Loving husband from Todmorden reaches incredible fundraising target to set up cancer research fellowship in memory of his wife

A husband’s determination to create a lasting legacy to his late wife has resulted in over £115,000 being raised for The Christie Charity to establish The Janet Rooney Fellowship, dedicated to advancing research in hepato-pancreatic biliary (HPB) cancer.
Jenny Powell, Mairead McNamara, Mike Rooney, Professor Juan Valle, Nigel Tobias and David Brooks at Saturday's eventJenny Powell, Mairead McNamara, Mike Rooney, Professor Juan Valle, Nigel Tobias and David Brooks at Saturday's event
Jenny Powell, Mairead McNamara, Mike Rooney, Professor Juan Valle, Nigel Tobias and David Brooks at Saturday's event

The fundraising campaign was initiated by former property agent Mike Rooney, from Todmorden, in memory of his wife Janet.

Mike, along with his friends Nigel Tobias, David Brooks and Paul Whitehead, recently undertook the challenging 500-mile Camino de Santiago trek across France and Spain.

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Together, they embarked on the historic pilgrimage, not only to honour Janet’s memory, but also to raise funds for a Fellowship focused on research into HPB, the rare form of cancer from which Janet passed away earlier this year.

Mike and Janet RooneyMike and Janet Rooney
Mike and Janet Rooney

Their fundraising efforts have exceeded all expectations ~ the initial target was £100,000, which was the amount needed to fund the two-year Fellowship. With additional funds added from a special dinner dance event held last weekend, the total raised is now £115,000.

Hosted by TV and radio presenter Jenny Powell, and held at the Midland Hotel, the gala dinner was a sold-out event to 400 guests.

The evening featured a three-course dinner with music and a quiz, which culminated in an auction and raffle with amazing prizes including a stay at a private Caribbean Island, holidays in Tuscany, Thailand and Barbados and a private dinner with a Michelin starred restaurant, with all proceeds ~ including ticket sales ~ going to the The Christie Charity which supports the work of The Christie NHS Foundation Trust.

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As part of the evening, Professor Juan Valle, the lead clinician of The Christie’s Neuroendocrine Tumour team and the consultant that treated Janet Rooney, took part in a Q&A about HPB, explaining the importance of research into this rare form of cancer. He explained how The Janet Rooney Research Fellowship will have a lasting impact and will allow The Christie to offer cutting edge clinical trials and innovative treatments.

The three trekkersThe three trekkers
The three trekkers

“Janet would have been so, so proud to have seen so many family and friends supporting her and The Christie,” Mike said. “It was a fitting tribute to a beautiful caring person.”

The Janet Rooney Fellowship will serve as a lasting tribute to Janet’s memory, and will play a crucial role in advancing research into HPB cancer, a condition that poses unique challenges in diagnosis and treatment. The Fellowship will provide the necessary resources to propel research efforts forward, making a meaningful impact in the field of cancer research and care.

Louise Hadley, Chief Executive of The Christe Charity said: “We are incredibly grateful to Mike and his friend’s commitment to their fundraising challenges. By funding a research fellow they will not only be honouring Janet’s memory, but also making a very real difference to other patients in the future. Without supporters like them, The Christie would not be able to do the remarkable work it does. We really can’t thank them enough.”

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To support the work of The Christie Charity, please go to Donate today (christie.nhs.uk) or ring 0161 446 3988.

The Christie Charity supports the work of The Christie NHS Foundation Trust providing enhanced services over and above what the NHS funds. This includes money for care and treatment, research, education, and extra patient services. Gifts from the public make a huge difference to the care and treatment that The Christie is able to provide to patients and their families.

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