#LookSharpForRB with CHECT For RB Week (8th-14th May)

One child a week in the UK is diagnosed with retinoblastoma (Rb), a rare children’s eye cancer. This week, I’m joining @Chect_UK in encouraging parents to learn the signs and symptoms of Rb. Early detection is crucial so checking eyes really can save little lives. Visit @Chect_UK to learn what to look for and always #LookSharpForRb.

For RB week, CHECT have been aiming to raise awareness of childhood eye cancer. Their video on their Facebook page has been viewed thousands of times – you can view it below.


The girl in the video is Lavinia, who was diagnosed in November last year at the age of 8.5 months, when her mother noticed a squint and a white glow in Lavinia’s eye. Since she was diagnosed with Rb, Lavinia has had many rounds of chemotherapy. It is so important to raise awareness of the disease and how to spot it – 70% of children who develop eye cancer lose an eye so spotting it early is essential.

Please consider sharing the word. It is so so important to raise awareness. Thank you.


Alder Hey Children’s Hospital | Charity Campaign

Alder Hey and the University of Liverpool officially opened the first phase of a state-of-the-art dedicated research, education and innovation centre in March 2016. The new centre, built right next to Alder Hey’s new hospital, will position Alder Hey and Liverpool as an international leader in the development of safer and more effective medicines for children and young people throughout the world.

The unique Institute in the Park is a world-leading centre for research, with leading clinicians, healthcare professionals and scientists working in partnership with young patients and their families to produce remarkable life-saving and life-changing results.

The Institute in the Park is home to around 100 research, education and clinical staff and has facilities that no other UK or European children’s hospital can offer. Within this building, researchers and clinicians will work with industry to develop safer, better medicines and therapies for children to use in the NHS and throughout the world.

The world class facility also provides the perfect location for all Alder Hey’s teaching and training sessions, along with larger conferences and events. The building features two lecture theatres, a boardroom seating, a state-of-the art Library, dedicated e-learning suite and quiet study room. Video conferencing equipment enables Alder Hey to beam events, meetings and teaching seminars around the world and the facility has technology for live streaming from the hospital theatres.

Alder Hey Children’s Charity Appeal

Alder Hey Children’s Charity is raising vital funds to build the second phase of the Institute in the Park.

This appeal will allow the hospital to extend the current Institute building and develop even better treatments for children and young people. The second phase of the Centre will allow the hospital to double the space available to undertake world class research and innovation.

Building on the success of the completed phase of the building this second phase of construction will create a facility like no other, solely dedicated to children’s health research, innovation and education. Within this building, Alder Hey’s researchers and clinicians will continue to work with partners in academia, technology and pharmaceuticals to develop safer, better medicines and therapies for children to use in the NHS and throughout the world.

You can donate and help the appeal here – thanks for all that you can donate!

I only support charities I wholeheartedly believe in – I have not received remuneration for this post.

World Diabetes Day | Learn More About It

Diabetes is a disease that affects many members of my family, not least my father and sister. I’ve shared this infographic FOC to help us all recognise the different types, symptoms and other important things to do with the disease.

Today is World Diabetes Day and NRS Healthcare have created this fabulous infographic explaining diabetes. I find that it is quite often a completely misunderstood disease and it is important for people to learn all about it and be aware of the signs and symptoms in both themselves and others.


With my Dad being diagnosed four years ago after being undiagnosed for who knows how long (and having to have a toe amputated), raising awareness of diabetes is important to me. Some fab bloggers to follow who’ve talked about diabetes include A Cornish Mum and Actually Mummy and I applaud them in their attempts at raising awareness.

There’s so much so many of us don’t know about the disease and its important to educate ourselves and each other into what diabetes actually is.

Did you know everything mentioned on the infographic? Do you or someone you love have diabetes?

Blood Cancer: Collaboration is the Key to a Cure

I occasionally share charity posts FOC on my blog if the charity is something I support & believe in. I believe blood cancer certainly needs more awareness so have shared this post today for you all. I have not been compensated for this.


We’ve all heard the saying ‘it’s amazing what we can accomplish when we work together’, and blood cancer charity Bloodwise is proof that this approach can lead to incredible things. They have made phenomenal breakthroughs in treating blood cancer’s many forms, and they are proof that a collaborative attitude can change the world.

When the Eastwood family tragically lost daughter Susan at 6 years old to leukaemia, they decided to set up a blood cancer research charity in the hope that one day, no family would have to suffer the same loss. 50 years on, that charity is still working tirelessly to fund vital research, raise awareness, and offer invaluable support and advice to blood cancer patients and their families.

What is blood cancer?

To fully comprehend the importance of the work that Bloodwise does, we need to understand the role of blood in the human body. Blood is a liquid made of blood cells and plasma – the primary function of which is to transport nutrients, hormones, oxygen and waste around the body. Not only that, our blood also keeps us warm and cools us down, as well as protects us from disease.  If we cut ourselves, the platelets in our blood clot, which prevents us from losing a fatal amount of blood. At the same time, our bone marrow produces stem cells which allows the body to produce more blood after the existing blood cells have died.

So what is blood cancer? There are actually many different types that affect the blood, bone marrow and lymphatic system. The three main groups of blood cancer are leukaemia, lymphoma and myeloma, and they’re probably much more common than you think. Blood cancer is the fifth most common kind of cancer and the third biggest cancer killer in the UK. That means more people die from blood cancer every year than from breast or prostate cancer.

How is Bloodwise working with the healthcare industry to tackle all kinds of blood cancer?

Since they began, Bloodwise has invested over £500million in research, and the results have had a huge impact in the way blood cancer is diagnosed and treated. But they haven’t been able to do it alone; collaboration with the wider healthcare industry has been instrumental in achieving success.

Working with the NHS

The work Bloodwise does is of course closely linked to the NHS, and funding data collection is just one of the ways the two organisations work together. The Haematological Malignancy Research Network (HMRN) and researchers from the University of York work with 14 hospitals and a diagnostic service in Yorkshire to gather extensive data on people diagnosed with blood cancer. This data is made up of information on how patients are diagnosed and their treatment, and their lifestyle and socio-economic status. By combining such huge amounts of data, Bloodwise can identify specific areas in which they need to invest more in. Once they know what the problems are, they can start to find solutions.

In addition to this, Bloodwise works with the NHS Cancer Clinical Research Network through their Trials Acceleration Programme (TAP) to streamline clinical trials involving blood cancer treatment. This programme means clinical trials for blood cancer are managed efficiently, thanks to a centralised hub which handles the organisation and administration involved in setting up and running a clinical trial.

Working with pharmaceutical companies

Bloodwise has also worked with the companies that manufacture and market treatments through these TAP trials. Pharmaceutical companies have provided £90 million worth of drugs for use in these so they can fast track the journey from lab to patient.

It’s Bloodwise’s research that lays the groundwork for the development of these new drugs and then through their partnerships with the pharmaceutical companies they’re able to make these available to patients.

Working with other charities

In 2014 Bloodwise joined up with 6 other health research charities to form the Charity Open Access Fund. The aim of this partnership was to allow free and unrestricted access to published research so that anyone researching a cure would have immediate access to the most up-to-date information. The fund means knowledge is shared more widely, at a faster rate, and could lead to vital breakthroughs.

Thankfully, today’s prognosis for patients diagnosed with blood cancer is much more positive than it was when the Eastwood family started the charity over 50 years ago. It is thanks to the tireless research and collaborative efforts of charities like Bloodwise, the NHS, and the wider healthcare industry that survival rates have much improved, and that we are closer than ever to finding a cure. It really is amazing what we can accomplish when we work together…

Macmillan Coffee Morning – Brantano Have Joined!

I have published this press release free of charge due to personal experience with the charity Macmillan Cancer Support & the work that they do. I and my family owe a lot to them, their work is so important.

Shoe retailer Brantano will be taking part in the world’s biggest coffee morning in a bid to raise vital funds to help ensure no one faces the fight against cancer alone.  

Stores up and down the country will be opening their doors on Friday, September 30 from 9am with shoppers invited to chomp down on delicious cake and gulp down refreshing drinks, all in the name of Macmillan.

Karen Stanton, of Brantano, said: “The Coffee Morning initiative has grown and grown to be the biggest in the world, and it’s a privilege to be involved in this remarkable fundraising event.

“It’s for an amazing cause and we invite everyone to come in to our stores, meet the staff, enjoy some lovely cake and help us raise as much money as we can.”

The World’s Biggest Coffee Morning is hosted by charity Macmillan Cancer Support. Last year’s event raised £25 million.


Brantano aims to raise £40,000 for Macmillan Cancer Support, its chosen charity for this year.

Brantano offers a free fitting service, with staff trained by top brands such as Clarks, Start-Rite and Hush Puppies. With late opening hours at conveniently located stores, a hassle free expert fitting service and a wide range of shoes to suit all budgets, Brantano aims to make shoe shopping as easy and convenient as possible.

For more information on Brantano, go to Brantano.co.uk.  To find out more about Macmillan Cancer Support, visit macmillan.org.uk

About Macmillan Cancer Support

When you have cancer, you don’t just worry about what will happen to your body, you worry about what will happen to your life. Whether it’s concerns about who you can talk to, planning for the extra costs or what to do about work, at Macmillan we understand how a cancer diagnosis can take over everything.

That’s why we’re here. We provide support that helps people take back control of their lives. But right now, we can’t reach everyone who needs us. We need your help to make sure that people affected by cancer get the support they need to face the toughest fight of their life. No one should face cancer alone, and with your support no one will.

To get involved, call 0300 1000 200 today. And please remember, we’re here for you too. If you’d like support, information or just to chat, call us free on 0808 808 00 00 (Monday to Friday, 9am–8pm) or visit macmillan.org.uk