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Celebrating 20 years of fundraising and over £3.3 million raised for cancer care in Cornwall

Here at The Sunrise Appeal, we are delighted to have marked our 20th birthday in 2020. With the Covid-19 pandemic pausing celebrations, we wanted to share an update on everything we have achieved since our launch in 2000.

Having launched in December 2000 at the Eden Project with the aim of raising £500,000, 22 years later we are delighted to announce that over £3.3 million has been raised and over £2.4 million granted to the Clinical Oncology Department – known as the Sunrise Centre – thanks to the fantastic support of the Cornish people.

Unfortunately The Sunrise Appeal’s 20th anniversary passed during the pandemic, which halted our plans for a celebration of what had been achieved over the last 2 decades. Back in 2000, we launched the Appeal specifically to raise £500,000 to help finance the building of a new cancer centre for the Royal Cornwall NHS Hospital Trust. This was achieved within twelve months – and was just the beginning! For 22 years – and counting – we have been raising funds to support the Sunrise Centre by providing grants for £2,400,000 for medical equipment and £173,000 for bursaries for members of the Oncology Department in support of research and further education and we are pleased to report that the charity still holds reserves in excess of £2,500,000.

The Trustees continue to be committed to helping maintain cancer treatment at the Sunrise Centre at the cutting edge of innovation. It is also quite clear that a first class department attracts the highest quality staff, of which we are fortunate to have the very best. Recently we were excited to learn that the latest link in the chain of developments funded by the Appeal is now in clinical use which is incredibly rewarding.

When each of the new radiotherapy treatment machines (Linac) were purchased, the Appeal contributed £646,000 in 2011 and £460,000 in 2014 to upgrade them from the standard machine – as funded by the NHS – to the most advanced available.

In order to capitalise on the potential of these machines to deliver more accurate treatment, in 2020 the Appeal provided funding of £94,446 to purchase the equipment necessary for the four dimensional (4D) radiotherapy. This measures and allows for the small natural movements of tumours, such as from breathing, that occur during treatment. This is particularly useful for improving the accuracy and outcomes for patients with lung and breast cancers.

With 4D in place, a further step in keeping radiotherapy at The Sunrise Centre at the forefront of development became possible. A grant of £152,000 has provided the software and equipment necessary for Steriotactic Ablative Body Therapy (SABR). SABR is an advanced technique which delivers precise, high dose radiotherapy to very small tumours with fewer treatment visits and can now be provided in Cornwall, rather than patients having to travel out of the county for this highly specialist treatment. Initially this technique will be used for small lung cancers in patients who are not suitable for major surgery. It is hoped that in the future, the technique will be developed to treat other small-volume cancers.

We are very proud of what has been achieved over the last 22 years – and despite the coronavirus putting a stop to our 20th birthday celebrations, we wanted to thank the Cornish people for their wonderful support over the last two decades, it has been truly spectacular. We couldn’t let this incredible milestone pass without celebrating the remarkable efforts of so many people, who continue to support The Sunrise Appeal.

The Trustees believe that these grants further demonstrate the need to keep the Appeal going and continue to raise as much money as possible to support the Oncology Department operating from the Sunrise Centre and providing the patients with the best treatment possible! We also recognise that fund-raising has been very difficult during the pandemic but hope that the Cornish public and the community organisations such as the Rotarians, Golf Clubs, Bowls Clubs, WI, Young Farmers and numerous other community groups will continue to support our charity.

Our charity patron and Co-Founder of the Eden Project, Sir Tim Smit, said “The Sunrise Appeal is one of those projects which touches everybody with a sense of hope, no matter who they are, because the marvellous thing about Sunrise is that it is just that, a gift and it doesn’t get better than that. This is why we support Sunrise and are proud to be associated with it and have been for twenty years.”

A huge thank you to you all for your support for The Sunrise Appeal over the last 22 years – we are so proud of what has been achieved. Here’s to the next twenty year period – and beyond!