Patient Care

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The Banks Group Select Bright Red As 2018 Charity Of The Year

Staff at North East property and energy firm The Banks Group have chosen to adopt a regional cancer charity as their new dedicated fundraising cause.

Having raised £12,000 for The Alzheimer’s Society last year, employees at the Durham headquartered, family-owned firm have now voted to raise money for Bright Red throughout 2018.

Bright Red supports people across the north of England who are dealing with a wide range of blood cancers, such as leukaemias, lymphomas and myelomas, as well as other less common conditions.

It was nominated by David Wilson, a member of the company’s ICT team who was diagnosed with multiple myelomas in 2014 and subsequently treated at the Freeman Hospital in Newcastle, where Bright Red is headquartered.

David, who is from Darlington, received two successful bone marrow transplants in 2015 and is now in clinical remission. He has since done his own fundraising work in support of Bright Red, collecting around £1,000 so far.

He says: “Bright Red’s work has a direct impact on the patients in the ward where I received my treatment, where many of them have to spend considerable lengths of time in isolation, and they’ve been responsible for the refurbishment and improvement of a lot of its rooms.

“Creating a better environment can improve patients and their families’ experience at what are obviously very difficult times, and the fundraising work I’ve previously done was a small way of saying thank you for the difference it made to us.

“Having my colleagues choose to support Bright Red this year is fantastic news, and we’ve already spoken to them about a couple of new project ideas that this fundraising drive could help them bring to fruition.”

Bright Red works to help create the best possible treatment environments for patients with blood cancers and their families, to assist in the education of healthcare professionals who focus on treating these conditions and to promote world-leading research into the treatment of leukaemia, lymphoma, myeloma and bone marrow failures.

Care grants are awarded to projects taking place in any haematology unit across the region which will have a positive impact for many patients, such as the long-term funding of a Bright Red Outreach at the Northern Centre for Cancer Care, while Lee Robson Patient Care Grants, which are named in memory of the charity’s first ambassador, are one off monetary awards given to patients in most need of financial assistance.

Staff from across Banks’ different businesses and locations will be undertaking a range of fundraising activities throughout the year, such as workplace lunches, dress down days, raffles and cake bakes, as well as participation in a number of different sporting and activity-related challenges.

More than £50,000 has been raised in total over the last five years for the Banks employees’ chosen charities, which have also included The Tiny Lives Trust, Leukaemia & Lymphoma Research and Integrating Children.

Sara Ellis, who is a member of The Banks Group’s charity fundraising committee, adds: “The types of blood cancer that Bright Red focuses on impact on the lives of thousands of families across our region, and the charity’s work is invaluable both to them and the medical staff leading the drive to find ever better treatments.

“Our employees always give their whole-hearted commitment to the good causes that they choose to adopt, and we know that the fundraising activities that are lined up so far for 2018 will be extremely well supported.”

Mark Thompson, chair of Bright Red and chief executive at Ryder Architecture, says: “Everyone at Bright Red is over the moon to be embarking on a partnership with The Banks Group team.

“As a relatively small, regional charity we heavily rely on the goodwill of the local community, so to receive support from an organization as well regarded as Banks means a great deal to us. The partnership will undoubtedly go a long way in supporting cancer patients in our region.’

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Complementary Therapy at the Northern Centre for Cancer Care

For the sixth year in a row Bright Red has provided funding to the Complementary Therapy Service at the Northern Centre for Cancer Care. The team of qualified therapists use gentle touch and relaxation techniques to achieve calming responses. These can evoke a sense of well-being which may help patients cope with some of the stresses caused by cancer and its treatment.

Every year we receive an evaluation from the team, and every year we are filled with a deep sense of pride, seeing just how valuable the service is. It is such a privilege to support such a hard working, dedicated team.

2017 Evaluation & Feedback

  • During 2017 nearly 2,670 (2,666) therapies were provided for patients in wards 33, 34, 35, 36 and the Sir Bobby Robson clinical trials unit, as well as a number of out-patients and patients attending for radiotherapy, who were particularly anxious.
  • Over 2,940 (2,942) patients received aromatherapy tissues, either alongside another therapy, or as a standalone therapy for the patients to have on the unit and to take home with them to aid relaxation. This figure continues to increase each year.
  • 100% of the surveyed patients rated the service as “10” the equivalent to excellent.
  • 100 % of the patients responded that they would recommend the service to other patients. One patient added “everyone”.
  • This much needed space is also used for anxious pre-treatment patients on the day of their treatment and by mobile in-patients who feel a short break from the ward environment would be beneficial (with ward staff approval).
  • We have also used this calming environment in collaboration with medical staff for very anxious patients who required NG Tube procedures with complementary therapy pre-procedure. Chemotherapy anticipatory nausea patients and on several occasions with the Sir Bobby Robson Team for high blood pressure (white coat syndrome) patients, which have proved very beneficial.
  • The team can now deliver improved out-patient access to the service ensuring equality to all NCCC patients.
  • Demand for the Therapy Room continues to increase each week and could eventual have its own diary if staffing and funding allowed in the future.
  • Collaboration with NCCC Physiotherapy Team has continued this year as part of their physiotherapy and occupational therapy student placement we now provide an introduction to complementary therapies within a clinical setting demonstrating how the services can work in harmony and the benefits which can be provided for patients. Feedback has been very positive and we believe we are the only directorate to offer this introduction.

‘The service really helped me at a time when I most needed it. Talking about my feelings and learning techniques to help proved invaluable.’

‘The service provides an extremely vital therapy both during and after cancer treatment’

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Bright Red Secures £10,000 of National Lottery Funding

We are delighted to share the news that we have recently secured £10,000 of National Lottery Funding to help with the creation of our ‘Fighting Blood Cancer’ App, which will be made in collaboration with local charity Anxious Minds.
As part of our ongoing commitment to making the north the best place for blood cancer patients, we felt it was vital that we looked for something to help a growing issue with patients – anxiety. Anxiety can be a difficult issue to address. Mental health issues is an area which is seriously underfunded across the board, so patients who need help are often waiting for a few days to be seen, other patients are not able to attend support groups. This means that often the opportunity to help patients can be lost, and anxiety can escalate.
What we want to do with the app is bridge the gap, and help patients build skills and reduce anxiety on their own, until they can be supported further. We also hope that by introducing this we will be able to encourage users to be more open to the idea of seeking help for anxiety and signpost them to specialist support groups when they are well enough.
We are excited to get started on this project!

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Freemasons Support Bright Red

Bright Red is one of only 300 charities across England and Wales invited to apply for a grant of up to £25,000 to celebrate the launch of the Masonic Charitable Foundation and the 300th anniversary of the United Grand Lodge of England.

We recently caught up with Phil Sanderson, one of our wonderful Ambassadors and the gentleman responsible for putting us forward for this award. We were delighted to meet some of his brethren, and learn more about how they’re helping secure votes for Bright Red.

You still have time to vote for us and we really need your help spreading the word.

You can now cast your vote via : https://mcf.org.uk/region/northumberland/

In case you are not aware, we will be using funds raised from this donation to expand our Lee Robson Patient Care Grant provision. We currently restrict these grants to the Northern Centre for Cancer Care, however there has long been a need to make them available right across our region.

It is estimated that 77% of blood cancer patients experience some financial hardship – this is largely due to a drop in income at a time when outgoings often increase. Due to the sheer size of our region, meaning longer journeys to and from hospital, and the high unemployment rates, things can often be very difficult for patients in the north.

Our last grant was given to a 27-year-old patient with terminal blood cancer. The patient is now unable to leave the hospital and the family need to drive for 70 miles to attend the Freeman Hospital. A 140-mile trip. The cost soon adds up – so it’s vital that we help this family maintain visits at this precious time.
This is one recent example, out of hundreds, to show just how important these grants are.

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Please vote for us & help Bright Red secure £25,000

Bright Red is one of only 300 charities across England and Wales invited to apply for a grant of up to £25,000 to celebrate the launch of the Masonic Charitable Foundation and the 300th anniversary of the United Grand Lodge of England.

You can now cast your vote via : https://mcf.org.uk/region/northumberland/

We will be using funds raised from this donation to expand our Lee Robson Patient Care Grant provision. We currently restrict these grants to the Northern Centre for Cancer Care, however there has long been a need to make them available right across our region.

It is estimated that 77% of blood cancer patients experience some financial hardship – this is largely due to a drop in income at a time when outgoings often increase. Due to the sheer size of our region, meaning longer journeys to and from hospital, and the high unemployment rates, things can often be very difficult for patients in the north.

Just last week we authorised a grant for a 27-year-old patient with terminal blood cancer. The patient is now unable to leave the hospital and the family need to drive for 70 miles to attend the Freeman Hospital. A 140-mile trip. The cost soon adds up – so it’s vital that we help this family maintain visits at this precious time.

This is one recent example, out of hundreds, to show just how important these grants are.

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Can you help us win £25,000?

Bright Red  is one of only 300 charities across England and Wales invited to apply for a grant of up to £25,000 to celebrate the launch of the Masonic Charitable Foundation and the 300th anniversary of the United Grand Lodge of England.

Voting opened on 12 June and will close on the 31 July. It only takes a minute to cast you vote and you can do so via : https://mcf.org.uk/region/northumberland/

We will be using funds raised from this donation to expand our Lee Robson Patient Care Grant provision. We currently restrict these grants to the Northern Centre for Cancer Care, however there has long been a need to make them available right across our region.

It is estimated that 77% of blood cancer patients experience some financial hardship – this is largely due to a drop in income at a time when outgoings often increase. Due to the sheer size of our region, meaning longer journeys to and from hospital, and the high unemployment rates, things can often be very difficult for patients in the north.

We really need your help to secure as many votes as possible! Please encourage your friends, family and colleagues to vote too.

https://mcf.org.uk/region/northumberland/

 

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Santander Support Bright Red

We want to say a huge thank you to Santander for supporting our new project ‘Managing Finances Through Cancer’. The Santander Community Fund recently donated £5,000 towards the project, which will enable us to host several courses right across our region.

We look forward to sharing more information with you all shortly.

Valentine Raffle

Our good friends at Daniel Farmshop in Wylam are hosting a Valentine’s Raffle to raise funds for us.

If you’ve ever been there you’ll know how fantastic the place is – if you haven’t been, you’re missing out!

Top prize is a Fenwicks spirit hamper worth over £100, runners up prizes include £50 gift hamper, £30 Meat voucher, Afternoon Tea for Two and a box of chocolates.

Tickets are £1 each. The draw takes place on Tuesday 14 February at noon.

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58th ASH Annual Meeting & Exposition

The 58th American Society of Hematology Meeting & Exposition took place over the 3rd – 6th December. We were delighted to be able to support Carmela Ciardullo with a Bright Red travel grant.

Carmela is a Research Associate at the Northern Insitute for Cancer Research, and was invited to present her abstract focusing on Chronic Lymphocytic Leukaemia.

Carmela said “ASH 2016 was an invaluable experience with thousands of delegates attending and numerous high quality oral and poster presentations. The excellent education program provided an opportunity to learn about research outside my normal field of interest and the scientific committee sessions as always provided up to the minute insights into a range of topics.

Of particular interest to me were both oral and poster presentations regarding novel MDM2 antagonists as a treatment options for patients with haematological malignancies. Christian Klein from Roche Innovation Center Zurich discussed their preclinical data demonstrating a strong anti-tumoral efficacy of combining the CD20 antibody obinutuzumab with the Bcl-2 inhibitor venetoclax and the MDM2 inhibitor RG7388. Their data showed that the triple combination of obinutuzumab with venetoclax and RG7388 can further improve outcome in two preclinical human wildtype p53 NHL tumor xenograft models, in particular regarding complete tumor remissions and long term response, and support the clinical investigation of this triple combination for the treatment of B cell malignancies.

Another study by William Pierceall showed that multiparametric flow cytometry MRD assessment is an early indication aligning with cCR in relapsed/refractory AML patients treated with RG7388. Further, assessment for association with progression-free survival indicated that the lowest quartile patients by MRD flow cytometry measurement (<1%) are likely to exhibit a pronounced survival benefit over those patients with higher detectable levels of MRD (>1%). As such, the data presented support inclusion of MRD assessment by flow cytometry as a prognostic indicator to provide guiding information for assignment of depth of AML patient response. This biomarker for diagnostic potential and prognostic indicator of survival-based outcomes should be monitored in future randomized clinical studies of RG7388.

Another study from MD Anderson Cancer Center reported the initial results of a Phase I trial aimed at characterizing the safety, tolerability, pharmacokinetic (PK), and pharmacodynamic (PD) profiles and preliminary efficacy of the MDM2 antagonist DS3032b in in patients with hematological malignancies.

However, a clinical challenge is that not all the tumors bearing wild-type TP53 are sensitive to MDM2 inhibition. In this respect, a group from MDM Anderson Cancer Center discovered novel gene profiling-based algorithms for predicting tumor sensitivity to MDM2 inhibition using DS-3032b, a novel potent MDM2 inhibitor, which is currently in early clinical trials.

Of particular interest to me were the presentations regarding novel treatment options for patients with chronic lymphocytic leukemia, as well as the numerous updates on CLL genomics and epigenomics. I also had the amazing opportunity to present my abstract entitled “The p53-MDM2 Antagonist RG7388 Activates p53 and Induces a Predominantly Pro-Apoptotic Gene Expression Signature in Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia” and I had useful and positive feedback.

Overall ASH 2016 was an excellent experience. Many thanks to Bright Red for the Travel Award and for supporting my participation to this meeting.”

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Funds Raised In Memory Of Ken Stoker

screen-shot-2016-12-12-at-16-05-28We were deeply saddened to learn that Ken Stoker passed away recently.

Ken was a very brave man and extremely well thought of by everyone at the Freeman Hospital.

Ken’s family recently presented Bright Red with a cheque for £1,525. This sum was raised through donations given at Ken’s funeral. It’s a real testament to his character that so many of his friends and family gave so generously.

Our thoughts are with his family and friends at this difficult time.

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