Mandee Lucas, Cathy Brokenshire and Fiona Castle with their awards
UK GLCC members recognise campaigners’ efforts to promote awareness
London, July 31st 2023
Three remarkable women, whose lives have all been affected by lung cancer, proudly received Special Recognition awards on the eve of this year’s World Lung Cancer Day.
Fiona Castle and Cathy Brokenshire both lost their husbands to the disease, while Mandee Lucas was diagnosed with lung cancer in 2017. All three have individually and collectively dedicated their time and energies to campaigning to improve awareness of the disease, promoting greater understanding of its signs and symptoms, and calling for the implementation of a national targeted lung cancer screening programme across the UK.
Last year, the BBC television Breakfast news magazine show featured their stories as key elements within a series of reports about lung cancer and proposals for expanding targeted lung health check pilot schemes into a proper national screening programme.
One report featured Cathy Brokenshire meeting Fiona Castle at her home – read about that here.
Cathy’s husband, the Rt Hon James Brokenshire MP, was a member of the UK Government. James was first diagnosed with lung cancer in late 2017. He had treatment, but his cancer returned and he died in October 2021. He was just 53. Cathy took on the work he began in raising the public profile of lung cancer, seeking to tackle the stigma that can surround the illness. Cathy is passionate in promoting ways to improve early diagnosis in order to produce better outcomes for all. She is now a Trustee of Roy Castle Lung Cancer Foundation.
Fiona Castle was married to show business legend Roy Castle from 1963 until his death from lung cancer in September 1994. Roy generously gave much of his final few months of life to promoting ‘The Tour of Hope’, a railway journey criss-crossing Britain to raise money for research focused on lung cancer. Following Roy’s death, Fiona took up the challenge of continuing his work. She undertook further gruelling Tours of Hope, crossing the globe to learn and share knowledge about lung cancer. Now the charity the couple did so much to support is known as Roy Castle Lung Cancer Foundation. Fiona remains actively dedicated to promoting awareness and supporting research into the disease, and is closely involved with the charity.
The impact of the pictures of the these two women, meeting and sharing their experiences, was immediate and immense.
Mandee Lucas is the fourth generation of her family to get lung cancer – her mother, grandmother and great grandmother all died of it. Her own disease was caught at a very early stage – by accident, when she was scanned for a problem with her pancreas – but it proved to be very aggressive in its growth. She had surgery and has undergone regular scans and monitoring since. A true fighter, Mandee has also had to face a diagnosis of breast cancer, for which she is still receiving treatment. She shared her story as part of a Lung Cancer Awareness Month campaign (‘Like Me’, in 2019) and is now a Trustee of the Foundation.
Mandee shared the BBC Breakfast sofa with Cathy to comment on the need for lung cancer screening. Their meeting too formed a key part of a report package,
Later in the same year, 2022, Cathy and Fiona were invited back to the same television studio, along with Professor David Baldwin, to discuss the impact of the NHS England Targeted Lung Health Check pilots and the imminent recommendation that the UK Government should expand them to a full targeted screening programme.
This appearance in particular prompted a significant response – engagement with the charity’s social media channels and information services skyrocketed, and, as we now know, the targeted screening programme is being implemented in England, with – hopefully – the rest of the UK to follow.
The GLCC Special Recognition award, from all three UK GLCC member organisations, acknowledges the depth and breadth of the impact these three outstanding campaigners, advocates and ambassadors have achieved through their hard work, intelligence, force of personality, compassion, and above all dedication.
Paula Chadwick, CEO of Roy Castle Lung Cancer Foundation, presented the awards at a special lunch held at the Institute of Directors in Pall Mall, central London.
She said, ”Thank you for all your support, commitment and everything you are doing, not just for Roy Castle Lung Cancer Foundation, but for lung cancer globally. You are amazing women”.
The awards were approved by the two other UK GLCC member organisations.
Sarah Woolnough, CEO of Asthma + Lung UK, was delighted to second their nominations, and Jackie Fenemore, former chair of Lung Cancer Nursing UK agreed. She added that they ‘fully supported this nomination in recognition of the terrific work these women have done and are still doing to help people with lung cancer”.
Mandee Lucas said, ”We’re all so proud to receive these awards. We’re all just determined to do all we can to help the cause and make a difference”
Cathy Brokenshire agreed, adding, ”It’s not about any one of us, or even all of us. It’s teamwork, isn’t it? It takes a team to get things done, and we’re so pleased that England is introducing a targeted screening programme, but we now need to see about the rest of the UK. And that’s just a start. We need other ways, and better ways, to help people who don’t fit the criteria for screening, to get an early diagnosis. Neither James nor Roy Castle would have been eligible for the screening programme, so there’s much still to do, isn’t there?”
Fiona Castle added, ”Research will be the key to bringing about the changes we need to see, both here in the UK and right round the world. This award is for everyone involved in the fight against lung cancer.”