LADY ELSIE MEETS BRAVE YOUNG FUNDRAISER

Eight-year-old Elizabeth and 17-year-old sister Jaimee-Leigh Ridley from South Shields lost their dad Charles to cancer just three years ago.

In a cruel double blow, Elizabeth and Jaimee-Leigh then lost their mum, also called Elizabeth, to leukaemia in June this year.

In memory of her mum, and with the help of her large family, young Elizabeth then decided to make a collection at school for the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation to help other people fighting the disease.

Lady Elsie was pleased to receive a cheque for the charity for £303 from Elizabeth at the Northern Centre for Cancer Care in Newcastle.

Lady Elsie says: “I was proud to receive Elizabeth’s cheque on behalf of the Foundation and I’m very grateful to her family and everyone who has contributed.

“She’s obviously a very brave young lady and this is an extremely thoughtful way to remember her mum and help other people with cancer too.”

Elizabeth and Jaimee-Leigh’s dad, Charles Ridley, a former butcher, died aged 60.  After his death Elizabeth also helped raise funds for cancer research.

Elizabeth says: “I just wanted to do something special for my mum, just like I had for my dad. Everyone was very kind.”

Elizabeth Ridley, 53, was a former shopkeeper and died in June at the Freeman Hospital in Newcastle after fighting leukaemia.

In 2010, the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation provided £20,000 to the Leukaemia Research Cytogenetics Group to buy a state-of-the-art microscope to help with research into leukaemia and which could have implications for other types of cancer too.

The Olympus BHX6 fluorescence microscope is connected to a highly sophisticated image analysis system and is making a big difference to the Group’s research according to Christine Harrison, Professor of Childhood Cancer Cytogenetics.

Christine, who is based at the Royal Victoria Infirmary in Newcastle, says: “We know that genes within the bone marrow cells of patients with leukaemia and other cancers become ‘faulty’.  With this microscope funded by the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation we can detect these faulty genes and determine the type of leukaemia that the patient has.

“More importantly, the particular gene fault indicates how well the patient will respond to treatment and the treatment offered to the patient is changed accordingly.  These changes to therapy have improved survival rates, particularly for children.

“And because the research of the Leukaemia Research Cytogenetics Group, using this microscope, is focussed on the discovery of new faulty genes, that will lead to new and less toxic treatment for patients with all types of cancer.

“We’re extremely grateful to the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation and fund raisers for providing us with this microscope which has improved our research output for the benefit of cancer patients.”

Sir Bobby and Lady Elsie launched the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation in 2008 and it has gone on to raise over £4 million to help find more effective treatments for cancer.

It funds projects within the Newcastle upon Tyne Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust that directly benefit cancer patients from across the north east and Cumbria, and which contribute significantly to international research into the disease.

To make a donation, view messages of support, or for more information please visit www.sirbobbyrobsonfoundation.org.uk or donate by sending a cheque to Sir Bobby Robson Foundation, Room 203, Cheviot Court, Freeman Hospital, Newcastle upon Tyne NE7 7DN.