Carol concert raises £17,000 for Sonowand appeal

11 December 2012

Over 600 people joined the Mayor of Kensington and Chelsea, Cllr Christopher Buckmaster and composer John Rutter for a special Christmas Carol Concert at St Mary Abbotts on Thursday 6 December and helped to raise £17,000 which is going towards a fund to buy a Sonowand for Charing Cross Hospital and help the Brain Tumour Research Campaign (BTRC).

Sonowand is a piece of neurological equipment that provides 3-dimensional ultrasound images which allows surgeons to operate more accurately and improve the outcome for patients. According to the National Cancer Intelligence Network some 840 Londoners are diagnosed each year with a brain, central nervous system or intracranial tumour. This type of cancer has one of the lowest survival rates of all cancers and is responsible for the most deaths from cancer for people aged under 40 years.

Cases are increasing by more than two per cent a year but less than two per cent of all cancer research goes to fund research into brain tumours.

Cllr Buckmaster, who chose to support the BTRC after a close friend was diagnosed with a brain tumour, thanked concert-goers for their support. He said: "all too often we hear of the most dreadful illnesses which strike suddenly and can prove to be life-threatening. The news is devastating for the individuals and those close to them. In their desperation all they want is a magic wand that can be waved to make the whole ghastly situation just go away.

"Sadly my appeal cannot be for a wand of that sort but with your help I am raising money for a type of wand - one that will be a significant help to neurosurgeons when they operate on brain tumours."

The borough was the first to benefit from Sonowand technology neurosurgeon and BTRC co-founder Kevin O'Neil told the audience. "Since then we have discovered that its use can make surgery safer, more accurate and more complete. This translates into patients living longer and this gives the patients more opportunity not just to live life but also reap the benefits from all the other research we are producing," he said.

"Brain tumours are not discerning when it comes to age, sex, colour, creed or class. They can affect anyone," he added.

Among the readers at the concert was Alexandra Dixon who herself underwent surgery with a Sonowand machine in an operation performed by Mr O'Neill in 2007.

The concert is one of a number of events the Mayor is organising to raise funds. Other events planned for 2013 include Easter Fair on Wednesday 13 March at Kensington Town Hall, a dog show on Saturday April 13 and Mayor's Magic Wand Showtime Dinner in the Great Hall, Kensington Town Hall on Thursday 25 April.

To donate to the appeal or for more information on other events email mayor@rbkc.gov.uk or phone 020 7361 2431 or 020 7361 3659
One hundred per cent of all funds raised go to research with all the administration costs being absorbed by the Trustees and volunteers.