‘WE ARE so pleased the £1m we raised with the help of the city can now save other lives in memory of Tom’.
That is the message from the family of Portsmouth teenager Tom Prince, who died from a rare form of bone cancer in 2004, aged 15.
We wanted to keep Tom’s memory alive and to go some way to try and cure osteosarcoma so other families don’t have to go through the same pain.Clinton Prince
His family set up the Tom Prince Cancer Trust and vowed to raise £1m to go into research of osteosarcoma, the cancer the huge Pompey fan died from.
And now, 18 months after reaching their target, the family has handed over the cash to the University College London (UCL) to set up the Tom Prince Osteosarcoma Research Project.
The amount is the largest donation into osteosarcoma research in the UK.
Tom’s dad Clinton, from Fratton, said: ‘All the money we have raised has been in Tom’s memory. It was too late for him but we strived to keep it going and save other people.
‘The trust has been a positive focus for the family and Tom’s friends and helped us pull through in the early days.
‘We wanted to keep Tom’s memory alive and to go some way to try and cure osteosarcoma so other families don’t have to go through the same pain.
‘We are very pleased and proud of what we have managed to achieve. It is all thanks to the people of Portsmouth who have continually supported us.’
The £1m has been raised through a number of fundraisers from concerts, walks, bike rides and one of the trust’s biggest events of the year, Blue Day, where people dress in blue and hold blue-themed activities.
The family were confident in donating the large sum to UCL and a leading figure within the field of osteosarcoma, Professor Adrienne Flanagan. She is head of the department of pathology at UCL Cancer Institute and will use the £1m for researching osteosarcoma causes and treatments.
Adele, Tom’s mum, said: ‘When we decided to raise £1m we wanted it to go into osteosarcoma research because there is so little out there.
‘Reaching our target meant so much to so many, therefore we took our time to carefully consider the options. ‘UCL has world-leading expertise with Professor Flanagan and her team, as well as excellent technology and systems.’
The family said they are now excited for the next stage and seeing what all their hard work could achieve.
Tom’s sister, Emma, added: ‘There has been a massive cash injection and an increase in interest in osteosarcoma research so it is exciting to see where it goes next.’
In spite of extensive research into cancers, there has been little change in treatment for osteosarcoma in 30 years.
Professor Flanagan said: ‘We are honoured the Tom Prince Cancer Trust has enabled us to establish an extensive research programme in Tom’s memory.
‘This project is truly ground-breaking and will bring together key partners with the primary goal of accelerating research into osteosarcoma. This will lead to an improvement in treatment and survival of patients with the disease.’