LOOK WHAT YOU ALL DID...

Press Release - Wednesday 15th July 2009

Charity employ specialist pancreatic nurse ‘just in time'

‘Amser Justin Time' website a "universal resource for those affected by pancreatic cancer"

Welsh Pancreatic Cancer Charity calls for match-funding from WAG

Wales' pancreatic cancer charity, Amser Justin Time, today (Wednesday 15th July) made a ground-breaking announcement at the University Hospital of Wales, Cardiff, having raised sufficient money in their first year of operation to fund a Specialist Pancreatic Nurse for one day a week. The charity, which is headed by Welsh opera, TV and radio star Shân Cothi, in memory of her husband, Tigertailz' glam-rock star, Justin Smith, marked the announcement with a special performance from Only Men Aloud.

The launch had a fantastic response as crowds of patients, medical staff and hospital visitors filled the Main Concourse of the University Hospital of Wales at lunchtime today to hear Shân Cothi make the announcement, followed by a heartrending rendition of ‘Angels' from the nation's favourite contemporary male choir Only Men Aloud. For those patients unable to attend, the launch was also broadcast live on Hospital Radio. The performance marked the ground-breaking announcement that in the 12 months since the charity was launched, Amser Justin Time has raised over £60,000 and will now use part of these funds to fund a Specialist Pancreatic Nurse for one day a week for two years.

Shan Cothi

Following the launch Shân and Only Men Aloud visited some of the hospital's wards including the C2 ward where Shân's late-husband Justin had himself been a patient. The choir gave an impromptu performance on the ward, which sparked one patient to comment "I'm definitely going to get better now".

Specialist Pancreatic Nurse Nicki Jardine will be funded by the charity and will divide her time between the University Hospital of Wales and the Velindre Cancer Centre in Whitchurch, Cardiff. Nicki said "This is a remarkable achievement for the charity. I feel privileged to be the first nurse to be funded by Amser Justin Time, such an innovative charity that is so devoted to the cause. On a day to day basis I witness first-hand patients and their families dealing with pancreatic cancer and can honestly say that this charity is making a real difference, so a big thank you to Shân and the Amser Justin Time team".

Nice Jardine & Mr Malcolm Puntis

The charity was founded by Welsh opera star and TV personality, Shân Cothi in memory of her husband, the talented TV director and editor and glam-rock star, Justin Smith (aka Tigertailz' Pepsi Tate), who sadly lost his battle against pancreatic cancer in 2007. Shân said "When we launched Amser Justin Time last year with an epic horse-ride from North to South Wales, we met so many people along the way who gave us such a heartwarming welcome and so many kind donations, I bet they're wondering "what happened to the money I donated to Amser Justin Time?" - Well, here's the result...a Specialist Pancreatic Nurse!".

Shân expressed the importance of employing a Specialist Pancreatic Nurse "I'm so proud to be able to tell all the people that supported us that their money will allow us to provide essential care for patients and their families. It's vital they have someone they can talk to who is specially trained, supportive and can ease the difficulty of dealing with this particularly aggressive from of cancer. We hope that with more donations we will be able to fund more nurses around Wales".

Given Shân's celebrity status as a singer, actress and TV personality the charity's fundraising events have had the support of some of Wales' biggest celebrities including Bryn Terfel, who joined Shân to record the downloadable track ‘I Believe'. Shân continued to explain "It's incredible that we've managed to raise this amount of money without having a full-time team in place or even an office. This is the first time for the charity to spend a single penny of the money raised, which is why it's so important for us to mark this occasion".

Celebrating the announcement at the University Hospital of Wales were Only Men Aloud, stepping straight off the plane from performing in America, who gave an impromptu and heartrending rendition of ‘Angels'. Only Men Aloud's Music Director and Founder, Tim Rhys-Evans, said "We are immensely proud to be supporting Amser Justin Time as one of the choir's chosen charities. Having worked and performed with Shân for many years it's amazing to see how one special Welsh lady can inspire a whole nation and achieve such incredible results".

OMA

Mr Malcolm Puntis, a former Consultant Surgeon & Senior Lecturer for the Cardiff & Vale NHS Trust, and a Specialist in Pancreatic Surgery who treated Justin Smith, said "Justin was such an inspiration. It's outstanding to see all the fund-raising being put to tangible use providing extra care for pancreatic cancer patients and their relatives. It is a rare and fortunate thing for a charity to have so little overheads to be able to action front-line funding such as this so soon. It would be greater still if the Welsh Assembly Government were to match the funding raised by Amser Justin Time". Mr Puntis, who has lent his support and expertise freely to Amser Justin Time acting as Mentor for the charity, continued "We are also continuing to develop a comprehensive website to be used as an information resource about pancreatic cancer and to raise public awareness about this cruel disease. We hope the website will become a universal resource for all those affected by pancreatic cancer".

Pancreatic cancer is the tenth most common cancer in the UK with approximately 20 new patients diagnosed each day. The rate of pancreatic cancer is slightly higher in Wales at 14.2 per 100,000 people compared with 12.7 per 100,000 people for the UK as a whole. Nurse Director of Cardiff and Vale NHS Trust Sue Gregory said "We are grateful to Amser Justin Time for their involvement. A specialist nurse will improve the care we provide to pancreatic cancer patients, as well as providing much needed support for their relatives".

For more information on the charity, please visit www.amserjustintime.org

For donations, please visit www.justgiving.com/amser

Amser Justin Time General Information - www.amserjustintime.org

In September 2007, Justin Smith a young and talented musician and film producer died from inoperable pancreatic cancer. His wife Shân Cothi, the well-known singer and broadcaster, decided to start a Welsh charity in memory of Justin with the simple aim of helping pancreatic cancer patients, their friends and their relatives.

Pancreatic cancer is one of the most deadly of all cancers, only 2% of those diagnosed with the disease will survive for 5 years; the majority die much sooner. The early symptoms are vague and non-specific, which means that most patients are not diagnosed until it is too late for surgery. Pancreatic cancer is the tenth  most common cancer in the UK; about 20 new patients are diagnosed every day.

Currently treatment consists of surgical removal, if possible, of the affected part of the pancreas, a long and complex operation with a not insignificant complication rate, followed by chemotherapy, the average survival is then about two years. Most patients and their families need a considerable amount of support to deal with this devastating diagnosis and its treatment before the almost inevitable steady decline of the patient's health and well-being.

The aim of the charity is to raise awareness of this cruel disease and to help patients, families and friends to cope at these difficult times. This charity is there to help those affected by this terrible disease - just in time.

Amser Justin Time has held a series of fundraising events throughout the year, which began with an epic horse-ride from North to South Wales in August and September 2008. Along the way there was the ‘Cyngerdd Cothi' concert where Shân spectacularly entered the Pavilion at Pontrhydfendigaid on horseback.

The epic horse-ride culminated in a special home-coming concert ‘Amser Justin Time 1' at The Point, Cardiff Bay with performances from Only Men Aloud, Serendipity, Catrin Finch and the Tigertailz.

For more details on the charity's fundraising events visit www.amserjustintime.org

The ‘I Believe' single and video is available for download from iTunes, all in aid of Amser Justin Time. Registered Charity Number: 1124951

 

Cardiff and Vale NHS Trust General Information

Cardiff and Vale NHS Trust is one of the largest Trusts in the UK, providing health services for over 500,000 people living in Cardiff and the Vale of Glamorgan. The Trust also serves a wider population of 2.5 million people across South and Mid Wales for a range of specialist services. It is a teaching trust with close links to Cardiff University's School of Medicine, together training the next generation of medical professionals. In 2009 - 2010 the Trust's total income is £653 million and they employ over 14,000 staff.

For more information, please visit http://www.cardiffandvale.wales.nhs.uk/

Only Men Aloud Biography

Only Men Aloud were formed in January 2000 by Choir Master and Music Director Tim Rhys-Evans to inject some new blood into the Male Welsh Choir tradition. The choir have had regular slots on BBC Radio 4 and also Songs of Praise and in 2003 won the male choir category in the inaugural year of S4Cs Côr Cymru.

Following on from this, the choir were chosen to perform on three separate occasions during the opening of the Wales Millennium Centre. They performed in the Opening Ceremony, Royal Gala, and also sang in the pre opening banquet honouring various eminent Welsh figures including Bryn Terfel, Sian Phillips and Shirley Bassey.

In 2008 Only Men Aloud entered what was to be the UK's biggest choir competition to date, with UK choirs battling to become voted the best choir in the UK on BBC1's hit Saturday night show ‘Last Choir Standing'.

After battling through the rounds, OMA gave some incredible performances and after an all Welsh Final, were crowned the winners and the Nations favourite choir.

The choir signed a multi-album record deal with Universal Music and their debut album was released in November 2008, which has sold over a quarter of a million records. OMA have had an extremely busy year with international releases of their debut album plus a full UK sell-out tour, including Cardiff International Arena. This year also sees the choir record and release their second album with Universal Music.

Only Men Aloud have also just returned from their second trip to the USA. Earlier this year the choir were personally invited by the Welsh Assembly to perform as part of Wales Week USA. The choir were invited to

perform in front of the First Minister of Wales and the British Ambassador at the British Embassy in Washington DC. The event promoted Wales as the featured Country in this year's Smithsonian Folklife Festival, which has seen Only Men Aloud return to the States in June and July of this year. Their time in the States has also included performances in New York as well as several TV and Radio appearances, including major American television channel CBS.

For more information and to join their mailing list visit http://www.onlymenaloud.com/