Players from Leeds Rhinos helped to launch a renewed partnership with Yorkshire Cancer Research on Tuesday when they visited the Leeds Lung Health Check, a pioneering screening programme that has now checked more than 1,000 people for early signs of lung disease.
First team players Richie Myler, Wellington Albert and Tyler Dupree were given an exclusive tour of the mobile screening unit by senior research nurse Suzanne Rogerson. They were joined by Leeds Rhinos Women players Lois Forsell and Sophie Robinson, Leon Crick, Women’s Team Manager, Gary Hetherington, Chief Executive at Leeds Rhinos, Dan Busfield, Head of Partnerships and Development at Leeds Rhinos Foundation, and Rob Oates, Commercial Director at Leeds Rhinos.
Patients screened at the unit were also in attendance to talk about their experiences.
Joe Taylor, Partnerships Manager at Yorkshire Cancer Research, said: “We’re excited to re-launch our partnership with Leeds Rhinos and Leeds Rhinos Foundation by showing them one of the key initiatives that their support is helping to fund.
“The Leeds Lung Health Check is saving lives in the city right now and we’re pleased that so many representatives from both Leeds Rhinos and Leeds Rhinos Foundation attended today to find out more about this vital project.”
“By working together, Yorkshire Cancer Research, Leeds Rhinos and Leeds Rhinos Foundation are improving the prevention and early diagnosis of cancer in Leeds and ensuring cancer patients receive much-needed support. We look forward to continuing the partnership during 2019.”
The Leeds Lung Health Check is a multi-million-pound project funded by Yorkshire Cancer Research and developed in partnership with Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust, the University of Leeds and Leeds City Council.
Over the next four years about 7,000 people across the city who smoke or used to smoke will visit the unit to take part in a special type of x-ray called a screening CT scan that can detect very early signs of lung cancer. Checks will take place in a mobile unit based in supermarket car parks and shopping centres across the city, making it more convenient for people to take part.
Dr Mat Callister, Consultant in Respiratory Medicine at Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust and project lead, added: “We are delighted that the Leeds Lung Health Check is being recognised by Leeds Rhinos and the wider Leeds community. The programme is proving a huge success in the city and we are incredibly grateful for the support we have received from the Rhinos.”
The event marked the third year of a continued partnership between Yorkshire Cancer Research, Leeds Rhinos and Leeds Rhinos Foundation, which began in March 2017 with the launch of a new cancer rehabilitation programme, Active Beyond Cancer, which has now helped over 160 people in the Leeds area.
The programme is available to patients at different stages of cancer treatment, offering free health and fitness coaching and advice to help them increase their physical activity and improve their confidence.
Since the 2018 season, Yorkshire Cancer Research has been working with Leeds Rhinos to help get important health messages out to their fans. Through adverts around the stadium and in matchday programmes, the charity’s ‘Rhino to Cancer’ campaign aims to encourage supporters to take part in the national screening programmes for breast, bowel and cervical cancer, see their GP if they notice any signs or symptoms and understand ways they can reduce their risk of cancer.
On Sunday, July 21, the charity will take over Emerald Headingley Stadium for the Rhinos’ Super League fixture against Hull FC with a dedicated Sun Awareness campaign- distributing free sunscreen, wristbands that change colour in UV light and flyers with information on how to stay safe in the sun during the summer months.
Later in the year, Leeds Rhinos Foundation will help the charity reach a younger audience by sharing healthy lifestyle advice through its partner schools programme. The Yorkshire Cancer Research logo is also featured on Leeds Rhinos Women’s kit for the 2019 season and ambassadors from the side will continue to help share the charity’s messages.