Keep my dream alive says Chinnor man with terminal cancer

Andrew Winterbottom
Andrew Winterbottom

A man facing terminal cancer is appealing for people to support a new campaign which will continue his charity work.

Andrew Winterbottom, who established the Wee Bookshop & Café in Chinnor to help fund his charity Fight Bladder Cancer, is calling for supporters to STEP FORWARD to secure its future after revealing he has terminal cancer.

Andrew says he has a terminal diagnosis and will be stepping back from the day-to-day running of the charity.

He responded to the news by immediately launching a campaign to secure the funding needed to guarantee the charity’s work continues.

He said: “After 9 years, I need to step back from my everyday duties of running Fight Bladder Cancer to focus on my own health. That’s why I am asking all our friends, supporters and well-wishers to help.”

STEP FORWARD is asking people to be regular donors to Fight Bladder Cancer.

Andrew said: “We have had the most fabulous support and our supporters mean a lot to us. That makes it a difficult thing to explain, but the harsh reality is I can’t survive this illness. What I can do however, is make sure that Fight Bladder Cancer has the funds it needs in the future. To me that is the most important thing. My view is that no one can save my life, but people can keep my dream alive.”

Fight Bladder Cancer has transformed the experience of patients and their families at all stages of the disease with support and advice. It has helped tens of thousands of patients as well as raising the profile of bladder cancer and giving a voice to patients in the NHS and research.

Andrew began the charity from his garden shed and through tireless effort it has become the voice for patients, helping over 200,000 patients a year and even part-funding research into effective treatments.

It now has its headquarters on the High Street in Chinnor and runs its hugely popular Wee Bookshop and Café on Station Road. Profits from the café help fund the work of the charity.

Andrew said: “In every sense we are rooted in Chinnor. My wife Tracy and I live in the village and Fight Bladder Cancer enjoys the most amazing and generous support from the local community. They have enabled us to grow and become the champions of bladder cancer patients throughout the country. I’ve never thought of it this way before, but we have created 26 jobs in Chinnor.”

Andrew has appointed a successor as chief executive. Dr Lydia Makaroff, director of the European Cancer Patient Coalition, will be taking over at the Chinnor office at the end of the year.

STEP FORWARD is a hard-hitting campaign which Andrew said is asking people to become regular donors to Fight Bladder Cancer.

He added: “We hope people who know us and the work we do will be prepared to make regular monthly donations, small or large. If we are successful it will help my successor in planning how Fight Bladder Cancer grows and does more to help carry on the battle.”

Since the organisation began, Andrew has helped bring changes, raising the profile of this common cancer. Now, people diagnosed with bladder cancer, and their families too, have somewhere to get advice, support and information. Through Fight Bladder Cancer, they now have a voice when it counts in the health service, research and policy.

The vision Andrew has for the charity is clear. He wants quicker and earlier diagnosis, much greater awareness and better services in the NHS to equal the experiences of patients with other common cancers.

For more about the STEP FORWARD campaign visit www.fightbladdercancer.co.uk/stepforward

Join the campaign hashtag #WeeSupportAndrew and #StepForward on social media.