23 January 2023

A leading blood cancer charity has appointed a new chief executive as it sets out to improve patient understanding of this disease group.

Helen Rowntree has been appointed Blood Cancer UK’s new permanent chief executive, it has been announced.

She has been interim chief executive since November, having joined the charity in 2019 as director of research, services and engagement.

Prior to that she worked in the NHS, leading the development of digital services, such as nhs.uk.

John Ormerod, chair of Blood Cancer UK, said: “We were pleased to have a very strong field of candidates. It is testament to the culture we have built here that so many high-calibre people wanted to join us.

“We are also delighted that, in Helen, we have been able to appoint someone with the leadership and strategic vision to help ensure we have an even greater impact on behalf of people affected by blood cancer. I am looking forward to working with Helen to deliver our new strategy.”

Rowntree added: “Blood Cancer UK is a special charity that has already achieved amazing things by harnessing the determination of people affected by blood cancer to fund research that has saved thousands of lives.

“So, it is a privilege to get the chance to lead it through what will be a hugely important period in its history. For all the progress we’ve made over the last 60 years, too many people are still dying of blood cancer, and I am looking forward to continue working with people affected by blood cancer and our brilliant staff to bring forward the day when blood cancer is finally beaten.”

Blood Cancer UK has set out three main priorities as it looks to increase awareness of blood cancer as a health condition.

The charity said people with blood cancer are often unaware their condition is in fact a type of cancer, which means they risk missing out on important entitlements like employment protection, free prescriptions and disability benefits.

After consulting with clinicians, patients and families, it has set out its priorities: making sure people leave their diagnosis understanding their condition is blood cancer; ensuring health information about blood cancer mentions that it’s a type of blood cancer; and empowering the blood cancer community to have the tools they need to spread the message about blood cancer.

Source: Blood Cancer UK



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