Therapeutic radiographers are uniting for a charity fundraising campaign to raise the profile of vital radiotherapy cancer treatment which has been adversely affected by the pandemic.
Launched by the charity Action Radiotherapy, the event #Miles4Radiotherapy aims to raise the profile of the radiotherapy treatment which is used to treat 50% of all cancer patients and challenges participants to cover as much distance as possible until October, taking on any sport they want.
Over 550 people have already signed up for the fundraising, ranging from therapeutic radiographers, physicians, researchers to patients and friends, including senior therapeutic radiographer Naman Julka-Anderson who has set up a team for Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust with a target of covering 10,000km.
Naman, who is 27 and from Lambeth, said: “I am joining my radiotherapy colleagues across the country supporting a great cause and helping hard working front line staff with their wellbeing, knowing we can move forward together to a much better future for our patients.
“We’ve had to work ferociously over the pandemic to adapt treatment, support patients and keep cancer services running.
“This challenge is really important to raise the profile of radiotherapy and the workforce nationally and I am immensely proud to be a part of it.”
Naman completed the Hever Castle Half Iron Man on Sunday 4 July and will be adding more kilometres to the team’s target with his training for the London marathon in October.
Therapeutic radiographers deliver radiation and radiotherapy treatments to people who have cancer, which has been referred to as the forgotten ‘C’ over the pandemic and The Express revealed a leaked email from a London hospital which stated that staff were struggling to cope with demand and to meet the high post-Covid ‘avalanche’ of cancer referrals.
Public Health England figures show that radiotherapy treatment has been disrupted over the pandemic with 14,671 fewer radiotherapy episodes during the period April 2020 to February 2021 than in the same period in the previous year.
Therapeutic radiographer Joanna McNamara, who helped create the Macmillan emotional and well-being hub for clinical staff to access, said: “I am so in awe of the impact therapeutic radiographers make on people living with and beyond cancer and yet no one knows our role!
“I’m really hoping the challenge helps raise awareness about the role of the therapeutic radiographer.”
Action Radiotherapy chairman, Professor Pat Price added: “Therapeutic radiographers are the beating heart of the UK radiotherapy service and they have had to make herculean efforts to adapt and develop the service during Covid, working tirelessly throughout the lockdowns to ensure that radiotherapy has been able to continue as a Covid secure cancer treatment.
“When all the clapping stopped long ago, these unsung heroes have continued under huge pressure to provide the care our cancer patients need.
“They are amazing and it is an absolute privilege to work with them.”
A flash survey by Action Radiotherapy in May revealed that 65% of therapeutic radiographers had considered leaving the radiotherapy profession due to the pressures of the pandemic whilst 78% reported that morale was lower or a lot lower than before the pandemic.
The #Miles4Radiotherapy challenge ends on Sunday 3 October and teams can be made up of any number of members.
The entrance fee is £20.00 per participant and registration closes Wednesday 7 July.
To sign up visit https://www.resultsbase.net/event/5765.
Featured image credit: Naman Julka-Anderson