“The test for our work should be very simple – have we designed initiatives that would be good enough for your daughter, your son, mother, husband, wife? Would it be good enough for you?”
This was the call to arms given by Jess Mills on 6 November 2019 when TJBCM members came together to reflect on the last year’s progress and discuss plans for the year ahead.
The day was opened by Professor Richard Gilbertson and Dr Nicky Huskens who provided an overview of the milestones achieved and plans for next year which was followed by more detailed updates from each of the Strategic Programme Leads. Key items discussed were the Tessa Jowell Fellowships for oncology (Dr Sarah Jefferies), Tessa Jowell BRAIN-MATRIX (Prof Colin Watts), BRIAN (Clare Normand), initiatives to improve patient quality of life (Dr Helen Bulbeck), novel research ideas (Prof Steve Pollard), initiatives to speed up the opening of new trials (Nicky Huskens), and upcoming data and technology ideas (Lord O’Shaughnessy).
It was an opportunity for our members to provide feedback and shape our initiatives, which was evidenced by some very lively and engaging open floor discussions.
Professor Richard Gilbertson looked back on the day and concluded that today’s meeting was amazing. “The day flew by as we discussed progress and plans for the future. This is definitely one of the most exciting and progressive ventures I have had the privilege to be involved in.”
Progress is however also much needed as Jess underlined in her commemoration of Steve: “There is no more cruel reminder of the urgency of our work than the fact that one of our passionate and committed members is not with us today. We remember Steve for this his warmth and modesty, passionately committed to contribute meaningfully to this mission. So much of what happened to Steve demonstrates the need for every aspect of our work and I just ask that we can hold him and his family in our minds today as we talk about our plans for this next year.”
Although much has been done there is even more to do, the meeting was imbued with a palpable sense of excitement and hope about what is yet to come. At the end of the day, Jess reflected that Tessa would have been incredibly proud if she had been with us here today.