Christine started the annual fundraiser in 2017 when she and four friends rode to Paris to raise money for breast cancer support services – something she had benefited from following her own diagnosis in 2012.
Just months after the cycle, Christine learned her cancer had returned and had spread to her brain and her bones.
Christine said: “I’d always worried my cancer would come back, but I hadn’t really thought about how it would happen. It was hard to accept how one minute you were seemingly cancer-free, and the next you were facing an incurable disease that could progress at any stage.
“The more I learned about secondary breast cancer, the more I realised that this was where our fundraising should be going. In 20-30% of women diagnosed with early stage breast cancer, the disease later spreads to another part of the body – and my hope is that One More City will help find a way to give patients a longer life.”
Following her initial breast cancer diagnosis and successful treatment in 2012, Christine was shocked to discover that her cancer had spread to her brain in 2018. Thanks to palbociclib, Christine is now living well with cancer.
“A challenge for a challenge”
One More City have since focused their efforts on funding innovative research into secondary breast cancer. They have already funded a PhD student at Imperial College London, and 2020 marked their first year of raising funds for a new secondary breast cancer PhD studentship here at the ICR, in partnership with Imperial. The aim is to create and develop new treatment options for secondary breast cancer patients by bringing together the best resources and innovative research methods of two of the UK’s leading cancer research centres.
The goal of One More City is to cycle from one city to another, setting off each year from the city they finished in the year before. The team’s previous feats have seen them cycle from London to Paris in 2017, Paris to Amsterdam in 2018, and Amsterdam to Strasbourg in 2019.
The outbreak of coronavirus meant that the cycle from Strasbourg to Salzburg planned for 2020 had to be postponed until 2021. Christine and the team adapted their plans and decided to organise a UK-based event instead. Through steely determination and careful planning they were able to ensure a safe and successful event, under exceptionally challenging circumstances. You can read more about their endeavours in this blog.
Christine said: “Our rides are a challenge for a challenge. Secondary cancer is unpredictable. It’s common for recurrent breast cancers to develop resistance to drugs, and this narrows down the treatment options that are available for patients.
“We are hoping to find new ways to treat the disease”
Dr Rachael Natrajan, who heads the Breast Cancer Functional Genomics team at the ICR. She and her team are currently investigating how changes to genes help breast cancer spread and develop resistance to treatment.
Rachael says: “Thanks to advances in research, more people with secondary breast cancer are now living longer, and better quality, lives. But the knowledge that cancer can develop resistance to treatment is a constant fear for many. By working to understand the molecular make-up of different subtypes of breast cancer, as well as the genetic diversity of cancer cells in breast tumours that are likely to spread and develop resistance, we are hoping to find new ways to treat the disease.
“We’re really excited to be partnering with One More City. With their support, we hope to be able to deliver new treatments for secondary breast cancer patients and give them the opportunity to live the lives they want.”
You can support the One More City campaign via the One More City JustGiving page.