Mike Francis : Chairman of Trustees.
When Guy set up his Research Fund in 2002, I little expected that such a localised organisation based in a small village south of York, and constructed around the life-with-cancer of one young man would have such an impact in the long run. Apart from raising some £180,000 for vital research over the last 9 years, the Fund can now embark on achieving Guy's goal of establishing an Academic Research Post at a Centre of Medical Excellence.
From a personal viewpoint, I have learnt so much during that time and hope to continue to contribute to furthering the advocacy of primary bone cancer, particularly when it affects teenagers and young people.
I shall bring to the leadership of the Fund my business experience as a former Chartered Marketer and Chartered Manager in both the public and private sectors. I shall be representing the Fund on the Executive Committee of the Childhood Cancer Parents Alliance (CCPA), and the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) working party on "Clinical Guidelines on Referral for Suspected Cancer". For some 4 years I have been a Registered Expert Witness (Patient Carer) with NICE, and am extremely proud that, after over 3 yearsand 6 Technical Appraisal Committee hearings with NICE, (in which I led the Bone Cancer Research Trust team), the drug Mifamurtide (MEPACT), achieved approval for administration to appropriate osteosarcoma patients.
Ros Francis : Trustee.
As Guy's mother, I am proud to be a Trustee of this Fund that he started himself.
Guy took on amazing personal challenges to raise funds for research and was very skilful at encouraging others to do the same. He even persuaded me to start running and to walk on hot coals!
I hope to bring many aspects of my life to this role. During my career in primary special needs and in parenting education, I worked closely with both children and families in their diverse and often difficult lives. As a founder member and volunteer Clerk to the Trustees of the Bone Cancer Research Trust I gained much knowledge and experience about the running of a charity.
Most of all, as a parent, I know how special family life is and how devastating bone cancer can be for everyone concerned.
Having seen Guy go through all the pain, gruelling treatments and changes to his teenage life that he had to endure, I am as resolved as he was, to work to make a difference for future sufferers of this devastating cancer.
Alisa Wade : Operations Manager.
Alisa has joined the Fund as Operations Manager and is involved in the day-to-day running of the York office, as well as organising the various fundraising and campaigning activities.
Her background is in international corporate marketing operations and educational training in the travel and leisure sectors, working in both Australia and New Zealand for a number of years. Seven years prior to joining the Fund, she was the Business Support Manager in a major public sector organisation.
She brings to the Fund a wealth of experience in managerial leadership and has a special interest in developing social media and marketing communications in the third sector.
Alisa says – "Working for the Fund has given me the opportunity to use the skills and knowledge I have gained through my career to date and contribute to the strategic aims which are being developed to improve the lives of young people with cancer and raise awareness. I am sure that this will all make a significant difference to those affected by this devastating disease".
Paul Barnes : Volunteer.
"Guy Francis is a true inspiration and a dear friend of mine. Growing up next door to each other since we were little boys, we spent many a day out on our push-bikes, making dens, playing on the skateboards, or participating in a mixture of golf/rugby/athletics/football in our back gardens. Guy even built a mini golf course in his back garden….to us it felt like St Andrews! This friendship continued from being teenagers, into higher-education, on to university and I have lost count of the amazing experiences we shared together.
We were both lucky enough to be in a large social circle of friends and Guy was certainly the one who would bring this group together, suggest fun ideas, hold the best parties, and basically be the lynch-pin for our group of mates. I'm sure that through his illness the commitment and love he showed for this circle of friends helped him in being brave, staying positive, being strong willed and battling the cancer away time after time. I don't think anyone really appreciated how ill Guy was at times – you never heard him moan, nothing stopped him from doing what he wanted to do, and even a few days before he passed away he organised for a limousine to take a group of us to the FA Cup semi-final at Old Trafford! This was Guy all over, just one of the amazing activities that he co-ordinated and participated in throughout his lifetime.
I now live in London with my wife Alex. With a group of Guy's friends, I am going to do some serious fundraising this year in his memory, by taking on the National 3 Peaks Challenge – climbing Ben Nevis, Scarfell and Snowdon in under 24 hours! – something I know that Guy would have relished doing.
Guy is, and will always be, missed from our social circle. Nothing, or no-one, will ever replace him; however I know he will take comfort that we continue to all be extremely close, find fun things to do, continue to raise money in Guy's name, and to keep the spirit and love that he offered every single day of his life. Brandy and 'Gars forever!
Nicola Hogg : Volunteer.
My involvement with Guy Francis and raising much needed money for the Why Guy? Appeal goes back quite a few years.
In my first teaching job (when I was Miss Fry!), I was fortunate to meet a very positive, happy and outgoing young man named Guy Francis. He was a bright and popular student, and someone whose company was very easy to enjoy - both as his teacher and friend.
Guy really enjoyed any opportunity to dress up in fancy dress, and it still makes me smile to remember how much he enjoyed coming in to school; on one occasion dressed as a rather scantily clad lady along with many of his friends! Fancy dress and the fun involved went hand in hand with Guy! All his subsequent parties seemed to have a fancy dress theme to them!
When Guy was diagnosed with osteosarcoma, his strength and attitude were so incredibly positive, and I felt it was important that his friends and teachers rallied around to try to do anything we could to make a difference to the time Guy had to spend in hospital. Hence, the car washing lunchtimes, ad hoc school BBQs and school discos began, culminating in about 20 students and teachers taking part in a sponsored parachute jump. On the several occasions we would go to the airfield in the hope that the wind was 'right' we would collect Guy in the school minibus so he could be part of the excitement. I was touched that when Guy was well enough he chose to do a parachute jump himself. At the time, neither the Why Guy? Charity nor BCRT existed, so our fundraising was for the Teenage Cancer Trust.
I was honoured to have the opportunity to say goodbye to Guy when he was sadly losing his fight with cancer at the age of 23, and it is one of the most difficult things I have done. Such a vibrant and happy life, cut short by such a terrible disease. I know Guy felt strongly about funding research to prevent other young people having to endure what he went through, and ultimately increase people's chances of survival.
Ros and Mike (Guy's parents) have become friends, and I am proud to be able to raise funds to help make a difference to the lives of other young people. I have run the York 10k for the last two years, and will continue to do so for as long as possible! Last year I managed to recruit a team of 8 runners, and through organizing a black tie fundraiser and the subsequent sponsorship, managed to raise nearly £6000 for the charity.
As a Mum of two wonderful little boys, I am proud that my eldest son is following in my footsteps to fundraise -he ran the first junior run held at the York 10k in 2011 (with a rather worn out Mummy!), and rallied around his school friends and teachers to raise his own sponsorship. I would be very proud if they grow up to have the positive, courageous and happy outlook that Guy had during his short life.
Mike Fletcher : Volunteer.
"Guy was a particular friend of my "little brothers" Richard and Andrew, back from when they all played in the local junior football team – and that friendship continued through school and university. Our farm provided a great place for them and other friends to really enjoy life with numerous barbeques, parties and visits to the Burger Bar! When, after Guy's tragic death, it was suggested that an oak tree could be planted overlooking one of the fishing lakes, our family readily agreed. Guy's Oak has really flourished, and his friends also placed a bench alongside it for everyone to relax and reflect.
When we learnt that Guy had set up a Fund for research, we offered to stage a Memorial Fishing Match which proved very popular and became the first fundraising event undertaken by the Fund.
Over the past few years I've been very happy to help the team organising an annual G-Fest weekend - a mixture of amusements and partying – which attracts back to the farm so many of Guy's friends. We've all looking forward to G-Fest 2012 in August.
I'm also fulfilling a person ambition by running in this year's London Marathon – raising money for bone cancer research – so your support would be very welcome."