He receives a British Citizen Award for fundraising and awareness work
Wimbledon cancer sufferer Mark Sims, aged 28, has been commended for his outstanding fundraising work and for raising awareness about skin cancer.
With his perseverance and willingness to share his experiences of the disease, he has earned one of the country’s highest accolades – a British Citizen Award (BCA).
Launched in January 2015, the BCA, in partnership with InMoment, recognises extraordinary achievements by everyday people who have made a positive difference to the lives of others that may otherwise have gone unnoticed.
Mark, who was diagnosed with stage four malignant melanoma in early 2015, received his BCA Medal from Specsavers co-founder and BCA patron, Dame Mary Perkins at the Palace of Westminster, after taking part in a range of fundraising activities such as running a half marathon for Cancer Research last year.
First diagnosed with cancer on his scalp aged 15, Mark managed to beat the disease. However in February 2015, he was re-diagnosed but this time without a cure. After deciding to share his story with the world from his hospital bed, it wasn’t long before his story went viral.
Mark, who was also recently engaged to his fiancé Georgie, said: ‘It’s an honour to be receiving the British Citizen Award. I’m extremely proud of the work I have done so far in raising funds and awareness in the battle against this disease and I hope that I have inspired some people to continue the fight.
‘My blog has been hugely therapeutic and has been a great way for me to share my experiences with friends, family and other cancer sufferers that might need some support as well as raising awareness of my fundraising activities.
“A few friends and my twin brother have said that instead of giving Georgie and I wedding presents they are going to be donating to my fundraising page – the support from everyone has been overwhelming.’
Mark used the internet as a platform to raise money to fund important drug trials with Cancer Research UK.
Susan Sims, who nominated Mark for his medal, said: ‘Mark’s experiences have not only helped other cancer patients and their families but also doctors, nurses and support workers. Mark’s fundraising efforts have been immense and with the money he has raised alone is enough to fund two PhD researchers.’
Mark, who had hoped to become an A&E doctor, has a blog documenting his experience with the terminal disease. Mark was able to complete his post graduate year two training which means he writes from a position of understanding of his situation. Mark has received multiple awards including the Cancer Research UK Flame of Hope Award and being named Ambassador of the Year.
Within the first few hours, Mark had raised nearly £10,000 and to date has raised £63,510 since setting up his JustGiving charity page. The money will be donated to help fund three PHD researchers, one of which, Magnus Dillon, has already started his research to create a drug that will improve radio therapy treatment in a wide range of cancers.
Mark continues to share his story both nationally and internationally to raise awareness about the dangers of using sun beds and forgetting to use sun cream. On visits to schools he talks to the students about what melanoma is and about his fundraising efforts, such as local tournaments and an upcoming charity auction.
The BCA is in partnership with customer experience management company, InMoment and proud to be supported by the world’s largest optical retailer and audiologists, Specsavers; one of the largest property and leisure management, development and regeneration companies in the UK, Places for People; leading ethical law firm Irwin Mitchell; palletised freight company, Pall-Ex; and creative communications group, Beattie Group -who will each have representatives at the awards ceremony.
October 2016 will also see the introduction of the British Citizen Youth Award, recognising young people under the age of 16 who have positively impacted communities or particular groups and have contributed through their own endeavours to making a difference. Nominations can be made now until September 30th 2016.
To find out more about the BCA or British Citizen Youth Awards, and to nominate someone for the next awards in January 2017, please visit britishcitizenawards.co.uk.
July 13, 2016