Jul 15, 2009

Welsh Pancreatic Cancer Charity calls for match-funding from WAG

Wales’ pancreatic cancer charity, Amser Justin Time, today (Wednesday 15th July) made a ground-breaking announcement at the University Hospital of Wales, Cardiff, having raised sufficient money in their first year of operation to fund a Specialist Pancreatic Nurse for one day a week. The charity, which is headed by Welsh opera, TV and radio star Shân Cothi, in memory of her husband, Tigertailz’ glam-rock star, Justin Smith, marked the announcement with a special performance from Only Men Aloud.

The launch had a fantastic response as crowds of patients, medical staff and hospital visitors filled the Main Concourse of the University Hospital of Wales at lunchtime today to hear Shân Cothi make the announcement, followed by a heartrending rendition of ‘Angels’ from the nation’s favourite contemporary male choir Only Men Aloud. For those patients unable to attend, the launch was also broadcast live on Hospital Radio. The performance marked the ground-breaking announcement that in the 12 months since the charity was launched, Amser Justin Time has raised over £60,000 and will now use part of these funds to fund a Specialist Pancreatic Nurse for one day a week for two years.

Following the launch Shân and Only Men Aloud visited some of the hospital’s wards including the C2 ward where Shân’s late-husband Justin had himself been a patient. The choir gave an impromptu performance on the ward, which sparked one patient to comment “I’m definitely going to get better now”. Specialist Pancreatic Nurse Nicki Jardine will be funded by the charity and will divide her time between the University Hospital of Wales and the Velindre Cancer Centre in Whitchurch, Cardiff. Nicki said “This is a remarkable achievement for the charity. I feel privileged to be the first nurse to be funded by Amser Justin Time, such an innovative charity that is so devoted to the cause. On a day to day basis I witness first-hand patients and their families dealing with pancreatic cancer and can honestly say that this charity is making a real difference, so a big thank you to Shân and the Amser Justin Time team”.

The charity was founded by Welsh opera star and TV personality, Shân Cothi in memory of her husband, the talented TV director and editor and glam-rock star, Justin Smith (aka Tigertailz’ Pepsi Tate), who sadly lost his battle against pancreatic cancer in 2007. Shân said “When we launched Amser Justin Time last year with an epic horse-ride from North to South Wales, we met so many people along the way who gave us such a heartwarming welcome and so many kind donations, I bet they’re wondering “what happened to the money I donated to Amser Justin Time?” – Well, here’s the result...a Specialist Pancreatic Nurse!”.

Shân expressed the importance of employing a Specialist Pancreatic Nurse “I’m so proud to be able to tell all the people that supported us that their money will allow us to provide essential care for patients and their families. It’s vital they have someone they can talk to who is specially trained, supportive and can ease the difficulty of dealing with this particularly aggressive from of cancer. We hope that with more donations we will be able to fund more nurses around Wales”.

Given Shân’s celebrity status as a singer, actress and TV personality the charity’s fundraising events have had the support of some of Wales’ biggest celebrities including Bryn Terfel, who joined Shân to record the downloadable track ‘I Believe’. Shân continued to explain “It’s incredible that we’ve managed to raise this amount of money without having a full-time team in place or even an office. This is the first time for the charity to spend a single penny of the money raised, which is why it’s so important for us to mark this occasion”.

Celebrating the announcement at the University Hospital of Wales were Only Men Aloud, stepping straight off the plane from performing in America, who gave an impromptu and heartrending rendition of ‘Angels’. Only Men Aloud's Music Director and Founder, Tim Rhys-Evans, said “We are immensely proud to be supporting Amser Justin Time as one of the choir’s chosen charities. Having worked and performed with Shân for many years it’s amazing to see how one special Welsh lady can inspire a whole nation and achieve such incredible results”.

Mr Malcolm Puntis, a former Consultant Surgeon & Senior Lecturer for the Cardiff & Vale NHS Trust, and a Specialist in Pancreatic Surgery who treated Justin Smith, said “Justin was such an inspiration. It’s outstanding to see all the fund-raising being put to tangible use providing extra care for pancreatic cancer patients and their relatives. It is a rare and fortunate thing for a charity to have so little overheads to be able to action front-line funding such as this so soon. It would be greater still if the Welsh Assembly Government were to match the funding raised by Amser Justin Time”. Mr Puntis, who has lent his support and expertise freely to Amser Justin Time acting as Mentor for the charity, continued “We are also continuing to develop a comprehensive website to be used as an information resource about pancreatic cancer and to raise public awareness about this cruel disease. We hope the website will become a universal resource for all those affected by pancreatic cancer”.

Pancreatic cancer is the tenth most common cancer in the UK with approximately 20 new patients diagnosed each day. The rate of pancreatic cancer is slightly higher in Wales at 14.2 per 100,000 people compared with 12.7 per 100,000 people for the UK as a whole. Nurse Director of Cardiff and Vale NHS Trust Sue Gregory said “We are grateful to Amser Justin Time for their involvement. A specialist nurse will improve the care we provide to pancreatic cancer patients, as well as providing much needed support for their relatives”.

For more information on the charity, please visit www.amserjustintime.org
For donations, please visit www.justgiving.com/amser

Bookmark and Share

Popular Posts