Published on: 11 August 2020

Healthcare workers and their families took part in a cycle ride between South Tyneside and Sunderland to raise funds for research into the effects of COVID-19 on head and neck cancer patients.

South Tyneside and Sunderland NHS Foundation Trust’s head and neck cancer team organised the fun outing and consultants, specialist nurses and speech and language therapists were among those who took part.

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The cyclists - the youngest aged six - set off from Whitburn and, in socially-distanced formation, covered a seven-mile route which took them past the National Glass Centre and the University of Sunderland, raising more than £300.

The local event was in support of The British Association of Head and Neck Oncologists’ (BAHNO) virtual cycle/ run from Land’s End to John O’Groats to raise £30,000 to address the long-term impact of COVID-19 on patients with head and neck cancer. 

Information has already been captured on over 2,000 head and neck cancer patients  - the majority of them from the UK -  as part of an international research collaboration, CovidSurg-Cancer, which was set up to evaluate COVID-19 infection rates in cancer patients up to 30 days after their surgery.

Consultant Head and Neck Surgeon Miss Helen Cocks said: “Incidence of head and neck cancer in South Tyneside and Sunderland is higher than the national average and the Trust team is always looking for ways to support our patients and raise the profile of this less common but often devastating cancer.”

Dawn Ivison, Macmillan Head and Neck Clinical Nurse Specialist, said: “We would like to thank everyone who took part and helped on the day and who donated. It was a really enjoyable event and we are thrilled with the amount raised.”