Cancer Trials Ireland has never experienced anything like the generosity we received from the Irish horseracing community last weekend.
Everyone who attended the Longines Champions Weekend in Leopardstown and the Curragh contributed to our work. No matter how big or small the donation it matters to us. You helped raise in excess of €2.5 million for pancreatic cancer trials.
This is a staggering amount in its own right, and particularly timely. We need more options for pancreatic cancer patients and to match the resources of other, better-known cancer types. Last weekend has brought hope to us and hope to patients for future trials.
Only last year Cancer Trials Ireland had to stall opening two clinical trials for pancreatic cancer due to lack of funding. But now, as a direct result of what this community gave, we will be opening them and more. Indeed, we will now have the scope to bring globally significant pancreatic trials into Ireland, which was an unimaginable circumstance just a few months ago. By this time next year, some Irish patients with pancreatic cancer will be able to access new treatments.
There are so many people to thank but, first and foremost, we must thank Pat Smullen and his family for all of the ways he helped this event to happen. It was clear from the outset that Pat is a special kind of person, and clearly this view is shared by a huge number of people. Pat, on behalf of Cancer Trials Ireland, and all the people whose lives you will change – and save – thank you.
I must also thank John Osborne and Barbara White in Horse Racing Ireland for their guidance and assistance, also the incredible jockeys riding in the Pat Smullen Champions Race, the sponsors, those who donated to, and participated in the online auction, and finally the wider horseracing community, for creating this wonderful, uplifting event that so many people were willing to enthusiastically back.
We will keep working closely with Horse Racing Ireland to keep you informed about our progress, or you can follow us directly to get a wider picture of the work we do.
Once again, I cannot overstate the impact that the Longines Champions Weekend will have for pancreatic cancer trials in Ireland. This event has raised the profile of our work and we know that more people than ever before are checking our website to see what cancer trials are available. There are patients today asking their doctors about trials because you raised awareness.
Thank you for helping us to bring more hope to more patients. The doctors, nurses and research staff of Cancer Trials Ireland are humbled by your generosity.
CEO, Cancer Trials Ireland