After a glass of fizz on the Riverside Terrace of Westminster Palace, Senior Trustee Michael Douglas welcomed our guests and invited them to dinner in Dining Room A. Once everyone was seated, Michael introduced our guest speakers: Mr Prakash Sinha, Consultant Oncoplastic Breast and Endocrine Surgeon; Dr Shireen Kassam, Consultant Haematologist for lymphoma and cancer of the lymphatic system; Natalie Reilly, The Chartwell Cancer Trust and Rachel Rogan, Lily Pad Appeal.

After dinner, Michael gave a brief history of The Chartwell Cancer Trust and explained how a fundraising initiative to cover the cost of an extra Health Care Assistant in the treatment suite of The Princess Royal University Hospital, had grown into a charity providing a range of support for NHS services in the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Woolwich, Croydon University Hospital, King’s College Hospital, Guy’s Hospital and St Thomas’ Hospital, as well as The PRUH.

After talking about our various fundraising initiatives, Michael then introduced Natalie who expressed our thanks to the many guests who had done so much for us. In particular, thanks went to Tricia Sheehan and Oliver Newick from the Bond Bryan Team, Neil and Michelle and the amazing customers of The Swan in West Wickham, Angela and all from the Jaguar Enthusiasts’ Club, and Adjoa from the Laptops and Lipstick women’s Network Group. As Natalie finished, guest Jeffrey Quirke announced a £5,000 donation from a society that both he and Michael were part of. This announcement drew a round of applause and Michael thanked Jeffrey.

Dr Shireen Kassam was then introduced; she thanked Michael and The CCT team for inviting her to speak, and thanked everyone for making her feel very special! Shireen gave us a detailed look into the working practices of a Senior Consultant and explained how progress in medicine was improving the success rate for many patients. She then spoke about a subject that she is passionate about, the health benefits of a whole food plant based diet (featured in Issue 23 of FUNdraising magazine). Shireen reported on the facts and evidence of the restorative health benefits and left many of us thinking carefully about making some changes to our diets.

After thanking Shireen, Michael introduced Rachel Rogan. Rachel with her colleague Sara Borg, are heading the Lily Pad Appeal for funding the new Integrated Paediatric Ward in Croydon University Hospital. Rachel explained in detail how an opportunity has arisen to take advantage of the space vacated by the Accident and Emergency ward in the hospital to house all paediatric services in one area. This new ward will replace all of the existing facilities, most of which fall way below current expectations. Rachel described the fundraising opportunities and said that we have initiatives suitable for everyone who wants to help. She invited everyone to contact her for further details.
Next to speak was Mr Prakash Sinha and during his introduction Michael congratulated him on his recent appointment as Medical Director of The PRUH. Prakash thanked Michael and the Chartwell Team; he mentioned that Michael had been very modest about the amount of support that the charity had provided over the last 12 years, pointing out some of the things that Michael had not mentioned. He said that a situation had arisen in The PRUH similar to the opportunity Rachel spoke of in Croydon University Hospital. There is an area allocated for an Endoscopy Unit to provide treatment for cancers of the bowel and all other areas of the gut. Unfortunately, there is no funding available and after approaching The Chartwell Cancer Trust, he was delighted that the charity has agreed to raise the £350,000 required. Michael thanked Prakash and Mahima Sinha for joining us, particularly because he knew that they had delayed their holiday to be here this evening, and then thanked all of our guests and speakers for their attendance and support, wishing them a safe journey home and looking forward to seeing them again soon.