Choristers from the Trinitones, Celbridge Gospel Choir and the St James’s Hospital Bleeping Interns Choir performed to a full house at the Trinity College Chapel, Dublin on Tuesday night for the first Christmas carol service in aid of cancer research charity Cross.
The Cross charity, established by Trinity College and St James’s Hospital, supports research and education to improve patient care and survival. Some €14,000 was raised by the carol concert, with all funds going toward the purchase of equipment to further innovative cancer research..
“Cross is administered by academics within the cancer institute, so we have no administrative costs, and because of that every single penny goes back in to purchasing new equipment to help the cancer research work that we do in the cancer institute,” Prof Jacintha O’Sullivan of the Trinity Translational Medicine Institute (TTMI) at Trinity College Dublin and St James’s Hospital said.
The majority of fundraising for Cross is undertaken by academics and students throughout the year.
“We try to raise about €100,000 a year and all that money goes back in to buying equipment to help the PhD students and the postdoctoral students carry out their research work,” Prof O’Sullivan said.
“It’s really important as part of their scientific training that they do a lot of outreach work, so they get involved in charity work, they go to schools and talk to the children. That outreach is a very big part of their training.”
Collaborative research with cancer patients is vital to the institute’s work, she said.
“We are very fortunate the cancer research institute is located on the hospital site, because all our research is using patient samples and the patients are so good to consent to be part of our research studies to advance new discoveries.”
The institute works as part of the National Cancer Strategy on many different cancer types, with research that “spans the cancer patient’s journey from the start of cancer prevention, cancer diagnosis, cancer treatment, right through to cancer survivorship,” Prof O’Sullivan said.
“We’re trying to come up with better ways of detecting cancer early, coming up with better diagnostic tests to let us know which patients will or won’t respond to therapy, and importantly we have to develop new medicines to help those patients who are not responding to the current treatments to improve their overall survival.”
Cross was established more than 20 years ago, but held its first carol concert this year. While the event was sold out, donations are still being received though the charity’s website at crosscharity.ie.