Did you know over our 45-year history, we’ve been involved in many childhood cancer research programmes and projects? In the last 20 years alone, we’ve invested over £9m into research to improve the lives and outcomes of children with cancer.

In 1992, Professor Sue Burchill became the first scientist to be fully funded by Candlelighters to look into the causes of childhood cancers.

Sue said, ‘I moved to the University of Leeds from Newcastle University in 1992 to set up the Candlelighters Children’s Cancer Research lab, as a result of a successful five year fundraising campaign by Candlelighters. The lab is funded through many different sources now, but the funding from the Candlelighters was essential to establish the lab. The lab has provided research and postgraduate training opportunities for many young translational research scientists and clinicians, opportunities for young people, patients and parents to learn more about science and the research behind clinical advances, and led many exciting research projects.

I am passionate about translating scientific knowledge into clinical practice to improve outcomes for children, and the ability to collaborate and work with clinicians in Leeds in this area was a big attraction to come to Leeds, along with the exciting opportunity to set up my own research group. I collaborated with Professor Ian Lewis (Consultant Paediatric Oncologist in Leeds) for many years until he moved to Alder Hey Children’s hospital as Executive Medical Director in 2015.

I continue as the scientific director of the group, which is internationally renowned for its research in childhood cancers, especially in neuroblastoma and Ewing sarcoma. My research is focused on drug refractory and metastatic tumour cells, which are frequently responsible for progression and relapse, the eradication of which remains a major challenge for cure in many cancer types.’

And now? Candlelighters continues to invest significantly into research which will improve the lives of thousands of children with cancer, both in Yorkshire and much further afield.

For our 45th birthday, we’re sharing stories of Candlelighters through the years. To share your own stories of Candlelighters through the years, please visit our virtual Ribbon Wall, leave a message, and make a donation to ensure we can continue creating memories for years to come.

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