Fundraising Gala Night at Derby Theatre to raise vital funds for Sarah Brigham's rare cancer treatment
On Sunday 27 May, Derby Theatre, in support of their Artistic Director and Chief Executive, Sarah Brigham, will play host to a Brig-Aid Fundraising Gala Event, an evening of music and entertainment to support Brig-Aid, a campaign set up to raise vital funds towards Sarah’s rare cancer treatment. Sarah is aiming to raise £60,000 for treatment in Germany unavailable on the NHS. This gala event is the pinnacle of what has been an extraordinary fundraising campaign so far (£45,733 raised in just 7 days).
Sarah was diagnosed a few weeks ago with adenoid cystic carcinoma, an incredibly rare form of cancer which affects only two in one million people, and one which has left her with a 6cm tumour in her trachea. Unfortunately, due to the size of and location of the tumour, surgery is not an option, and this certain type of cancer doesn’t respond to chemotherapy, and has a very limited response to regular radiotherapy. The cancer is slow growing, yet relentless, and it is absolutely vital that it is stopped in its tracks.
When Sarah knew her options were limited, this was a devastating blow, but then it emerged, after numerous appointments with doctors, consultants and specialists, plus, Sarah personally and tirelessly, researching that Carbon Ion Therapy, an intense form of radiotherapy might just work. However, due to the rarity of the cancer, Sarah was told that this particular type of treatment was not available on the NHS. Sarah would have to urgently start making decisions.
Sarah has remained incredibly positive and has continued running Derby Theatre and supporting artists, young people, friends and colleagues around her whilst coming to terms with her diagnosis and her limited treatment options.
With, what seemed like an incredibly difficult, and somewhat insurmountable, target of £60,000 needing to be raised, a few of Sarah’s friends and colleagues got together to form Brig-Aid, a campaign team to lead on raising funds as soon as possible. Along with Sarah, the Brig-Aid team quickly formed a plan to set up a donation page, social media accounts and a communication plan to convey this crucial message to friends, colleagues (past and present), businesses, venues, the press and the wider public to ask for their support, through donations and other means. The Brig-Aid fundraising campaign was officially launched on Sunday 6 May, and has already raised (as at Friday 11 May) an absolutely mind-blowing £45,733, with donations still coming in.
The Brig-Aid Fundraising Gala Event at Derby Theatre is one of many events planned to raise funds, where audiences, friends and colleagues can come together for a great night of entertainment, whilst building on donations towards the overall campaign. Sarah will be present at the event, and she is truly astonished at how well the campaign has gone so far, and is incredibly grateful, overwhelmed and humbled for the support she has received.
"In terms of my diagnosis, on the positive side (there has to be one right!) I physically feel ok and I remain positive. If you see me, you wouldn't know I have this 6 cm tumour in my windpipe. I’m still working, still laughing and still putting the world to rights… so cancer is not winning!
I cannot begin to put into words the overwhelming amount of support I have received from my family, friends, colleagues, businesses, plus hundreds and hundreds of people from across the UK. The donations raised so far is absolutely incredible. I will never forget this spirit of generosity and kindness, and I thank everyone from the bottom of my heart. As part of this campaign, I really hope we can also provide inspiration and hope to other people suffering and dealing with this dreadful disease.”