Knowledge is power. From being aware of your opponents’ strengths and weaknesses on the rugby field, to understanding how to crack complicated genetic cancer codes – the more you know about your rivals, the easier they are to beat.
I know the opinions of a former rugby player are not what you’d expect to find on a science blog. But like everyone out there, I have a vested interest in cancer research.
More than one in three of us will be diagnosed with cancer in our lifetime, so it’s vital that we continue to make progress in understanding cancer and, in turn, how to develop new and more effective treatments.
I set up the Dallaglio Foundation two years ago. We’ve already raised millions of pounds for Cancer Research UK and are committed to raising much more.
Today, I am honoured to anounce that the Dallaglio Foundation is now funding the new £2.5m International Cancer Genome Consortium (ICGC) research project into prostate cancer.
Every year in the UK more than 36,000 men are diagnosed with prostate cancer. And every year around 10,000 will die from the disease. The work of the ICGC prostate cancer research project will hopefully go a long way to ensuring that, in the future, more men with prostate cancer will be successfully treated and will enjoy long and happy lives with their loved ones.
I lost my mother Eileen to cancer in 2008, and words cannot adequately describe the sadness that is felt when you lose someone close to you. My mother was an amazing woman. She instilled in me a belief that if you work hard, you can achieve anything. I have built the Dallaglio Foundation on those same beliefs – together we can make a real and personal difference to people’s lives.
Everyone should be ambitious. It’s not simply about shooting for the stars – it’s about seeing what’s beyond the stars. We must always aim to go that bit further. The path of discovery is long and winding but I believe there’s nothing we can’t achieve if we work together – I believe in a future that is free of cancer.
There’s a story about when President John F Kennedy visited a NASA space station and met a janitor who was sweeping the floor. The President asked the man what he was doing and he replied, “I’m working to put a man on the moon.”
This illustrates the type of great teamwork that equals success. It doesn’t matter if you’re the leader of the free world or a cleaner: everyone has a part to play. I’m not a scientist but I am contributing to the cancer research process by leading a group of like-minded, passionate people to help raise the funds that enables Cancer Research UK’s work to be possible.
So when someone asks me what I’m doing as I lead a team at a triathlon or welcome guests to the 8Rocks fundraising ball, I can answer, “I’m helping to beat cancer”.
I was fortunate to experience a lot of success during my rugby playing career and, like many professional sportsmen, that success was acknowledged in the public arena. The scientists that are working every day to better prevent, diagnose and treat cancer are those who deserve to be honoured.
Their work, and the work of everyone at Cancer Research UK, saves lives. This work is funded entirely by donations, and it’s vital that we offer our continued support.
The charity’s success is our success. The Dallaglio Foundation is proud to be a part of Cancer Research UK’s lifesaving work.