A key priority for TeamLuke is funding research that will improve the diagnosis and treatment of childhood cancer - and ultimately prevent it. In their quest to fulfil this aim, TeamLuke is supporting the research of Professor Louis Chesler, Head of the ICR’s Centre for Paediatric Oncology Experimental Medicine.
They have pledged an incredible £15,000 per year towards a Senior Staff Scientist post in Professor Chesler’s team. This vital role is overseeing and driving forward the team’s exciting project portfolio including translational research which will lead to smarter and kinder treatments for children.
“He inspires everything we do”
Luke Bell was a typical young boy. He loved gaming, rugby, school, playing with his friends and most of all spending time with his family (mum, dad and big sis Alysha). He was incredibly active and full of energy, so it came as a surprise when he started to become tired very easily in early 2017. After reports from his school of him falling asleep in lessons he was taken to his GP. Initially the changes were thought to be anaemia or growing pains. Feeling that there was more to the situation his family pushed for a blood test. They were soon summoned to Darlington Memorial Hospital for further investigation. There they were told that there were cancerous cells in Luke’s blood. Following surgery and tests Luke was diagnosed with high risk neuroblastoma – a cancer of the developing nervous system.
Luke commenced a gruelling course of treatments, including high-dose chemotherapy, extensive surgery to remove the tumour, radiotherapy and immunotherapy. Unfortunately routine tests in spring 2018 showed that Luke had relapsed. In September he was accepted onto a clinical trial but tests as part of this trial revealed that the cancer had spread aggressively through Luke’s body. His family received the devastating news that the cancer was terminal.
Determined not to give in, Luke was accepted on to a clinical trial in Barcelona due to start in January. Sadly, Luke never made it to Barcelona. He passed away on 23rd December 2018.
Luke’s dad Mark says: “The TeamLuke Foundation was set up to create a legacy for Luke and is very much in the spirit of his personality. Luke was very inquisitive and had a great interest in the treatment he was going through. He was also a very helpful boy, who didn’t like to see any sadness or suffering. He inspires everything we do.”
Professor Louis Chesler says: "The generous support of TeamLuke Foundation will have a tremendous impact on our neuroblastoma research. My team and I are proud and humbled to be working with TeamLuke to improve the outlook for children with cancer, in Luke’s name and memory."