Beijing Biddies meet Mia at Great North Children’s Hospital

Four women who are raising funds to fight children’s cancers by driving two Tuks Tuks around Britain have visited Newcastle’s Royal Victoria Infirmary to see the work being carried out at the Great North Children’s Hospital.

The Beijing Biddies Tuk Tuk Challenge team met Dr Quentin Campbell-Hewson, a consultant in paediatric oncology, along with one of his patients, four-year-old Mia Presch, who is currently receiving treatment for a Wilms tumour on her kidney.

Wilms tumour is the most common form of kidney cancer in children[1].

The Beijing Biddies Tuk Tuk Challenge team visit the Royal Victoria Infirmary. They are (L-R): Bill Rooke, who is driving their support vehicle, Helen Stobart, Edwina Sorkin, Dr Quentin Campbell-Hewson, Gareth Presch with his daughter Mia, Kate Sleath and Liz Tinkler.

Dr Campbell-Hewson, who receives funding from Cancer Research UK for his work on early phase cancer research, showed the charity fundraising team some of the work being done at the unit to help young cancer patients.

Mia, from Great Corby in Cumbria, is currently undergoing weekly treatment at the hospital. Her dad, Gareth Presch, said: “She’s been very brave and we’re proud of how she’s dealing with her treatment.

“What the Beijing Biddies are doing is raising awareness of a cruel disease that can hit any family at any time. We need to come together and support cancer research and we wish the team every success in this amazing journey that they are undertaking.”

The women, Edwina Sorkin (71), Helen Stobart (51) and Liz Tinkler (50), from Cumbria, along with Kate Sleath (66) from Yorkshire, have raised £80,000 so far for Cancer Research UK and Macmillan Cancer Support and are aiming to reach over £100,000.

Team leader Edwina said: “We were delighted to meet Dr Campbell-Hewson and Mia at Newcastle RVI to see how the money we are raising is being used to help treat patients like Mia.

“To see a child or a young person suffering from cancer is really hard. That’s why every penny that we raise on this challenge will go to help kids and teens, so the more people that we can reach on our journey, the more money we can raise to fight this terrible disease.”

They aim to cover 1100 miles in 16 days, driving at an average speed of 20 miles an hour for six or seven hours a day. The journey started at Carlisle on Tuesday, May 2, and sees them visit cancer research centres and hospitals in Edinburgh, Newcastle, Harrogate, Cambridge, London, Merthyr Tydfil and Manchester.

It is almost three years to the day since Edwina and Kate, calling themselves the Beijing Biddies, drove from the UK to the Chinese capital in just 29 days for the two cancer charities. Last year they were joined by Helen and Liz plus Kerrie Ellison to drive from Carlisle to the Arctic Circle with no overnight stops, completing that challenge in four days.

Edwina said: “The Tuk Tuk challenge is perhaps our craziest yet. These little Tuk Tuks are great fun but they take skill and a lot of concentration to drive them as we intend to – all day and to a strict timetable.”

Natasha Patel, fundraising manager for Cancer Research UK, said: "Our scientists and nurses look forward to welcoming the Beijing Biddies team at Cancer Research UK centres during their epic Tuk Tuk trek. The money they raise will allow Cancer Research UK's doctors, nurses and scientists to advance vital research which is helping to save the lives of boys, girls, men and women in Cumbria, Yorkshire and across the UK."

Sue McDonald of Macmillan Cancer Support said: “At Macmillan, we are thrilled to continue our involvement with the Beijing Biddies. The forthcoming challenge will really test their mettle whilst raising much needed sponsorship to help cancer patients who often find every day a challenge!”

For more information visit www.beijingbiddies.co.uk or follow then on Twitter @BBiddies.

[1] Based on the annual average number of children diagnosed between 2008-2010. National Registry of Childhood Tumours/Childhood Cancer Research Group


Media contact:

Alison Knight cragvale@btinternet.com

07811 380330 

Notes to editor:

About Cancer Research UK

•       Cancer Research UK is the world’s leading cancer charity dedicated to saving lives through research.

•       Cancer Research UK’s pioneering work into the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of cancer has helped save millions of lives.

•       Cancer Research UK receives no government funding for its life-saving research. Every step it makes towards beating cancer relies on vital donations from the public.

•       Cancer Research UK has been at the heart of the progress that has already seen survival in the UK double in the last forty years.

•       Today, 2 in 4 people survive their cancer for at least 10 years. Cancer Research UK’s ambition is to accelerate progress so that by 2034, 3 in 4 people will survive their cancer for at least 10 years.

•       Cancer Research UK supports research into all aspects of cancer through the work of over 4,000 scientists, doctors and nurses.

•       Together with its partners and supporters, Cancer Research UK's vision is to bring forward the day when all cancers are cured.

For further information about Cancer Research UK's work or to find out how to support the charity, please call 0300 123 1022 or visit www.cancerresearchuk.org. Follow us on Twitter and Facebook.

About Macmillan Cancer Support

More than one in three of us will get cancer. For most of us it will be the toughest fight we ever face. And the feelings of isolation and loneliness that so many people experience make it even harder.

But you don’t have to go through it alone. The Macmillan team is with you every step of the way. We are the nurses and therapists helping you through treatment. The experts on the end of the phone. The advisers telling you which benefits you’re entitled to. The volunteers giving you a hand with the everyday things. The campaigners improving cancer care. The community there for you online, any time. The supporters who make it all possible.

Together, we are all Macmillan Cancer Support

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