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James, who leads clinical trials at Guy

Mum’s diagnosis fuels James's fundraising passion

James and his family were devastated when his mum was diagnosed with cancer. Now, he helps to lead and fund research to help others going through the same ordeal.

Without the kind of vital research that James’s oversees daily at Guy’s Cancer, he knows that his mum’s cancer journey might have taken a different path. 

Aged 19 and in the second year of his Biomedical Sciences degree, James Calvert was in a lecture when he received the devastating news that his mum, Barbara, had been diagnosed with breast cancer.

Barbara is now ten years cancer-free, but this close experience with the disease galvanised James’s passion for his work in cancer research.

We’re not just looking for a silver bullet that will cure cancer, but also to make the quality of life and experience of cancer treatment better.

James, who leads clinical trials at Guy's Cancer
James and his Mum outside

As the Clinical Trials Manager at Guy’s Cancer, James works with clinicians and researchers to deliver pioneering studies. For him and his team, the goal is to improve patient experience, enhance treatments, and expand the range of treatment options available – enabling the personalised, tailored care which is at the heart of Guy’s Cancer.

As James explains, having these options is key: “I know from first-hand experience how scary a cancer diagnosis can be for a family. Having a range of treatments just makes that a little bit less scary, in that you feel like you’ve got some control over that situation.”

James in a white shirt, smiling

This crucial research not only advances cancer care for future patients, but also enables current patients at Guy’s Cancer to participate in ground-breaking trials. “As well as helping people in their position further down the line, the trials we’re running can also have a direct impact on their cancer journey and quality of life.”

And, in James’ view, Guy’s Cancer is perfectly placed to deliver this innovative research and pioneering trials.

“Guy’s Cancer is such a pioneering treatment centre because we’ve got the infrastructure that so many other places don’t,” says James. “The dedicated Cancer Centre brings together clinicians, research staff, nurses and a huge number of patients which means that we’re able to collaborate, foster ideas and understand cancer pathways much better.”

Raising money for Guy’s Cancer is really important to me because I see first-hand the impact that the funding has on the lives of the patients, and on our ability to deliver world-class research.

James running the marathon

James sees the impact of donations at Guy’s Cancer on a daily basis, with our supporters helping to fund expert staff and essential equipment. Put simply, these donations “foster the innovation that we need to improve patients’ cancer journeys.”

That’s why he’s decided to take on his very own fundraising challenge for Guy’s Cancer Charity – running the London Marathon.

Every penny that James raises will help fund the pioneering work taking place at Guy’s Cancer, ensuring that he and his outstanding team can continue learning, innovating, and creating the future of cancer care – so more people like his mum can get their priceless all-clear.

“It’s always a scary time to have to come through those cancer centre doors as a patient, but if we can be part of a reason why someone feels more comfortable and more at home, then I think that’s fantastic.”


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