On Thursday 8th October, our patron Gordon Burns will be hosting Prevent Breast Cancer’s Update Hour. In advance of the event, we asked Gordon to answer some questions about his experiences of working with the charity over the years.
How did you become involved with Prevent Breast Cancer (Genesis)? Can you tell us how you became aware of us and what drew you to the charity?
Right from the very beginning….when Genesis, as Prevent Breast Cancer used to be called, was being launched a neighbour who lived a couple of houses up from mine approached me and told me she was the PA to the chairman of Genesis, Lester Barr. She asked whether I would consider becoming a patron of the new charity. In those days when my ugly mug was regularly on your TV screens, I got asked to be a Patron of quite a few charities and had to turn most of them down because of my workload and the fact I didn’t want to be a patron in name only. I wanted to be able to help raise awareness and to help out with any other tasks asked of me. But the idea of being part of a charity that had set its stall on wiping out breast cancer completely appealed to me. The rapid increase in women mostly, but some men too, in contracting breast cancer and the rising death rates at the time horrified me, and when I arranged a meeting with Lester he hugely impressed me about what the charity would set out to do and the money they would hope to raise to fund important research programmes headed by eminent consultants, surgeons and doctors, which would help lead the way to providing those at risk of developing breast cancer with better methods of prediction and prevention. He passionately believed breast cancer could be totally wiped out in due course. I was instantly sold and signed up as one of the Patrons.
Could you tell us what your role of patron involves?
My role is to spread awareness of the charity and the important work it is doing, attracting media interest wherever and whenever I can, hosting events and interviewing the top guys of the various research programmes funded by Prevent Breast Cancer at a public meeting every year to find out the progress that is being made in a variety of areas, and the new treatments that have emerged as a result of their amazing work. And anything else within reason that Lester wants me to do!
You’ve already made an enormous contribution to our charity, what drives you to continue? Do you have any personal highlights over the years?
I will always continue to be a Patron for Prevent as long as they want me to be because the battle MUST continue until breast cancer is well and truly beaten. Coronavirus has as you’d expect severely hampered progress in recent months but believe me you can rely on the drive and determination of Lester and the team to find ways battle on through it regardless. But in my time as Patron my highlights are twofold. Thanks to the great research programmes taking place year after year, a number of which Prevent fund, treatments have improved so much and there has been a huge jump in the number of people cured of their breast cancer as well as others being given many more years to live – all that despite the continual increase in the numbers of people getting breast cancer. And my other great highlight was hosting the event to launch the new Prevent Breast Cancer HQ at the Nightingale Centre at Wythenshawe Hospital. We all formed a circle round the brand new building and everyone who could get their hands on a pair of scissors cut the pink ribbon simultaneously…a wonderful moment.
We are very excited that you are hosting Prevent Breast Cancer’s Update Hour on Thursday 8th October. This event will be an informal discussion about the charity, as well as an opportunity to learn more about breast cancer and the pandemic with experts in the field. What are you most looking forward to about this event?
Actually, it’s a session I wish none of had to do thanks to Coronavirus and how it has affected our wonderful charity. But having done my research for the big night I can tell you there are some really encouraging and positive news stories to reveal from the experts when I interview them. It is well worth tuning in to.
The Update Hour will be taking place Thursday 8th October from 7pm – 8pm. To register for your free ticket please follow https://preventbreastcancer.org.uk/events/update-hour-2020/