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Trustees

The trustees’ role is to ensure that the charity keeps to its stated objectives and is run fully in accordance with all current UK charity law. Thank you to our trustees for all they do to help Fight Bladder Cancer grow. 

John Hester

Chair 
A bladder cancer patient, John became the Chair of trustees after a period as Treasurer. Now retired, John was the financial controller at a waste management company in Wales. Throughout all his operations, he maintained a strong focus on sustainability and innovation, sourcing technologies and embracing best practices which helped the company reduce its environmental impact and benefit local communities. John remains in close partnership with several local county councils, raising awareness of bladder cancer and supporting community projects. He promotes the NHS "Blood in Pee" campaign in Wales, and he leads Fight Bladder Cancer's UK-wide campaign to ensure that as many accessible toilets as possible display a "Not All Disabilities Are Visible" sign.

"The charity is a patient-led organisation. Fight Bladder Cancer is making a dramatic difference to the lives of people affected by bladder cancer. I hope to meet many of you – dedicated patients and carers, supporters and friends – as we all work so hard together to improve the outcomes and quality of life for people affected by bladder cancer."

Deborah Major

Vice Chair

Deb is a bladder cancer patient, and a lecturer at Brockenhurst College - nationally recognised for excellence and innovation in further education based in New Forest. She is an active member of the private online Fight Bladder Cancer forum, and has created amazing videos to share her reasons for supporting the charity. She has organised the Fight Bladder Cancer Southern Soirée, the Southampton bladder cancer support group, and the Bournemouth Bladder Cancer Wee Walk.

"I was diagnosed with bladder cancer in 2012. I found Fight Bladder Cancer, joined the forum, and suddenly didn't feel lost and lonely anymore. I was honoured to be asked to be a Trustee because I wanted to give back to the charity that had helped me through frightening times in my life."

 

Prof Alison Birtle

Alison is a consultant oncologist, Manchester University Academic Health Science Centre Honorary Clinical Professor, and Honorary Clinical Professor at the University of Central Lancashire. Alison undertook general medical and specialist registrar oncology training in London Charing Cross and Westminster. She completed her MD Thesis at the Institute of Urology, University College London, and the Academic Urology Unit, Royal Marsden Hospital. She is past Chair of the National Cancer Research Institute bladder clinical study group. Her research interests include systemic therapy, chemoradiation, radiotherapy, and survivorship. 

"There is much more to do to raise awareness and funding for this common cancer. The patient voice in bladder cancer must be heard."

Dr Andrew Dearden 

Andrew has been happily married for over 35 years, with three wonderful daughters, three marvellous son-in-laws and 5 grandchildren. He qualified as a GP in 1994, practicing in the Cardiff area. He was active in the British Medical Association serving in various roles both at Wales and UK levels finally as Treasurer of the British Medical Association until 2018. He has served on several Boards including the British Medical Association and British Medical Journal. He served as Treasurer of the World Medical Association and internal auditor for the CPME (Standing Committee for European Doctors). He returned to full-time GP Clinical work early in 2020 at the outbreak of the Covid pandemic. He has also served on several other charity boards in the past.   

"I joined the Trustee board of Fight Bladder Cancer to utilise my medical and financial skills to help develop and expand the excellent work of Fight Bladder Cancer."

 

 

Valerie Hester 

Valerie is the carer of a bladder cancer patient. Before her retirement, she had a long career as a nurse within the NHS and attained the position of Lead Maternity Specialist in Wales. She has experience caring for patients with complex needs, and worked to improve the quality of services and outcomes for patients and carers. She is passionate about nursing and believes everyone has the right to the highest possible standard of respectful medical care.

"I became a Trustee because Fight Bladder Cancer is a worthy charity. I support its mission. All patients and carers are entitled to be treated with dignity and respect and should be fully involved in decisions affecting their treatment, care, and support."

Dorothy Markham 

Dorothy was diagnosed with bladder cancer in February 2016. During her journey, she realised that there was very little information for the public on bladder cancer. She got in touch with Andrew Winterbottom, founder of Fight Bladder Cancer, who gave her knowledge on how she could raise awareness and work for Fight Bladder Cancer. 

Scotland has been her home for over 40 years, so setting up a Scottish steering group four years ago gave her an excellent opportunity to move forward with Fight Bladder Cancer. The group has been able to get face-to-face meetings with many Scottish MSPs and keep them advised of developments within Scotland. The Scottish Steering Group are now within close reach of setting up the Scottish charity arm of Fight Bladder Cancer. She hopes to share the experiences in Scotland to create a partnership based on a commitment to raising awareness, offering support and, as with all charities, raising more finance for research staffing and other services.

“As an 86-year-old bladder cancer patient, who was 80 at the time of diagnosis, I have been pleased to share my journey with younger patients of both sexes, I’m proud to chair the Fight Bladder Cancer Scottish Steering Group and to be a Fight Bladder Cancer trustee. Bladder cancer is overlooked and it’s not fair for the patients. So much work remains to be done to bring bladder cancer improvements up to speed in Scotland and in the UK. My determination to campaign and make the world a better place remains unwavering.”

 

Danielle Marr 

Danielle is a bladder cancer survivor. She was diagnosed in 2015 whilst pregnant with her daughter, Zara. Danielle became involved with Fight Bladder Cancer after being introduced to Dorothy Markham, another one of our patient Trustees. Together they continued to take part in raising awareness with the help of consultant urology surgeon, Param Mariappan - who is one of the charity's medical advisors. Danielle, Dorothy & Param were invited to visit Parliament and successfully secured a motion within the Scottish Government in 2020 to improve outcomes and raise awareness of bladder cancer. Danielle is also vice chair of the charity's Scottish Steering Group and together with Dorothy, they run Scotland's first women's support group for bladder cancer patients. Danielle's background is in healthcare administration and she works as a treatment advisor at Spire Hospital in Edinburgh where she has over 10 years' experience. She has also worked for the Scottish Ambulance Service as an emergency call handler. 

"I decided to become a Fight Bladder Cancer Trustee as I understand how difficult the patient journey can be and feel it is important to try to make a difference to improve this in any way I can." 

Paul Michaels 

Paul is a bladder cancer patient and a Managing Partner in an IT consulting company. He has many years of experience working for public and private industry clients - helping organisations improve their information technology and save money on their services. His capabilities include benchmarking, evaluation, and governance. His recommendations are based on factual data rather than opinion. Some of his clients include those in the healthcare sector.

"Fight Bladder Cancer has made such a difference to me. With their incredible support, I’ve had many questions answered, shared my worries and made friends for life. Through it all, I’ve had the Wee Family behind me."

 

Trustees Report

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We’ve tried to make the information on this site as accurate as possible. Whilst we have support from medical professionals to review the general medical content of this site, please remember that only your medical team can give you specific advice about your symptoms or illness. Fight Bladder Cancer is a registered Charitable Incorporated Organisation in Scotland (SC051881), England and Wales (1198773), and was initially established as an unincorporated charity in England and Wales (1157763). It also operates in Northern Ireland.