10 Nov ESSEX CANCER SURVIVOR DEDICATES AWARD TO FATHER-IN-LAW AFTER EARNING NATIONAL PRAISE FOR CHARITY WORK
A Cancer Research UK volunteer from Chelmsford has been honoured for his outstanding contribution to the cause. Paul Blacketer, 47, received a special commendation in the Ambassador of the Year category at the charity’s Flame of Hope Awards. The annual awards acknowledge remarkable efforts in fundraising and volunteering made by people from all walks of life.
Paul, a former firefighter, was diagnosed with acute myeloid leukaemia in 2007 and has been a passionate supporter of Cancer Research UK for 10 years. He dedicated his award to his father-in-law who died on Oct 13th after he was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer just seven months ago. Paul said the 77-year-old retired managing director, from Brentwood, was tremendously proud of his work in the fight against cancer and wanted him to continue raising cancer awareness after his death.
Paul, who received a national commendation in recognition of his outstanding contribution to the cause, knows how crucial research is to saving lives as he currently attends hospital for regular blood tests – while taking a drug which was partially developed by Cancer Research UK.
He said: “I can confidently say that I owe my life to the work of Cancer Research UK scientists. They carried out the early genetics work that underpinned the development of Glivec, which is an effective treatment not just against leukaemia but also against certain rare stomach cancers as well. We are all touched by this dreadful disease at some stage in our lives and I’m truly grateful for the research that has helped me and others fight cancer. My father-in-law battled bravely but sadly he succumbed to this dreadful disease, which makes me more committed than ever to get the message out that we must continue researching new ways to prevent, diagnose and treat cancer.
“Cancer has had had terrible impact on my family but it’s important that we don’t give up and I know Ian would have wanted me to speak on his behalf and I would like to dedicate this award to him.”
Paul became a volunteer after he was diagnosed with cancer, aged just 34. He has reached out to hundreds and thousands of people with his media work including giving speeches at Cancer Research UK events and Downing Street policy meetings. He has also appeared numerous times on TV and radio and shared his story to help motivate fundraisers at Cancer Research UK events up and down the country.
He was among a total of 181 individuals and groups from all across the UK recognised by the Flame of Hope awards. The awards ceremony in London, hosted by Cancer Research UK’s chairman, Sir Leszek Borysiewicz, had to be cancelled this year to protect the country’s health during the COVID-19 outbreak.
The pandemic has caused a devastating loss of funding for cancer research. Following the cancellation of fundraising events like Race for Life, Cancer Research UK is expecting a staggering £160 million drop in income in the year ahead. As a result, the charity has made the difficult decision to cut £44 million in research funding.