Determining the future of bladder cancer

Bladder cancer wife

For Dianne Roberts, the death of her husband Graham from bladder cancer in July 2016 was devastating, but her experience of dealing with Graham’s illness gave her the determination to fulfil Graham’s wish to help others in the same situation.

Their generous £1.79 million donation in memory of Graham means his legacy will fund the creation of a new ‘biobank’ at Guy’s Cancer Centre – part of King’s Health Partners – which will support research into this little-talked-about cancer.

Graham was diagnosed with bladder cancer 20 months before he died. Dianne explains:

‘Graham decided that he wanted to do something to help future research into bladder cancer, even before he discovered that his treatment wasn’t working for him.

‘Once we found out that the cancer had spread, he became even more resolute to do as much as he could.’

Currently, bladder cancer receives only a fraction of the research resources that other cancers do, with annual breast cancer donation income at £1,400 per patient, prostate cancer at £490 and bladder cancer at only £20.

Laying the groundwork

Bladder cancer husband

It was during his treatment that Graham met two of the key people he and Dianne would work closely with on setting up the biobank and research programme – Dr Simon Chowdhury and Dr Mieke Van Hemelrijck of the Translational Oncology and Urology Research (TOUR) team at King’s College London and Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust.

Despite undergoing treatment and suffering from side effects, Graham was involved in all the initial discussions about the biobank and research, so Dianne is confident that the programme now in place is what he would have wanted.

After he died, Dianne knew she had to continue with the project, so she took up the cause, inspired to continue by Graham’s drive and determination.

Looking forward

It’s been a tough road for Dianne, but she is now encouraged by the positive impact that the donation in Graham’s memory has had on bladder cancer patients.

‘Dr Van Hemelrijck and the TOUR team have been incredible in terms of how far they’ve got in such a short period of time.’ Dianne added.

‘I’m very pleased we’ve got so much set up so quickly. It’s a real tribute to Graham’s memory.’

bladder cancer couple

Did you know?

  • The Cancer Centre at Guy’s is a partnership between Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust and King’s College London, and has over 500 patients visit each day.
  • The biobank at Guy’s Cancer Centre will hold blood, tissue and urine samples from patients before and after their treatment. This will help with research into bladder cancer.
  • Graham and Dianne’s donation will fund the biobank for five years, as well as a research fellowship or PhD student.

Are you interested in supporting cancer research at King’s College London? Contact our Supporter Care team on 0207 848 3053 or make an online donation.