Cambridge research volunteer doing his bit to support Stand Up To Cancer
Tony Richards was treated at Addenbrooke's after being diagnosed with oesophageal cancer in 2011.
Since getting the all-clear, he has been helping with research taking place in Cambridge and funded by Cancer Research UK.
The 70-year-old, who lives near Peterborough with his wife Philippa, first volunteered to try an experimental treatment that could prevent his type of cancer returning, and helped on other trials that aim to improve the early detection of cancer.
And he recently volunteered to be an adviser on a new trial taking place in Cambridge, funded by Stand Up To Cancer which will be raising money this Friday (October 26) with a night of programmes on Channel 4.
Tony said: “When I was diagnosed it made me realise the value of the gift of life and it made me realise how fortunate I was to be diagnosed early. Other people are deprived of that gift because of a late diagnosis and I thought if I can help improve early detection then that’s something.
“I enjoy helping with research, I had a stimulating job as a finance director and this keeps my mind active now that I am retired. On top of that, it’s giving something back.”
Now the father of four and granddad to three, Tony is throwing his weight behind Stand Up To Cancer to help give the disease a knockout blow.
Tony added: “Research is cancer’s number one enemy. Stand Up To Cancer helps fund clinical trials and research projects which pack a punch in the fight against the disease.
“This research is crucial, but also very expensive. That’s why we need to get fundraising to help doctors and scientists speed up breakthroughs for the benefit of cancer patients.”
One of the trials he is involved with – called ‘BEST2’ – involves a Cytosponge ‘pill on a string’ being tested. The sponge has been designed by a team of Cambridge researchers and scientists.
It collects cells from the food pipe, these cells are put through a specially-developed molecular test which highlights any abnormalities.
Tony said: “The test involved swallowing a capsule on a string. You coil the string up, put it in your mouth and wash the capsule down with a glass of water. You can feel it when the nurse pulls it out but it’s not unpleasant. It is quick and much easier than an endoscopy.
“I wanted to help with the Cytosponge trial because ultimately it could help to diagnose oesophageal cancer earlier.”
Stand Up To Cancer unites scientists, celebrities and communities. It’s supported by a host of stars including Davina McCall, Edith Bowman, Alan Carr, Joel Dommett and Kirstie Allsopp.
Money raised for Stand Up To Cancer helps take developments from the lab and quickly transform them into new tests and treatments.
Danielle Glavin, Cancer Research UK spokesperson for the East, said: “There are lots of fun ways to join the fight. You can get creative in the kitchen, get sponsored to stand out in orange at work or school or take part in a sponsored wax or head shave.
“A free fundraising pack is available, full of fun and creative ways to conjure up crucial cash.”