August 2011 Newsletter

Welcome to the August edition of the makeabigdifference newsletter.

Everyone loves chocolate….right? but did you know that a little dark chocolate a day literally will keep the doctor at bay? Read on to find out the reason why.

We express our thanks to those who have fundraised over the last month, including Jamie Hiles; a Manchester shop keeper who for the last couple of months has had a donation bucket by his till. We speak to him to find out why he decided to support our charity.

We also bring you the latest Katie’s Corner, fundraising idea of the month and the latest cancer news which this month focuses on an exciting new leukaemia drug in the pipeline.

Plus much more.

Until next month


Kim Doran

New leukemia treatment exceeds ‘wildest expectations’ 

A single shot could be one of the biggest advances in cancer research in decades, scientists say. But the research almost didn’t happen. 

Doctors have treated only three leukemia patients, but the sensational results from a single shot could be one of the most significant advances in cancer research in decades. And it almost never happened.

In the research published Wednesday, doctors at the University of Pennsylvania say the treatment made the most common type of leukemia completely disappear in two of the patients and reduced it by 70 percent in the third.  In each of the patients as much as five pounds of cancerous tissue completely melted away in a few weeks, and a year later it is still gone.

The results of the preliminary test “exceeded our wildest expectations,” says immunologist Dr. Carl June a member of the Abramson Cancer Center’s research team.

Dr. Edgar Engleman, a cancer immunologist at Stanford University School of Medicine who was not involved in the research calls the results “remarkable”.

The Penn scientists targeted chroniclymphocytic leukemia (CLL), the most common type of the blood disease. It strikes some 15,000 people in the United States, mostly adults, and kills 4,300 every year. Chemotherapy and radiation can hold this form of leukemia at bay for years, but until now the only cure has been a bone marrow transplant. A bone marrow transplant requires a suitable match, works only about half the time, and often brings on severe, life-threatening side effects such as pain and infection.

In the Penn experiment, the researchers removed certain types of white blood cells that the body uses to fight disease from the patients. Using a modified, harmless version of HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, they inserted a series of genes into the white blood cells.  These were designed to make to cells target and kill the cancer cells.  After growing a large batch of the genetically engineered white blood cells, the doctors injected them back into the patients.

In similar past experimental treatments for several types of cancer the re-injected white cells killed a few cancer cells and then died out. But the Penn researchers inserted a gene that made the white blood cells multiply by a thousand fold inside the body. The result, as researcher June put it, is that the white blood cells became “serial killers” relentlessly tracking down and killing the cancer cells in the blood, bone marrow and lymph tissue.

As the white cells killed the cancer cells, the patients experienced the fevers and aches and pains that one would expect when the body is fighting off an infection, but beyond that the side effects have been minimal.

Doctors had told Bill Ludwig, one of the research volunteers that he would die from his leukemia within weeks. Then he got the experimental treatment a year ago.

With tears welling up, he told NBC, “I’m more closer to the people I love and I appreciate them more… I’m getting emotional… the grass is greener and flowers smell wonderful.”

The other two patients have chosen to remain anonymous but one who happens to be a scientist himself wrote,  “I am still trying to grasp the enormity of what I am a part of  — and of what the results will mean to countless others with CLL or other forms of cancer. When I was a young scientist, like many I’m sure, I dreamed that I might make a discovery that would make a difference to mankind – I never imagined I would be part of the experiment.”

So why has this remarkable treatment been tried so far on only three patients?

Both the National Cancer Institute and several pharmaceutical companies declined to pay for the research. Neither applicants nor funders discuss the reasons an application is turned down. But good guesses are the general shortage of funds and the concept tried in this experiment was too novel and, thus, too risky for consideration.

The researchers did manage to get a grant from the Alliance for Cancer Gene Therapy, a charity founded by Barbara and Edward Netter after their daughter-in-law died of cancer. The money was enough to finance the trials on the first three patients.

With results for the three patients published Wednesday simultaneously in the New England Journal of Medicine and Science Translational Medicine, money for further studies — not just in this one type of leukemia, but in other cancers — will likely pour in from both the government and drug companies.

It is important to emphasize that there still have been only three patients. Over the past century, many attempts to harness the body’s immune system to fight cancer have shown initial success and subsequent failure. So much research remains to be done to prove just how good this treatment is. But it should begin soon, with great vigor.

Sourced from:

Pets At Home Donation

Young Heroes’ Health Co-ordinator Bev Law and volunteer husband Rob were recently approached by a young hero called Katie Davison who had an unusual request for the charity.

Katie knew a young man called Stephen Myers who lived in the nearby village of Huntington.  Stephen, aged just 29, sadly passed away on 6th August from a brain tumour which was only diagnosed weeks before his death.

Stephen was a keen footballer and a dedicated family man who left behind wife Vicki and their 4 month old baby son, Toby.

The young couple had a pet rabbit and guinea pig who had recently eaten through the side of the hutch and kept escaping into the garden.  Katie asked if Young Heroes would be able to assist in getting a new hutch for the pets, which would be one less thing to worry about for Vicki.

Bev and Rob immediately approached Pets at Home in York armed with information about Young Heroes and a brief summary on the story.

They  were over the moon when store Manager Danny Lydiate said they would donate a brand new double rabbit hutch.  On collection of the hutch, Danny also gave them a bag of pet goodies worth £20 to pass onto Vicki and Toby.

On behalf of Young Heroes I would like to send our sincere condolences to Stephen’s family.

We would like to thank Pets at Home in York for their generosity.

Pets At Home

Clifton Moor Centre
4 Stirling Road
YO30 4XZ

Fundraising idea of the month

‘Back to School’

 With the kids going back to school in less than 2 weeks, now is the time to think about potential fundraisers. 

With students, teachers and their families helping out, no fundraising venture is too large to consider.  

Non-Uniform or Fancy Dress Day

Perhaps the most well-known of school fundraisers, non-uniform days are a fantastic way to raise money for Young Heroes. Students pay a small donation and are allowed to come to school in their regular clothes or, for special occasions like Halloween, in fancy dress.

With your entire school participating, you can raise quite a lot of money from just this one fundraising activity.

School-wide Sponsored Activity

Sponsored activities are another way to raise money in a school setting. Kids appreciate any break from the normal routine of lessons, so sponsored activities are a great fundraising motivator.


Students pledge to read as many books as possible within a set period of time.  They can collect flat donations from their relatives or receive a donation based on the number of books they read.  English teachers love this one!

Sponsored run or sporting activity

Set up a race or obstacle course in the school yard and see how many times the students can complete this course.  With the school’s permission, you can even provide certificates or prizes for speed and endurance.

Quiz day

Hold a quiz day for all the students, with age-specific questions for each subject.  Students can collect donations for the number of questions they’ll answer correctly, and the winner gets a prize or trophy.

School event fundraising

In addition to holding sponsored activities, schools are also fantastic venues for fundraising events like talent shows.

If the school already has a choir, ask them to prepare a special programme that can be performed one evening.  Invite everyone from the community and charge admission, with proceeds benefiting Young Heroes.

You can sell refreshments and snacks to raise additional funds.

Alternatively, you can ask groups of students to put an act together into a school-wide talent show.   Charge admission into the show and make sure to give out prizes for the top act, the funniest and the most creative talents.  The kids will love participating and the fundraising event is sure to be a big hit in your local community too.

Involving the School in your Fundraising

The first step to getting any school involved in fundraising is to discuss your plans with the headmaster.  Depending on the type of fundraising event you’d like to have, you may also need support from teachers and from the community.

In most cases, schools are happy to help out with a charitable cause, especially if it can also be used as a learning experience for their students.

Sports Challenge 2011/2012 

As part of our summer fundraising drive we are asking supporters up and the country to take part in a range of events and activities to help us raise precious funds for young people affected by cancer. 

Each month we will hand pick a selection of sporting events; so whether you are a beginner, seasoned athlete or general thrill-seeker there is an event for you. 

Sponsored Treks 

What? Iceland Trek 2012

See some of the most spectacular wilderness areas in Europe on this fantastic Iceland Trek.  Not only will you be experiencing a trip of a lifetime, it might even change your life!  Meet new friends and raise funds for Young Heroes.

When? 4th July – 8th July 2012

Where? Iceland

Closing date? ASAP to avoid disappointment

For further information:

Call:  020 7424 5533
or book online at:

What? China Wall Trek 2012

Join us on the trip of a lifetime as we trek the Great Wall, visit Beijing and discover China’s amazing cultural past!!

When? 10th May – 19th May 2012

Where? China

Closing date? ASAP to avoid disappointment

For further information:

Call:  020 7424 5533
or book online at:

Sponsored Cycle 

What? UK Coast to Coast Cycle

The aim of this charity challenge is as simple as its name suggests – to conquer the breadth of Britain by bike!

When? 5th April – 8th April 2012

Where? Whitehaven

Closing date? ASAP to avoid disappointment

For further information:

Call:  01244 676454
or book online at:

Sponsored Sailing 

What? Around The Clock Sailing Challenge

This is your chance to experience the thrill of sailing a wonderful classic 46ft yawl racing boat! Joining a professional skipper and mate, you and your fellow challengers will sail from Poole to the Channel Islands.

When? 9th May – 13th May 2012

Where? Poole

Closing date? ASAP to avoid disappointment

For further information:

Call:  01722 718444
or book online at:


Bev & Robs Diary

On the 3rd August 2011, Robert and I made a trip to Thorton Cleveleys near Blackpool, to visit a newly referred Young Hero, Jenny Aitchison to present her with £90 of Topshop vouchers made up to £100 by a donation of £10 for Katie Brooman’s cards.

The vouchers were a gift from Lanzarote Mother’s Union. During the Lanzarote respite breaks, the Mother’s Union offer gifts to the Young Heroes and their families; however, as we are unable to provide respite breaks this year, the Mother’s Union wanted to maintain their giving and offered the vouchers instead.

Jenny is a 21 year old living alone, supporting herself in her own home. Jenny has suffered with tumours in her spine and brain since she was 12 years old and has had 9 operations to date. She has spent long period in hospital and a care home prior to being offered her current home. She is an amazing young lady who has sadly experienced the loss of both her mom and dad. She manages to care for herself in spite of being wheelchair bound for most of the time, thanks to the use of adaptions in her home.

It was an inspiring visit and we were welcomed with such warmth by Jenny who was thrilled to receive the vouchers. We spent a wonderful time with her and were able to put her in touch with a local Church, who has offered to visit her, to see if they can help to provide a ramp from her kitchen into the back garden. Unfortunately, the local council have told her they cannot provide a ramp for two years. We hope that the Church may offer her other support and friendship as they have many young members. It would be a nice thought if they could also offer to do some gardening!!

Jenny is a keen supporter of Blackpool Football Club fan and attends all their matches, although she admits to becoming very uncomfortable when sitting for long periods in her wheelchair, but she says it’s well worth it, especially when they win!

One of her biggest dreams is to meet Blackpool Football Club team members and with the help of Bev and Rob her dream will become reality soon; the club have agreed to meet Jenny.  We look forward to sharing the photos with you.

How many other young people do you know who live in this way, coping with a life threatening illness, and stay so positive? When we asked Jenny what makes her so determined, after all that she has experienced through her young years, she says “I am very much like my mum was, and she was a positive lady who got on with life, whatever was thrown at her”. If we all take a leaf out of Jenny’s book, then what an amazing change we would all experience.

We look forward to revisiting Jenny and maybe being able to take her out when she has taken delivery of her new lightweight wheelchair. If anyone has any more ideas on how we could help this very brave, extraordinary young lady, please contact us…..we would love to hear from you!

Robert and Bev

Beat cancer with nutrition

Decrease Your Cancer Risk With Dark Chocolate

Everyone gets excited at the thought of eating decadent chocolate and also receiving tremendous health benefits. There’s no doubt that this superfood is healthy, but the catch is that you need to control how much and which kind of chocolate you decide to include in your daily diet.

The Facts

To get the maximum benefits of chocolate, eat 1 to 2 oz. per day and choose dark chocolate, preferably one that is made of 65 percent cocoa.

The reason? Chocolate is made from cacao beans, which are an extremely high source of antioxidants. Therefore, the higher the concentration of cocoa in the chocolate, the bigger antioxidant punch you’ll get.

The Darker, the Better

Flavonoids are the particular class of antioxidants highly concentrated in dark chocolate, some in the form of procyanidins (catechin and epicatechin). Flavonoids are found in hundreds of foods that we eat, from red wine and nuts to olives and tea to berries. Shortly after we eat chocolate, the flavonoids–especially the catechins–are absorbed from the intestines to assert their antioxidant and antiplatelet, or heart-healthy, qualities throughout the body.

Research is Ongoing

Research is emerging in the area of dark chocolate and cancer. There are numerous ongoing studies; some are conducted in cell lines, others are in animals, and only a handful are conducted in humans. Research certainly provides a reality check and helps guide our recommendations for consuming this food once thought to be sinful.

Preclinical studies (not in humans) have shown that flavonoids in chocolate stop cell division, which could potentially inhibit development of a cancerous tumor. In addition, a study published in the “American Journal of Nutrition 2005” (Sies, et al) showed that the intake of flavonoid-rich chocolate decreased the concentrations of proinflammatory enzymes. 

 Low Fat Creamy Chocolate Mousse


50 g dark chocolate

1/3 dup of vanilla Fruche

1/3 cup of light evaporated milk

1/3 cup of low fat plain yogurt

1 Tbs drinking cocoa

1 Tbs brandy essence (ahh, the flavor without those useless cals!)

1 Tbs Kahlua imitation essence (or coffee essence)

1/4 cup of boiling water

4 egg whites

1/4 cup of Splenda (artificial sweetener without aspartame)

6 strawberries 


  • Mix the Fruche, milk and yogurt in a large bowl.
  • Then add the drinking chocolate, brandy and kahlua essences to the melted chocolate, mixing well.
  • Mix the chocolate with the yogurt mixture stirring well.
  • Whisk the egg whites in a separate bowl adding the sweetener, and then pour onto the chocolate mixture.
  • Pour into 6 containers and chill for about 3 hours.
  • Cut the strawberries in halves and decorate the mousse when set.

Sheer low fat chocolate recipe indulgence!

With thanks

Young Heroes would like to thank Jamie Hiles of Manchester for his extremely kind donation of £67.94.  Jamie is the owner of newsagent  JC News in Pendlebury and for the past few months has had charity collection buckets on his counter.

We would of course like to thank all of the customers who donated their spare change to make up this fantastic amount.  Small change really does make a big difference!

Jamie says “I chose to support the charity simply because of the millions of charities that are about I’ve actually seen first hand what Young Heroes donations actually goes towards and provides and the end result of what the donations actually bring is fantastic”.

Thank you

Young Heroes would like to thank Anth Clark of Sunderland for raising a fantastic €120 for shaving his 25 year trade-mark moustache off whilst on holiday.

Well done Anth and thank you for your support.

Katie’s Corner

In this month’s Katie’s Corner I would like to express my thanks to a few people;

A big thank you to Sandra North who took some of our cards to sell to family and friends, Sandra raised a brilliant £30.  If you can sell any cards to family and friends please get in touch with me,

Also I would like to thank my Mum (Lyn Brooman) for knitting an item to help a friend, leading to Anne kindly making a donation to Impact Young Heroes.

Thank you all.

Posted in Newsletters and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , .