The Sunrise Appeal was launched at the Eden Project in November 2000 under the chairmanship of the late Bill Bishop OBE, and with Tim Smit as patron. It is a separate and independent Charity and had the original aim of raising £500,000 towards the £5 million cost of the new Clinical Oncology Department in Truro, now known as the Sunrise Centre. The remaining funding came from Royal Cornwall Hospitals Trust (RCHT), the New Opportunities Fund from the lottery, Duchy Health Charity Limited, an incredible response from the public, and the invaluable support of BBC Radio Cornwall, the £500,000 target was achieved in 2001. The Sunrise Centre opened in the spring 2002 meaning that patients no longer had to travel to Plymouth for treatment.
The charity has continued to raise funds to ensure that the Sunrise Centre maintains it’s state of the art status. The Appeal strikes a chord with so many people with friends or family who have had treatment for cancer and a sum in excess of £3,000,000 has been raised so far.
The current Trustees of the Charity are:-
|Trustee|| ||Date of appointment
|Mr A A Hill||Honorary Chairman||18th February 2003
|Mr CM Micklewright||Honorary Treasurer||8th January 2002
|Mrs J M Shephard||8th January 2002
|Dr T Talbot||28th February 2016
|Dr J McGrane||17th July 2018
The Trustees are independent of RCHT, although Drs McGrane and Talbot are Clinical Oncology Consultants within the Sunrise Centre and provide the necessary medical input to enable the Trustees to meet their objectives.
The main aim for the Trustees is to continue supporting the Department and ensure that Cornwall keeps this centre of excellence into the future by supporting innovation, education, and research.
The Sunrise Appeal funds are used to supplement the RCHT capital budgets, not replace them.
- In addition to the original £500,000 towards the cost of building the department, and a number of smaller grants, the Sunrise Appeal has contributed:-
- £174,000 to develop unused space in the department. This included a specific donation to the Appeal from the Jeffrey Kelson Trust.
- £646,000 to upgrade a new Linear Accelerator which was to replace one of the original machines, from a standard machine to a Trubeam which was one of the first in the country. This in turn meant that when the second original machine was replaced, RCHT replaced it with a matching Trubeam.
- £460,000 to upgrade the treatment couches on both Trubeams from standard couches to advanced tilting couches. Capable of six degrees of freedom, which enabled highly sophisticated non coplanar radiotherapy to be delivered.
- £46,000 to provide a Molecular Diagnostics system for Cornwall. Patients with malignant melanoma can now be tested rapidly for an abnormal gene without waiting for three weeks for the test to be done at a genetics laboratory at the Royal Marsden in London.
- £39,100 Recently the Sunrise charity enabled same-day BRAF mutation testing in patients with metastatic melanoma reducing the turnaround of this test by between two to three weeks enabling patients to start the correct appropriate treatment much more quickly than before.
The Trustees also provide bursaries for education and research to staff employed at the Sunrise Centre. For example funds were used to support a study by one of the radiographers into the use of acupuncture as a complementary treatment for symptom control in patients having treatment at the centre. This work was presented nationally. Grants have also been given to support the development of new treatment techniques.
The Sunrise Appeal helps to ensure that the department has the most up to date equipment only available in a small number of other departments in the UK. It also helps to maintain the service in Cornwall for the people of Cornwall, so that patients do not have to undertake long and arduous journeys outside the County for treatment at what is undoubtedly a very distressing time.
Looking forward, the only certainty is that new equipment will be developed which will improve treatment for cancer and this will not come cheaply. There will always be constraints on the funds available within the NHS with all the conflicting demands. There continues to be a very important role for the Sunrise Appeal in supporting RCHT to ensure that the people of Cornwall continue to receive the most up to date treatment available in the UK from within the County.
We are grateful to all the volunteers who continue to raise funds for the Appeal as well as the many legacies that people have very generously given in support of the Charity.
The Sunrise Appeal
Royal Cornwall Hospital