A scientist who studies a rare form of childhood cancer is joining a 60 mile cycle ride through Northumberland in support of the charity which has funded her research for more than ten years.
In her lab at The Institute of Cancer Research, London, Professor Janet Shipley carries out pioneering research into rhabdomyosarcoma – a rare cancer which particularly affects children and teenagers.
Professor Shipley’s work is generously supported by the Chris Lucas Trust, a charity set up by Lynn and Lynn Lucas in memory of their son Chris, who sadly died of the disease in 2000, aged just 18.
To give back to the charity, Professor Shipley is now preparing to take part in their flagship annual fundraising event, the Great North Bike Ride, on 25 August, ahead of the start of Childhood Cancer Awareness Month in September.
To support Professor Janet Shipley and donate to the Chris Lucas Trust to enable more pioneering work into rhabdomyosarcoma, please visit her JustGiving page.
Over £1.5 million raised
Originally from Newcastle herself, Professor Shipley will be joining around 2,000 other cyclists on a 60 mile route that runs along the stunning Northumberland coastline, finishing in Tynemouth.
Professor Shipley took part in the London to Brighton ride many years ago, and she has been occasionally cycling to and from work – which she hopes will stand her in good stead for the Great North Bike Ride.
She has already raised more than £1,000 and hopes to raise even more in aid of research into rhabdomyosarcoma – a cancer that rarely occurs in adults, but accounts for 7 per cent of all childhood cancers.
The Chris Lucas Trust has so far raised more than £1.5 million for research into rhabdomyosarcoma at The Institute of Cancer Research (ICR).
New trial for rhabdomyosarcoma patients
With the support of the Chris Lucas Trust, Professor Shipley’s lab
at the ICR has already developed a genetic test to better classify rhabdomyosarcoma patients into low and high risk groups that decide treatment intensity.
This year marks the planned opening of a new international clinical trial for rhabdomyosarcoma patients in the UK and other countries – incorporating some of the lab’s research findings funded by the Chris Lucas Trust.
The lab is working to identify new ways to treat young patients with more aggressive disease. This includes examining drugs that are currently used to treat other types of cancer, to see if they could also be used to treat children and young people with rhabdomyosarcoma.
The Great North Bike Ride started with six cyclists taking part in 2000, and has now grown into the Chris Lucas Trust’s flagship annual fundraising event, raising more than £100,000 in aid of rhabdomyosarcoma research each year.
Professor Janet Shipley, who leads the Sarcoma Molecular Pathology Team
at the ICR, said: “I am joining the Great North Bike Ride this year to show our huge appreciation for the incredible support we have received from the Chris Lucas Trust over the years.
“It has been truly inspiring and very humbling to know and work with Lynn and Lynn, who have been tireless in their efforts to raise money for our research into rhabdomyosarcoma, the disease that led to the tragic death of their son Chris.
“I hope I can in some small way give back to the Chris Lucas Trust, which is dedicated to raising as much money as possible to make a difference and find better treatments to combat rhabdomyosarcoma.”
Lynn Lucas set up the Chris Lucas Trust together with her husband Lynn in memory of their son Chris, who died of rhabdomyosarcoma in 2000 after he was diagnosed with the cancer in 1997. She said:
“During our son’s illness and after our loss we found that there was limited funding for childhood cancers and even less for rhabdomyosarcoma. We’re proud to have been able to support Professor Janet Shipley’s research for many years now and see how her work has advanced so that it can help children and young people who are diagnosed with this horrible cancer in the future.
“Our Great North Bike Ride has kept growing since it was started in our son Chris’s memory in 2000. We feel honoured to have Janet, one of the world’s leading sarcoma scientists, taking part in the event this year.”