Geoff Thomas, the former Wolves and England footballer, and leukaemia survivor, joined dozens of local people also touched by blood cancers to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Leukaemia & Lymphoma Research at City Inn, Birmingham last night.
The special event was the last of five celebration evenings held at City Inn hotels across the UK throughout 2010, entirely free of charge. Through their generous sponsorship, City Inn have contributed the equivalent of £20,000 to help hundreds of the charity’s supporters celebrate 50 years of dedication to funding lifesaving research into all blood cancers, including leukaemia, lymphoma and myeloma.
David Orr, Chief Executive of City Inn says: "As part of City Inn’s ongoing support for a well-loved charity, we are honoured to host this special evening and welcome Geoff Thomas and all the charity’s supporters to City Inn Birmingham for Leukaemia & Lymphoma Research’s 50th anniversary celebrations."
Geoff, who was diagnosed with leukaemia shortly after retiring from football, spoke about his experiences along with local fundraisers and leading research scientists, including Prof Charlie Craddock from the University of Birmingham, who treated him at the city’s Queen Elizabeth Hospital.
Since receiving a lifesaving stem cell transplant from his sister in 2004, Geoff set up the Geoff Thomas Foundation, which is working closely with Leukaemia & Lymphoma Research to get better treatments to blood cancer patients, faster.
Geoff says: "It was the courage of the patients around me which inspired me to help those with blood cancers, so to hear others’ stories, and more about the lifesaving research taking place in Birmingham, has been really motivating. Research has already made a huge difference to patients
Birmingham has been recognised as a Leukaemia & Lymphoma Research Centre of Excellence for its world-class clinical research, which is driving better treatments for adults and children touched by blood cancers locally and across Britain.
The charity currently has more than £10 million invested in 26 medical research projects at the University of Birmingham and Queen Elizabeth Hospital.