The Founding Aims and Principles of the Tom Bowdidge Youth Cancer Foundation

When a young person is told they have cancer their world is turned upside down.


It was Tom’s wish that his fundraising would continue. He felt that if this was to be done with maximum impact the focus should fall on three key areas – physical and emotional support alongside research. Each of these areas plays a significant part in a cancer diagnosis and the journey that follows.

Our founding principles are as follows:

  1. TO PROMOTE THE RELIEF, CARE, WELL-BEING AND REHABILITATION OF TEENAGERS AND YOUNG PEOPLE SUFFERING FROM CANCER, AND THEIR FAMILIES.
  2. TO CARRY OUT RESEARCH AND PUBLISH ANY USEFUL RESULTS INTO THE CAUSES AND EFFECTS OF CANCER IN TEENAGERS AND YOUNG PEOPLE.

PHYSICAL – The Tom Bowdidge Youth Cancer Foundation aims to fund projects that will provide support for the day to day care of teenage cancer sufferers and their families. It is so important that a young person’s life does not stop because they have cancer. They need to be treated as young people first, cancer patients second. Young people with cancer need expert treatment and support. Only half the teenagers and young people diagnosed are treated in specialist units often far from their home, friends and family. Many patients may also have to attend their local hospital as part of a shared care scheme. The Tom Bowdidge Youth Cancer Foundation wants to ensure they are treated in age appropriate areas where there is space for them to have family or friends by their side. 


EMOTIONAL – Teenagers and their families need teams of specialist people to look after their emotional needs; providing people for them to talk to and to help them understand what is happening to them. The Tom Bowdidge Foundation provides clinical, practical, financial and emotional support to help them cope with their cancer diagnosis. Working closely with social workers we are able to reach teenagers and young adults who need support at this time and provide grants. These grants can be for a wide range of things i.e mattresses for a bed, new clothes because their weight has changed, help with travel costs to and from hospital. 


RESEARCH – We will support the carrying out of research into teenage cancers with specific reference to sarcoma research. Tom was diagnosed with a very rare and aggressive type of soft tissue sarcoma called Desmoplastic Small Round Cell Tumour (DSRCT). The Tom Bowdidge Youth Cancer Foundation is funding a research project at the Institute of Cancer Research, to understand and find treatments for DSRCT and other types of soft tissue sarcoma that affect young people. Treatments available for these aggressive cancers often cause life-changing side-effects that damage healthy organs, change the appearance of patients, result in fertility, and lead to growth and developmental problems. The research team that the Tom Bowdidge Youth Cancer Foundation is funding aim to find more effective and less toxic treatments that target the specific molecular defects that drive the growth of these deadly tumours.