Official Launch in Stormont

Wednesday, 19 March 2014

This morning in the Long Gallery, Parliament Buildings, Stormont we welcomed the Minister of Health, Health Committee, researchers and supporters to join us in our 50th Anniversary Celebrations and our official launch.

Professor Ken Mills, Chair of Experimental Haematology in Queen’s University Belfast, said:

“The launch of Leukaemia and Lymphoma NI today is welcomed by all those working to enhance the scientific research into Leukaemia and associated blood cancers in Northern Ireland.

With only a 20% chance of survival after two years for leukaemia suffers over 60 this is an alarmingly low in Northern Ireland (as elsewhere in the developed world) against a 70% survival for those suffers under 60. Overall, 40% of people with acute leukaemia survive after two years.

Further support and funding is required to help break new ground in fighting blood cancers in the adult population, particularly those over 60.

We are keen to address the common misconception that leukaemia and lymphoma are cancers that affect children, in fact around 94% of all leukaemia and 99% of all lymphoma cases occur in adults.

Our research in Belfast into leukaemia, lymphoma and myeloma is internationally renowned and our world class insights need to be supported. Our scientists are highly respected experts in their field and their research aims to understand how leukaemia and other related diseases develop. From this we can discover better ways of treating all of these diseases and ultimately improve the outcome and quality of life for patients.  

 By reinvigorating the organisation that has supported the scientific research community over the last 50 years we will be able to continue our increasingly successful fight against these blood cancers”.

Commenting at the launch Edwin Poots MLA, Minister of the Department of Health, Social Services and Public Safety said:

 “As we know the outcomes for patients suffering from leukaemia and lymphoma can be poor. That is why it is important that we do all we can to ensure that we expand our research potential to improve outcomes for patients of all ages who are affected by these illnesses.

 I am pleased to learn that the haematology research laboratories within the Centre for Cancer Research and Cell Biology (CCRCB) are doing good work in contributing to the research effort.  Particularly so in respect of researching  the cause of these diseases and the novel therapies which we hope will in the future deliver benefits to patients and improve outcomes in the way we would all like to see.

We are committed to working in partnership with others including organisations such as Leukaemia & Lymphoma NI to provide the best services that we can and I hope that that relationship will continue well into the future. I am sure that this event and your renaming will raise public awareness and understanding of leukaemia and lymphoma in Northern Ireland.”

Mr Bill Pollock, Chair of Leukaemia & Lymphoma NI, said:

“The launch of Leukaemia & Lymphoma NI has been something we have anticipated for a few years and are excited to unveil the new branding. 

The charity in its previous form is 50 years old and has a deep local heritage. We are keen to build on that and reach out to new audiences to ask for their support across Northern Ireland to support scientific research into one of the most common forms of cancer.

We’ve just made a £1.5 million three year investment which will enable researchers and clinicians in Queen’s University Belfast and across Northern Ireland to expand their internationally recognised research.

The number of lives and loved ones that have been saved through the donations raised and spent here on scientific research is significant, and we are confident that we will be able to continue advancing the fight against blood cancers for many years to come.   

We’re now at the start of a major fundraising drive to inspire the giving public to donate to a charity that is making a real impact to people’s lives.”