We’re delighted to have recently hosted our South Bone Cancer Conference in Watford, the first large in-person support event we have held in over two years!

As our 2021 annual conference was delivered remotely due to the Covid-19 pandemic, we were absolutely thrilled to have reconnected with the bone cancer community in-person on May 19th at the Village Hotel in Watford. It really was a day of inspiration, support, and hopeful research updates. We managed to catch-up with patients, former patients, family members, researchers, and medical professionals - thank you to all who joined us.

In fact, 100% of our attendees have already told us that they would attend another Bone Cancer Conference, with everyone rating the event either very good or excellent! We are also delighted to share that 66% of attendees reported feeling less anxious, socially isolated or alone after the conference. Our CEO, Mat Cottle-Shaw, said:

It was amazing to be amongst our community again in such a safe and inspiring environment. Our conference is all about helping and supporting our community, so we are delighted to see so many reporting such a positive impact it made on them.

Below are just some of our highlights:

Research updates

As part of our ongoing commitment to better understand primary bone cancer and find a cure, we invited a handful of researchers, whose work is either funded or part-funded by the Bone Cancer Research Trust, to speak at the conference and update our community on research progress. Researchers who attended the conference, such as Chara Dimitriadi from the University of Glasgow, found the conference well worthwhile, commenting:

After so many emails and zoom meetings, it was so lovely to meet you all. You did a fantastic job organising this and bringing all of us together. Apart from hearing all the stories, I am sure there will be some brilliant collaborations from this

Patient stories

Several patients and former patients courageously took to the podium to share their experience, from diagnosis to recovery pathways and everything in-between. One attendee commented:

What an amazingly informative and emotional conference. It was so wonderful to meet our ‘family’ face-to-face. The included the most inspirational and heart wrenching stories: thank you everyone for having the courage to share and the motivation to not sit back and just accept your hand.

Our patients are at the heart of everything to do, and who better to inform you about their journeys with primary bone cancer than those who have travelled the road themselves.

Keynote speaker: Theresa Beech

Journeying from across the pond in Maryland, USA, was our keynote speaker, Theresa Beech (Product Development Lead for the Goddard Mission Services Evolution Center at NASA). Her son, Daniel, was diagnosed with osteosarcoma and sadly passed away in 2016 at just 11 years old.

While Daniel was receiving palliative care, Theresa decided to apply her mathematical and engineering knowledge to study genomic sequencing and identify vulnerable genes that contribute to the development of osteosarcoma tumours.

The outcome of this research was the development of a Patient/Parent Osteosarcoma Genome-Wide Registry, which is believed to be the largest osteosarcoma genomic and medical history data set to date. From her analysis Theresa was able to identify a specific gene that, when targeted with medication, could provide better outcomes for patients.

We thank Theresa for her incredible service to the bone cancer community and hope that her work will pave the way for more collaboration with researchers, patients, and families in the US and worldwide.

Support update

Joanne Wright and Vina Hajari from our Support and Information Team provided a comprehensive update on the ways in which we provide support to the bone cancer community. We’re here for anyone whose lives have been affected by primary bone cancer – be that patients, family members / carers, friends, colleagues, teachers, support staff and medical professionals.

As our charity continues to grow, we are continuing to boost our support and information offering. Our latest changes include:

  • Increasing our Financial Support Grant from £50 to £100
  • Increasing our Travel Assistance Grant from £120 to £170. This grant will now also be available to patients travelling to clinical trials.
  • Visiting more bone cancer and treatment centres, such as our recent trip to the Proton Beam Therapy (PBT) department at University College London Hospital (UCLH)
  • Increasing activity within our digital support groups to better engage patients of all backgrounds and ages
  • Exploring a new Sibling Support Group

Below are a few more comments from our attendees:

Thanks to Vina and Jo for inviting me to the Bone Cancer Conference. An informative, inspirational and at times emotional day, with lots for me to take forward in my future practice
Clare David, Sarcoma Radiographer at University College London Hospital (UCLH)
It was such a pleasure to have the opportunity to meet other oncology parents and patients, and also hear from the many researchers and surgeons updating us on the amazing work they are doing in the fight against primary bone cancers. It really was a truly inspiring day and reaffirmed our admiration for this brilliant charity
A family member of a bone cancer patient
Sometimes scientists have inspired ideas. Mr Kenneth Rankin and Corey Chan based in Newcastle are making 3D printed models of bones and tumours to help guide surgery and give patient explanations. They were built using the latest scanning tech, so they are real
William Cross, Postdoctoral Researcher at the University College London Cancer Institute

Join us for the North Bone Cancer Conference

Whether you’re a patient, former patient, family member, researcher or medical professional, there is something for everyone at our flagship Support & Information Service events.

We will be holding a second ‘North’ conference during Bone Cancer Awareness Week on Saturday 15th October 2022 at the Marriott Hotel, Leeds. To attend, for free, register below.


Watch our short promotional video below to find out what you can expect from our Bone Cancer Conference: