About the Fund

On the 20th September 2010 Plum lost her battle with pancreatic cancer. Her death was a huge shock as she had only been diagnosed four months previously - but the Layton's experience wasn’t exceptional. Pancreatic cancer kills 7,000 people in the UK every year and, to the vast majority, it is a death sentence. The one chance of recovery is if the doctors are able to operate but this is only possible in 10-20% of cases. Even then, 80-90% of these patients will relapse and die within 5 years. Surgery was not an option for Plum. No treatments actually cure pancreatic cancer so she had to decide whether to brave chemotherapy knowing that it would only extend her life by months but, as is the case for all patients who aren't able to have surgery, she wouldn’t live longer than around a year.

Research into pancreatic cancer is desperately needed. Over the last decade doctors have hit a brickwall as no new treatments have improved patients overall survival. Indeed doctors are still using the same treatment that was established 13 years ago. Pancreatic cancer has now moved into the bottom of the league tables in terms of progress in treating individual cancers. This fact is even more shocking as only 1% of cancer research has ultimately focused on the pancreas.

We hosted a party in May 2011 with the target being raising a minimum of £75,000. We had this as a target as it would have funded a senior researcher for a year to join a five year project which aims to discover new ways to treat pancreatic cancer. We decided to focus our fundraising this way as, unlike giving money to a large organization and fearing that much would be lost in administrative costs, we could be 100% certain that it will go just where it is needed – to discover ways of beating this dreaded disease. It was also because this project is being lead by Dr Wasan, who as Plum’s oncologist, gave her inspiration and comfort. We have huge faith in him as he leads the gastrointestinal clinical research programme at Hammersmith Hospital, Imperial College London and is also involved in the UK National Cancer research institute steering committees in gastrointestinal cancers. The Research Unit is very happy to provide any information that they can and indeed arrange visits to see what is being done.

Plum relished every aspect of a good party. She loved organizing them, making sure she had a new outfit and, of course, the occasion itself. It just felt right that this was the best way we can raise money for such a good cause.

As it turned out our targets were exceeded in a way we didn't think possible thanks to the generosity of everyone who donated prizes, came to the party and who bidded so generously for the fantastic prizes.