. Obviously, the path of cancer was given to me. I had no choice. I had to follow that through. But what came out of it was a deep love and appreciation for poetry.
“I'm one of the lucky ones. I have come out of the other end and gained something very positive. I've been given a new life. For me, cancer became a precious gift, and that gift was enveloped in poetry.”
To help demonstrate the huge progress that has been made thanks to advances in research, Yorkshire Cancer Research is calling on people in Yorkshire to explain what ‘more life’ means to them, from simple things that make up the ‘every day’, to being there for the big moments and special memories.
Dr Kathryn Scott, Chief Executive at Yorkshire Cancer Research, said: “This campaign demonstrates the true impact of cancer research, as told by those who have benefitted first hand.
“That's why we're inviting people across the region to come together to share their experiences. By getting involved they may inspire others.”