Rhiannon Sweeney
Posted by

A week of 50k Celebrations

Rhiannon Sweeney
Posted by
20 Aug 2014

A night of celebrating 4 years of hard work and a eye-opening insight into where all the money goes.

It's fair to say it's been a busy week for the Branch. After hitting our monumentul milestone of 50k, Saturday night hosted the anticapted 50k Celebration Evening which we had been planning for months and then today members of the Branch were giving the fantastic oppurtunity to visit a Research Lab in Sheffield.

The 50k Celebration night was a great way for us to celebrate our work and the milestone with community. There was a exhibiton at the event from the Head Office with eye-opening statistics and information about research, fundrasing and case-stories through years and the hopes for 100% survival rate in the future. As well as the team, members of the community and local MP's, we were joined by Emma Jones, the regional manager and Chris Bunce the Director of Research. Both Emma and Chris spoke about the fantastic work they do in more detail along with members of our Branch making speechs, each about certain areas of the Branch. I was asked to make a speech on Branching out in the community and I'm happy to say it went well and although I couldn't stop shaking during the speech, I got up on stage without falling over in my heels.

Rob, a member of the Branch spoke about James who was a close friend of many members and the fundraising started in his memory after his death. Personally I didn't know James and didn't really know much about his story. By hearing Rob talk I learnt things that even after 2 years with the Branch I didn't know and I was nice to learn more about our roots and more about what started the Branch. Daniel kept many things up his sleeve and awarded many awards that night they were 4 Outstanding Support Awards, a Lions District Governers Award and 4 Princess Diana Awards. I recieved one of the Diana Awards which was a total suprise and even though everything I do is because I enjoy it and want to make a difference, the appreciation and gratitute from the Award filled me with pride.

All in all, it was a fantastic awareness event and an evening to thank the wider community for their support and show that we are grateful for what people do for us. We ended on an high note with our very own talented Luke West singing Man in Red, a song who wrote in dedication to James which had Lyrics which pulled on everyone's heartstrings. The night went on with a buffet and Disco and will be one that will be remembered, we hope that by the end of 2017, we will be sat there once again celebrating our next milestone of £100,000.

Today, the celebrations continued and we left for the Royal Hallamshire Hospital in Sheffield to have a tour around the Research Labs and talk to the people behind the ground-breaking research. Quite honestly I didn't know what to expect; Lab coats and gloves; casual clothing; the sort of machines there were; where the money went. Quite frankly there is no answer as every department and room was different. It was great to find out where the money raised from all Branchs go and how it contributes to new drugs, trials and treatments.

This specific hosptial focuses on Myeloma which is to do with the bones and we were led through a series of talks and demonstrations around the hospital, we saw cells through microscopes, 3D Scans and learnt about some developed treatments. Personally, one of the most fasinating areas was a machine our group named FLO, the researcher who talked us thorught it said it wasn't very interesting but we disagreed, it was a machine that took 30,000 cells and using lasers, looked in a matter of seconds at the ratio and percentage of live to dead cells. This allowed them to be able to compare the number of living of cells in a healthy sample to one with a cancer or tumour to one which had undergone chemotherapy or a treatment and so concluding and evaluating how effective a treatment is. We all told the researcher to apoligise to FLO for calling her boring.

It was a day, I'll never forget becasue the detail and complexity of the talks allowed me to learn so much more about Leukameia and the Research but I have to admire the researchers for what they do as some of the facts and realities of Leukamia scared me but they are a harsh reality that many of us will never forget and so it will only make us work harder.

Afterwards, we had a buffet and drinks reception organised by Emma (who I mentioned earleir) where we had the oppurtunity to talk to the researchers in more depth and ask questions. A lot of the them were quite young but had done some meaningful work and they inspired me to maybe follow that career path, advsing me where to go and what to study. It has motviated me to achieve personally but also I think it inspired the Branch to keep raising funds until the researcher have beaten blood cancers for good.