Prime Minister sends personal message to fundraisers taking on Blenheim Palace Triathlon this weekend
Prime Minister David Cameron has sent his personal best wishes to those taking part in this weekend’s Leukaemia & Lymphoma Research Blenheim Palace Triathlon, and voiced his support in helping to beat blood cancer.
Prime Minister David Cameron, whose constituency of Witney includes Blenheim Palace, says: “There are few things more distressing than being diagnosed with cancer and, while survival rates are improving, there is so much more to do. My Government will not stop until Britain is the best place in Europe to survive cancer and organisations like Leukaemia & Lymphoma Research play a crucial role in achieving this goal with its compassionate care of patients and cutting-edge research.
“All of us will know someone who has been affected by cancer. This is such an important cause and I want to wish everyone involved in the Blenheim Palace Triathlon the very best of luck. Together, we really can beat blood cancer and help to improve the lives of cancer patients across the UK.”
One group of Oxford fundraisers who will be drawing on Cameron’s message of support are “Scarlett’s Dragons”, a team of 164 parents rallying together on Sunday 14 June in support of 10-year-old Scarlett Clarkson who has leukaemia. The group has already raised £62,500 for Leukaemia & Lymphoma Research.
Scarlett was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukaemia in January 2011 when she was just six years old. Unfortunately her initial chemotherapy treatment was unsuccessful and she relapsed, requiring further chemotherapy, steroids and radiotherapy. Throughout December 2013 she rarely returned home, aside from Christmas Day when she had to be rushed back to hospital at 9pm with a treatment-related infection. She will continue to receive treatment for another year.
Scarlett’s parents, Dan and Bryony Clarkson, will both be taking part in the triathlon this year and are hoping to raise even more money and awareness for blood cancer:
“For the first time ever at Blenheim Palace Triathlon a whole wave will be decked out in turquoise and pink and dedicated to one very special person. Friends and fellow school parents have taken to the challenge in grand style. One Dad is taking part despite having a baby due only two days after the event. Another athlete has an exam in London on the morning of the event and has hired a motorbike to deliver her to the start line on time.
“We are aiming high with our fundraising again, as this is a cause which is so close to our hearts. Having a child with cancer has a devastating impact, both for the child and their family. If we can help reach a day when no other family has to go through the pain of having their child diagnosed with leukaemia, then the pain of our training will be well worthwhile”, says Dan.
Scarlett met David and Samantha Cameron when they visited the hospital she was being treated. She was re-introduced to Samantha Cameron last year at a Downing Street reception held by the charity as part of September’s Childhood Cancer Awareness Month.
On having a triathlon team named in her honour, she says: “I’m very happy that all these people have decided to do this. It’s great that they are raising so much money to help people who have blood cancer. As soon as I’m old enough I’m going to do a triathlon myself!”
At last year’s Blenheim Palace Triathlon, the Scarlett’s Dragons team comprised of 22 dads of children at the Dragon School in Oxford - including Radiohead bassist Colin Greenwood – who raised an astonishing £120,000 for the charity.
Matt Lawley, Head of Sports Events at Leukaemia & Lymphoma Research, says: “Scarlett’s Dragons’ fundraising achievements were phenomenal last year and we are looking forward to welcoming them back again this year on an even grander scale. The ongoing support that they have given to Scarlett has been humbling to see, and we are grateful for their passion and determination to continue to help us in our mission to beat blood cancer.”
The UK’s second largest triathlon is set in the stunning grounds of Blenheim Palace, Woodstock over the weekend of Saturday 13th and Sunday 14th June. The event will host over 7,000 participants of all abilities.
To support Scarlett's Dragon's please click here to visit their fundraising page.