RAF News

Military vs Cancer

Military vs Cancer raised an incredible £28,000 during a black-tie Ball at Slaley Hall, in Hexham, Northumberland.  The money raised has been ring-fenced between Macmillan Cancer support and Cancer Research UK, for funding cancer services in the North East only.

"We are blown away by the support from Military vs Cancer and really can’t thank everyone enough for organising this amazing event, despite the ongoing challenge of the pandemic."

Sam Moralee
Cancer Research UK Relationship Manager, North East & Cumbria

235 people attended the glamourous event, with people from Newcastle FC and Sunderland Athletic FC.  A luxurious raffle took place with fabulous prizes including a limited-edition watch personally gifted by Bruce Dickinson, of Iron Maiden fame who is also an ex-pilot.

Military vs Cancer was founded by David and Shelley Bathgate, from Nottingham, after they tragically lost five members from both sides of their family to cancer, in the space of two years.  Starting small, the pair organised several events, soon donating over £94,000 with the help of serving and ex-Service personnel from across the RAF, British Army, and Royal Navy, all united by the devastating loss of lives to cancer.

"It hit us all hard when Sean died.  We wanted to do something for his wife and daughter, so we held an event which was a success and we all felt good about and wanted to build some momentum."

David Bathgate
Founder of Military vs Cancer

Not only does the group aim to raise money, but also spread awareness and encourage people to act upon persistent or unusual symptoms.  David’s brother, John, ignored the symptoms he was experiencing while living in South Africa.  Their father flew John back to the UK, but within 24 hours of landing he sadly fell into a coma and never regained consciousness.   Talking about cancer can be tough and ignoring symptoms becomes a way of hiding the fear of a potential diagnosis.  Therefore, it is so critical people discuss any symptoms with their doctors; it may be harmless, or it may get an early diagnosis and save your life.

The Military vs Cancer group are currently going through the process of registering as their own charity and will continue to raise money for targeted cancer services they support – there are already plans for further events to be held at Slaley Hall next year.

"We are just absolutely delighted to receive this kind of donation and we are so grateful.  It is no secret that Macmillan and the charity sector in general has seen fundraising revenues slashed in the challenging conditions we have all faced over the last 18 months.  And that this has come at a time when our services are needed more than ever."

Jill Campbell
Macmillan Cancer Support Fund Raising Manager, North East

The Macmillan Support Line is a free and confidential phone service providing cancer information and support by specialists; it is available seven days a week, from 8am to 8pm, on 0808 808 00 00.  You can also visit Macmillan Cancer Support for more information.

More can be done to identify the signs of cancer sooner and increase the chance of survival.  Continued donations like those from Military vs Cancer will help improve survival rates, diagnosis, treatment and provide emotional support.