More of us, One Voice and Tom Parker

3 min read

Well, what a week since my last update.

Just after compiling the weekly campaigning round up, we posted our weekly e-news to our supporter database.

It was about our campaigning and in particular about lobbying for some of the money for early stage researchers promised by BEIS ( catch up on that story here). We asked anyone getting the e-news to get in touch if they wanted to be added to our campaigning database – the one you are all on so that you receive these updates. Well that opened the floodgates and what a wonderful response. We added so many new campaigners from all over the country. Well over 70% of UK constituencies now have a Brain Tumour Research campaigner living in them. That means over 70% of MPs will be getting emails and letters calling for them to support Brain Tumour Research and the APPGBT. What a momentum we are building together and for those of you who are receiving your first weekly campaigning update – welcome!

There was no rest on Saturday as we joined the cancer community speaking with one voice

Alongside 50 cancer charities we signed a letter to the Prime Minister, Chancellor of the Exchequer and Secretary of State for Health and Social Care detailing actions that the Government must take at the forthcoming Comprehensive Spending Review (CSR). This letter was reported in the Daily Mail on Saturday and can be read in full here.

As a group of 51 cancer charities, we spoke with One Cancer Voice to ask the Government to help improve outcomes for cancer patients in the forthcoming Spending Review by:

  • Growing the cancer workforce and investing in kit to meet patient needs and drive innovation to provide better care
  • Levelling-up on cancer to address socioeconomic factors which mean poorer communities are disproportionately affected by cancer and strengthening investment in cancer research and development
  • Strengthening investment in cancer research and development

The CSR presents an opportunity for the Government to turn the corner on cancer. To establish the UK as world-beating in cancer survival and care, and to build a life-saving legacy that will be remembered by, and benefit, generations to come.

We are proud of the part we are playing in this, and other, collaborative initiatives. It is crucial that we campaign and lobby alongside other cancer charities to improve options, outcomes and the cancer experience for all of those diagnosed with a disease that affects every family across the UK and that 1 in 2 of us will get in our lifetime.

On Sunday evening there was the transmission on Channel 4 of the extraordinary and emotional Channel 4 documentary ‘Tom Parker: Inside My Head’. The film recorded Tom’s thoughts, feelings and experiences following his brain tumour diagnosis and up to the reformation of his band The Wanted, at a never-to-be-forgotten show at the Royal Albert Hall in London.

Brain Tumour Research, and a number of our supporters, were fortunate to be able to attend this event courtesy of Channel 4.

We also met Tom at Westminster and were very pleased to introduce him to the Chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Brain Tumours (APPGBT), Derek Thomas MP.

As Derek wrote on his Facebook page on Sunday: “In the summer I was humbled and privileged to meet with Tom Parker. Tom has been an incredible and timely boost to our work and I’m full of admiration that this is how he chooses to spend each day he is gifted with.”

Tom has expressed a desire to campaign to raise awareness of the need for greater funding into research into brain tumours and was due to speak to the APPGBT at the last meeting of the Group in July. Sadly, he was unwell that day but he has since met with members of the APPGBT, as well as Derek, and we look forward to working with Tom and supporting his lobbying for better research funding.

Tom’s voice has a massive reach, as last Sunday’s film showed. At Brain Tumour Research we will do what we can to amplify that voice to the Parliamentarians who can deliver real change for our community.

On Tuesday I had the opportunity to share with my Brain Tumour Research colleagues all about our campaigning at a team day. Whilst preparing my presentation I had a chance to reflect on an amazing year and look forward with optimism to a new year of hard work and ambition. It is really important that the whole team buy into our campaigning culture as it is so central to who we are. In February of this year I wrote a blog about  the culture at Brain Tumour Research  - if you are new to us then please do read it – it will help you to understand why we do what we do. At Brain Tumour Research we are interdependent on each other whether we are campaigners, fundraisers, looking after supporters or telling their stories, we are united in a common vision to do our best on the pathway to our vision - to find a cure for all types of brain tumours      

The House of Commons is in recess and will return on Monday 18th October so it hasn’t been the busiest political week but that will change because we kick off next week meeting up with Derek Thomas. One notable piece of campaigning this week was that one of our most loyal and passionate campaigners sent over the e-news mentioned at the beginning of this update to her MP who responded immediately that she would make representations to the Chancellor regarding support for us from the BEIS fund.

That made my day, which was mentioned at the team day and impressed team members immensely, I am mentioning it now as I hope it provides an example of what we can do now that we have a campaigning community and feel empowered. Our only limit is our own ambition, energy and desire for change and I don’t think that will waver for a second not mine, not the team’s and not our wonderful, and growing, team of campaigners.

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