Cure Leukaemia will have the opportunity to communicate the charity’s message with a global audience through Soccerex’s online platform over 3 months to highlight how football, which has seen many examples of people within the game touched by blood cancer in recent years, has the power to affect real change in the treatment of blood cancer worldwide. It will also give Cure Leukaemia the chance to drive fundraising opportunities this summer after the COVID-19 pandemic left the charity with a £1,700,000 fundraising shortfall.

Cure Leukaemia’s key fundraising event in 2021, The Tour 21 which will see 25 amateur cyclists led by former England footballer and blood cancer survivor Geoff Thomas ride the full Tour de France route one week ahead of the professionals during Soccerex Connected 100, will be highlighted throughout the event with video footage and updates regularly shared with delegates.

The Tour 21 team aim to raise in excess of £1,000,000 for Cure Leukaemia this summer with the charity also now recognized as the official Charity Partner of the Tour de France in the UK and the team has recently surpassed £600,000 raised with less than 50 days until the event. All funds raised by the Tour 21 team and through Soccerex’s global amplification will be invested in the national Trials Acceleration Programme (TAP) a network of specialist research nurses in 12 of the UK’s biggest cities and a facilitatory hub in Birmingham. TAP enables blood cancer clinical trials to be setup and run through the network at an accelerated rate, not only directly benefitting patients from a UK catchment area of over 20 million people, but also informing the global treatment of the disease for future patients.

Geoff Thomas was diagnosed with chronic myeloid leukaemia (CML) in 2003 and given just 3 months to live. Thanks to treatment from Cure Leukaemia co-founder Professor Charlie Craddock CBE and a transplant from his sister, Geoff went into remission in 2005 and took on his first Tour de France challenge a few months later. Since then, Geoff has dedicated his life to helping blood cancer patients worldwide by raising funds for Cure Leukaemia.

Speaking about the partnership Geoff said: “It is a fitting date to announce this fantastic partnership with Soccerex. May 12th marks 31 years since I led Crystal Palace out in the FA Cup Final at Wembley and it is also International Nurses Day, so it is the perfect time to highlight football’s connection with blood cancer and also how Cure Leukaemia’s work is making an impact on the treatment of blood cancer worldwide.

“We are very grateful to Soccerex for giving us the opportunity to drive awareness and fundraising for The Tour 21 this summer but also to highlight how football has the power to drive real, global change in the treatment of blood cancer. Alongside myself there is an ever-growing list of footballers touched by this disease including Sol Bamba, Carl Ikeme, Stiliyan Petrov, Joe Thompson, Gary Lineker’s son George and Bologna manager Siniša Mihajlović amongst others. Sadly, this list seems to grow every year and we hope the football community can help us make real strides in finding effective treatments for all forms of blood cancer in the near future.”

Managing Director of Soccerex, Philip Gegan said:

“Being able to be help with the great work that Cure Leukaemia is doing is a real privilege for us at Soccerex. Football still has a unique ability to reach out to all the sections of society, driving attention and resources to the key challenges we face medically and civically. A number of members of the Soccerex Family have been affected by blood cancer and we hope that this partnership can assist in raising awareness and funds that aid Cure Leukaemia’s vital work.”

Cure Leukaemia CEO James McLaughlin said:

“COVID-19 left us with a £1,700,000 shortfall in 2020 and yet on World Cancer Day we announced that TAP will be running 5 new clinical trials in 2021 despite these challenges. Blood cancer is a global illness and our partnership with Soccerex gives Cure Leukaemia an opportunity to highlight to the football world the international significance of the TAP network.”

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