The Bone Cancer Research Trust and Hannah’s Willberry Wonder Pony Charity are joining forces to offer funding of up to £250,000 to help improve outcomes for osteosarcoma patients.

This new collaboration aims to facilitate pioneering research to ensure that more patients survive and thrive beyond their diagnosis, bringing together two organisations that have been set up and driven by personal loss.

Hannah Francis was just 17 years old when she was diagnosed with metastatic osteosarcoma in her pelvis, hip, lower spine and lungs on 1st May 2015.

She had been struggling with pain in her right leg since January, which gradually worsened and led to Hannah being referred to an orthopaedic consultant by her GP.

A talented equestrian with a passion for eventing, Hannah did not let this stop her and continued preparing for the upcoming season, until a rotational fall off a horse triggered a visit to the A&E department. While an x-ray did not show any breakages, Hannah developed a limp and was unable to weight-bear on her right leg.

Shortly after, Hannah was sent for an MRI scan, which devastatingly revealed multiple tumours in her body. Hannah began chemotherapy on 21st May 2015 and continued horse riding and fundraising throughout her illness.

Tragically, Hannah passed away on 1st August 2016, just five months after announcing that Hannah's Willberry Wonder Pony had been approved as a registered charity.

Through this new collaboration it is hoped that kinder, more effective treatments will become available for patients like Hannah.

Dr Zoe Davison, Head of Research, Information & Support at the Bone Cancer Research Trust, said:

We are proud to be partnering with Hannah's Willberry Wonder Pony Charity to launch this new research grant, which we hope will bring us one step closer towards improved treatments for osteosarcoma with fewer long-term and late effects on patients. We have a shared passion to drive improvements and recognise the need for charities to align in order to maximise what can be achieved and speed up the rate of progress #UntilTheresACure.

Rachel Francis, Hannah's mum and Trustee of Hannah's Willberry Wonder Pony Charity, added:

Hannah would be so excited to hear of this new collaboration with such a prestigious charity as the Bone Cancer Research Trust. When setting up her own charity, Hannah was determined to find ways to ensure that those diagnosed with osteosarcoma in the future didn't have to endure the horrific treatment regime and bleak prospects that she dealt with so courageously. We strongly believe that collaborating on projects such as this offers the greatest opportunity to make substantive progress with our research efforts.

Applications must be received by 17:00 on 13th November 2023, with funding expected to be awarded between January March 2024.

For more information about the grant and to request an application form, please visit the link below:

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