Ospreys name Stepping Stones Appeal as 2012/13

The Ospreys today announced details of a new partnership with Velindre Cancer Centre that sees the Stepping Stones Appeal confirmed as the region's official charity for 2012/13.

The new partnership will see the Ospreys work closely with Velindre to promote Stepping Stones over the next year, with a number of high profile events aiming to raise awareness of the charity and its work. A charity jersey will be launched later this year that will be worn in the Ospreys LV= Cup campaign, featuring the official Stepping Stones Appeal logo, with a donation from each jersey sold going to the charity. There will also be bucket collections at both the LV= Cup fixtures and at the Ospreys v Scarlets derby fixture at the Liberty Stadium.

Velindre Cancer Centre launched the Stepping Stones Appeal, a lung cancer research programme, to both increase awareness of their work and to raise the money necessary to continue to fund and expand their research programmes.

Andrew Morris, Head of Fundraising at Velindre, said:

“This is a very significant development for lung cancer research in Wales; the profile gained from a partnership with the PRO12 Champions cannot be underestimated. We are absolutely delighted to be charity partners with the Ospreys and look forward to a very successful relationship.”

Ospreys Chief Operations Officer, Andrew Hore, commented:

"The Stepping Stones Appeal is one that is close to most Welsh rugby fans hearts after the Captain’s Climb almost two years ago. We are delighted to be teaming up with Velindre Cancer Centre to help raise awareness of the fantastic work that they do, which has a real impact on the local communities of Ospreylia.

“We believe that the partnership will help to raise awareness of their work significantly, as well as helping raise considerable additional funds that can be put to good use in helping the fight against lung cancer.”

There are nearly 2,200 people diagnosed with lung cancer in Wales each year, with an increasing number who have never smoked. More people are surviving cancer than ever before thanks to early detection and better treatment. Although lung cancer is the most common form of cancer death in Wales, lung cancer research has been relatively poorly supported compared to other higher profile forms of cancer. It is estimated by 2015 there will be a 30% increase in the most common forms of cancer in Wales.

Following the success of a number of fundraising initiatives including the Captains Climb to summit Mount Kilimanjaro, Mair’s Walk and the Stepping Stones Rugby Gala Dinners, over £350,000 has been invested enabling the Wales Cancer Bank to be able to collect lung cancer samples for the first time ever. These samples will then be used by researchers around the world to improve understanding of lung cancer, which will help in the search for new treatments.

Ospreys Forwards Coach, Jonathan Humphreys was among fifteen former Wales captains who climbed Mount Kilimanjaro as part of the Captain’s Climb in aid of Stepping Stones and he said it’s great news that the Ospreys have appointed Stepping Stones as it’s official charity partner:

“Lung cancer is a horrible illness that has touched the lives of everybody. To be able to help the fight in whatever small way we can as an organisation is important and I certainly hope that our partnership will help to raise the profile of Stepping Stones as well as generating much needed funding.”

Jason Lester, who heads up the lung cancer operation at Velindre, said:

“Living locally, my family and I are season ticket holders at Swansea City Football Club but this fantastic news will definitely mean us visiting the Liberty even more! This will be a wonderful boost for the Stepping Stones Appeal and will help us to raise even more money for research into lung cancer which will benefit people across Wales.”

The Stepping Stones Appeal will provide:

- Funding for lung cancer research projects. It is increasingly difficult to fund research in medicine. Increased income means we will be able to provide support for Welsh lead research projects looking at improving patient care. Many scientists are dependent on short term grants and do not have permanent jobs.

- Educational grants to doctors, nurses and other health professionals involved in the care of lung cancer patients in Wales. This will help us to provide the best care possible for lung cancer patients.

- Equipment provision.  Advances in technology mean that treatment is being delivered more efficiently and safely. The Stepping Stones Appeal will help purchase equipment to improve the way we treat lung cancer patients in Wales.

About Velindre Cancer Centre

Velindre Cancer Centre is the largest non - surgical cancer Hospital in Wales providing Radiotherapy, Chemotherapy and other specialised anti-cancer treatments for over half the people of Wales.

We have been providing support and care to cancer patients in South Wales for over 50 years. Every possible effort is made to ensure that each visit to Velindre is as comfortable as possible, and our experienced staff aim to provide high quality care to patients and their families.

On average every year Velindre Cancer Centre provides care, treatment and support for over 130,000 out patients and day cases.

It is this commitment to high quality care which means that Velindre is widely regarded as being a Centre of Excellence. We have a fully integrated award winning Therapies team which includes Physiotherapy, Occupational Therapy, Dietetics, Speech and Language Therapy, Lymphoedema and Complementary Therapies.

Velindre Cancer Centre is the first Cancer Centre in Europe to have a totally integrated service for patients in most need – our Active Support Unit provides the highest standards of care and quality support to palliative care cancer patients.

More people in Wales survive cancer now than ever before thanks to early detection and better treatments. It is estimated that by 2015 there will be a 30% increase in the most common forms of cancer in Wales; we are determined to raise the money necessary to enable us to meet these new challenges.

If you would like more information please visit www.velindrefundraising.com, email info@velindrefundraising.com or call Velindre Fundraising on 029 2031 6211.