01 Sept 2023

Local NHS Haematology staff walked the whole or sections of the challenging 50 mile ‘Sheffield Way’ to raise funds for the Sheffield Hospitals Charity and mark the 75th anniversary celebrations of the NHS. Halfway through the route, they paused for a Saturday night ‘Garden Fest’ in which Consultants, patients, and other supporters gathered for a music festival that raised over £1000.

The Haematology team, led by Professor John Snowden, Dr Elisa Roldan Galvan and Dr Andrew Chantry, were looking to raise awareness and vital funds for local research into myeloma – a bone marrow cancer affecting around 6000 people in the UK each year, which currently has no cure. The team began their walk on Saturday 8th July, reaching ‘Garden Fest’ later that day, where Snowden, Chantry and fellow musicians entertained crowds with their bands, against a dramatic backdrop of tempestuous English weather.

Dr Andrew Chantry, a keen musician when not at work, helped organise the music festival along with generous garden hosts Julie and Pete Crookes, assisted by Chris Borrowdale on sound, and Luke Seed and Nic and Alison Copley, who did a fantastic job with the bar. Chantry said:

“It was a fantastic evening. We were joined by the walkers and many other supporters, including patients and their families, and we raised vital funds for local research into multiple myeloma and other blood cancers. We are extremely grateful to all those who supported the event providing their music talent, fine beverages and donations for research.”

The team continued the walk in two further stages and finished on 1st August. For the last ten miles, the team were joined by Clive Betts, MP for Sheffield South East, who was diagnosed with multiple Myeloma and treated by Snowden and Chantry, six years ago.

The route was a significant one for Betts, who helped set up the trail and first walked it in 1985 with Sheffield city councillors. Following chemotherapy and a stem transplant for myeloma at the Royal Hallamshire Hospital in 2018, Betts has always been a keen supporter of the cause. Betts explained:

“The brilliant treatment I’ve been so fortunate to receive has been the result of years of highly effective top quality research. With more funds enabling more research many more patients will be able to receive life enhancing treatments in the future”. 

Professor Snowden, Consultant Haematologist, who walked the whole 50 miles of the route, said:

“To celebrate the 75th birthday of the NHS we had a team from the Department of Haematology who completed whole or parts of the challenging trek over three days.

“It was great to have been joined by Mr Betts, who has been one of our longstanding Haematology patients and greatest supporters. Thanks to research and treatment advances in multiple myeloma, Clive has successfully maintained his public duties in the Houses of Parliament over the last six years and easily completed the final 10-mile section through his constituency”.

The ‘Sheffield Way’ starts at the Don Valley canal side and circumnavigates Sheffield via the many valleys, woodlands and moors bordering the city and the Peak District. This includes Stanage and Burbage, whilst passing through historic villages and townships – all of which highlight the city’s unique balance of industrial heritage and wild, open countryside.

The Haematology team has already raised over £1000 for Sheffield Hospitals Charity’s myeloma research fund and hopes that the increased awareness and support will help raise even more, which will be put towards enhancing patient care on the haematology wards and research into myeloma and other blood cancers.

Beth Crackles, Chief Executive of Sheffield Hospitals Charity praised their fundraising efforts:

“It is wonderful to see NHS staff and patients coming together in this way around such life-changing work. The determination and commitment of the Haematology team in their fundraising efforts for new research is so inspiring. Their contributions to our appeal are very gratefully received, and will help us get closer to better treatment and support for those living with multiple myeloma.”

Find more information or donate to Sheffield Hospitals Charity’s myeloma appeal here