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ICR family charity partner celebrated in King’s Birthday Honours List


Chris Lucas standing between his parents, Lynn and Lynn Lucas. They are all smiling and have their arms around each others' shoulders

Image: Chris Lucas with his parents, Lynn and Lynn Lucas

The Institute of Cancer Research, London, congratulates the founders of the Chris Lucas Trust, our family charity partner, who are among those recognised in The King’s Birthday Honours List.

Lynn and Lynn Lucas, who set up the Chris Lucas Trust after their son died of a rare soft tissue cancer in 2000, have both received a Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) in honour of their dedication to fundraising.

Chris Lucas was diagnosed with rhabdomyosarcoma at the age of 15. Despite twice battling back from the disease, achieving great GCSE results and starting a career in graphic design, Chris died three years later.

We are world-leaders in the study of cancer in children, teenagers and young adults. We are so grateful for the generous support of our family charity partners, who drive forward our research immeasurably.

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Supporting innovative research

Over the last two decades, the Chris Lucas Trust has raised more than £2 million to fund research into rhabdomyosarcoma, which primarily affects children, teenagers and adults below the age of 35.

Among their fundraising achievements, Chris’ parents established the Great North Bike Ride in 2000, an annual flagship fundraising event which sees around 2,000 cyclists pedal approximately 60 miles along the North Northumberland coastline.

In recent years, funding from the Trust has supported innovative work by Professor Janet Shipley and her team at The Institute of Cancer Research (ICR), who collaborate closely with colleagues at The Royal Marsden NHS Foundation Trust. Professor Shipley is working to identify new ways to treat young people with aggressive rhabdomyosarcoma, which may involve using existing drugs that are effective in treating other types of cancer as well as discovering completely new drugs.

Specifically, the Trust has helped Professor Shipley’s lab develop a genetic test that helps clinicians determine which patients have a high risk of aggressive disease and need more intensive treatment. It also funds biopsy samples from children with rhabdomyosarcoma living across Europe, which are crucial in allowing scientists to make progress in the lab and work towards improving outcomes for people with this cancer.

This year’s Great North Bike Ride will take place on Sunday 25 August 2024. If you would like to take part and raise vital funds for our childhood cancer research, register now.

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“All we want is to make a difference”

Chris Lucas

Image: Chris Lucas

In a joint statement, Lynn and Lynn Lucas, founders of the Chris Lucas Trust, said:

“To be recognised by the King’s Birthday Honours is, at the moment, overwhelming – all we want is to make a difference to find better treatments.

“We were a normal working family until our lives were changed forever after our first-born Christopher’s diagnosis of a rare cancer which took him from us. Rhabdomyosarcoma is hard to say, can be so hard to diagnose and harder to treat – there is no cure.”

“This recognition means the world to us and all our close family and friends who still support what we do. Parents should never outlive their children.”

Nicola Shaw, Charity Partnerships Manager at The Institute of Cancer Research, said:

“We offer our heartfelt congratulations to Lynn and Lynn Lucas MBE. Their support of rhabdomyosarcoma research here at the ICR has been transformative over more than 15 years.

“Immeasurable progress has been made possible thanks to their tireless work. We are immensely proud of them, and of our partnership with the Chris Lucas Trust.”

Professor Janet Shipley, Leader of the Sarcoma Molecular Pathology Group at The Institute of Cancer Research, said:

“I am delighted to hear that Lynn and Lynn have been awarded MBEs, which I believe are truly well-deserved.

“I first met them more than 15 years ago and have since been humbled and inspired by their incredible commitment to tirelessly rallying support for research into rhabdomyosarcoma. The Chris Lucas Trust that they established in memory of their son has enabled ground-breaking research at the ICR.

“Over the years, we have been able to identify molecular markers of high-risk cancer in patients with rhabdomyosarcoma and to define less toxic and more bespoke potential treatments for these patients. Through clinical research, this is now undoubtedly making a difference to the usually young people who develop this rare type of cancer.” 

We are striving to improve the lives of people with all types of cancer – including those with the most challenging to treat. With your support today, we can continue to make more discoveries, find more cures, and save more lives.

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childhood cancer rhabdomyosarcoma Chris Lucas Trust Professor Janet Shipley
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