At the end of 1997, Guy was thrilled to be in remission from osteosarcoma, a primary bone cancer which mostly affects teenagers. He had gone through a whole year of intensive chemotherapy and numerous operations, which had put his life on hold.
He had been so shocked to learn that there was no government funding for research into primary bone cancer that he began fundraising himself whilst at university. This included a tandem parachute jump and abseiling off the Humber Bridge whilst working hard to encourage others to do the same. He gained work experience in a cancer charity office and following a further eight months of gruelling treatment for a second tumour was able to return to university and to carry out more fundraising.
With the return of a third tumour in 2002, Guy’s body could not take any more chemotherapy. His family and friends promised him that they would continue his aim to fund research into primary bone cancer in his name – Guy Francis Bone Cancer Research Fund.
As well as carrying out fundraising locally, Guy’s parents joined with four other families to become founder members of the Bone Cancer Research Trust (BCRT). These families had also raised funds for research into bone cancer in their teenagers’ names. By joining together with Professor Ian Lewis, then the Consultant Paediatrician and Adolescent Oncologist at St. James’s University Hospital, Leeds, they found the expertise and support of medical professionals needed for research to begin. Having raised about £100,000 by then, Guy’s local group was able to make this its first contribution. BCRT is now well established and many aspects of research have been carried out since 2006 but there is still much to be done to improve the outcome for future sufferers.
In 2011 Guy’s parents retired from work and realised they would have more time to give to Guy’s local fund. With Guy’s enthusiastic group of friends and family, they are planning some special events for 2012 which will mark the 10th year since Guy’s death. They will continue to support research and to raise awareness of the cancer from which Guy had suffered.