Catch Up with Cancer petition nears 100k signatures in one day

The Catch Up With Cancer campaign petition has won the backing of almost 100,000 people in just 24 hours thanks to the support of Stephen Fry.

The acclaimed actor and broadcaster urged people to sign in a special video made for Radiotherapy UK last week. Since then, public interest has snowballed, and the petition is close to collecting 100,000 signatures in just 24 hours. More than 617k people have signed in total to date. 

In the video, Stephen says: “If, like me, you want to help, here’s what you can do. Join me and sign up, to the #CatchUpWithCancer campaign petition. We need half a million signatures, and we’re almost there. Please share this message far and wide. With all our voices, speaking about the needs of cancer patients, we can push the government to act now.”

Last year saw some of the longest waits for cancer treatment on record and recent NHS England statistics show 4 in 10 cancer patients are not getting treatment on time.

In total, 225,000 people have waited too long since 2020.

The Russell family and Catch Up With Cancer

Kelly SmithThe campaign and petition were launched back in 2020 by Craig and Mandy Russell and Professor Pat Price, chair of Radiotherapy UK.

Craig and Mandy lost their daughter, Kelly Smith, at the age of 31. Her cancer treatment for Stage 4 bowel cancer was stopped because of the pandemic and she died just a few weeks later, leaving behind her family and young son.

Since then, the Russell family have campaigned tirelessly, urging the government to catch up with cancer.

Craig Russell said: “Covid just destroyed everything. It cut her life short. She actually was in reasonably good health until quite near the end. When they paused her chemotherapy for 12 weeks, she never received any proper treatment again. That was it.

“The only progress that means anything to me would be a quantifiable improvement that gets patients the treatment they need as quickly as possible. We need to start diagnosing and treating people at Stage 1 and Stage 2. By the time it gets to 3 or 4 it is too late and that’s unacceptable.”

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