John Barnes

John Barnes

Patient Advocate

It was my pleasure to attend the Grand Challenge Summit 2020 at Windsor, UK in February. I was representing the Optimisticc Team with fellow patient advocates Laura Porter and Candace Henley.

The background conversation to the event was  about a virus circulating in the Wuhan region of China. Little did we realise at the time what a devastating effect both in human and economic terms that Covid 19 was to have in most of the nations throughout the world. Had the Summit been just a few days later, it would have had to be cancelled as nation after nation went into lockdown.

But it did go ahead and what an excellent forum it turned out to be. It showcased CRUK’s ‘bold ambition of harnessing the brightest minds from across the globe to find new solutions to cancers greatest challenges’ and the progress each team had made to date.

As a cancer survivor, and in my role as a patient advocate, my interest is to ensure that any such research improves the diagnosis, treatment and outcomes of all those that may fall victim of cancer in future years.

It is obvious that CRUK has recruited the best of the best in cancer research. I was impressed by both the knowledge of all of the Principal Investigators and their total commitment to achieve the aims of the Grand Challenge. Clearly a great deal of progress has already been achieved by all of the 7 programs that comprise of Grand Challenge Rounds 1 and 2.  I look forward to next year’s updates. (please click onto the link to CRUK on our home page for more information)

One thing that really stood out was the level of cooperation that had been established between research institutions and universities throughout the world. I believe that the Grand Challenge is quite unique in this respect. The benefit of working together cannot be underestimated!

I left the conference buoyed with the prospect that ‘we will beat cancer’ and that CRUK had built the team to do just that. Rest assured Optimisticc will play their part in this in full!

I am delighted to be just a very small part of this wonderful and inspiring challenge.