I was on the verge of tears on Friday. And in front of hundreds of our staff. It was at our annual staff awards ceremony and one of our special guests was Tom Buckley. Tom has been in the national news over the last few weeks and is an incredible young man. He was diagnosed with cancer of the eye when he was just 2 weeks old and 19 years later the cancer unfortunately came back. Last Tuesday 23-year old Tom finished a charity walk. Not just any walk but a gruelling 180 miles coast to coast walk - battling through blizzards, snow drifts, freezing temperatures and pouring rain for 18 days - and all to raise money for other Christie patients.
His story has touched and inspired everyone at the Christie and that's we why we wanted to honour Tom at the end of our staff awards ceremony. Because the one thing that motivates us to do our very best, to go that extra mile and to make that difference – is patients like Tom.
There was another inspiring person at our staff awards, who has also been a patient here - the highly-acclaimed BBC radio broadcaster Jenni Murray. It was a real honour to have Jenni at our ceremony to present the awards and she really moved us with her warm words about the Christie.
Tom and Jenni are both remarkable people and an important reminder about why we're all here, why we care, why everything we do matters so much. And I feel so proud about how much our staff do care. All of our staff are winners in my eyes, but it was uplifting to acknowledge those who have done something extra special this year.
It’s been a tremendous 12 months for our organisation. We still have a way to go in turning our dream of being a world leader into a reality – and there have been challenges - but 2008 has seen us take a momentous step forward.
Thank-you so much for your support over the year.
I hope you have a wonderful Christmas and here's to a happy and successful 2009 for all of us.