It is a great privilege to be a trustee of a charity, and an even greater one to be invited to chair the trustees. Being a trustee involves challenging and being challenged, setting strategic objectives and monitoring their achievement, and supporting the staff of the charity in their work.
In July this year I was appointed Chairman Designate of Leukaemia & Lymphoma Research, and will become a trustee and take up the Chairman's responsibilities later this month. I have spent this honeymoon period meeting the other trustees and the senior staff, and familiarising myself with the affairs of the charity. I am looking forward enormously to working with my colleagues to continue the growth of this very important cancer research charity, and play my part in the challenge of beating blood cancer.
I have recently read "The Emperor of All Maladies", by Siddhartha Mukherjee, and would recommend it warmly to anyone interested in the battle against cancer. It sets out very clearly the great progress in diagnosis and treatment that has been achieved in the last few years, and clearly conveys the pace of research and development of clinical practice.
My personal interest in cancer comes from having lost my son David at the age of six to retinoblastoma, and having been successfully treated myself with a stem cell transplant (when this technique was experimental) for Hodgkin's Lymphoma. Such is the pace of progress that if David had been diagnosed ten years later he would have survived, but if I had been diagnosed ten years earlier I would not. We are engaged in a race to understand and cure this huge family of complex diseases, but I am convinced that we will win and that we will do so relatively soon.
I am very excited to have the opportunity of working with my fellow trustees and the fantastic staff of Leukaemia & Lymphoma Research. We have a lot to do, but every confidence that great things will be done, and real progress made over the next few years.