A New Years message from Mike and Jules Peters

As we reflect on all that the Love Hope Strength Foundation achieved this year, and all that 2023 brought for us personally, we are, once again, very grateful to everyone who works in, guides the path of, and supports cancer control.

Through the years we have seen the development, and been the beneficiaries, of evidence-based interventions for cancer prevention, early detection, diagnosis, treatment, and palliative care. In 2023 we were privileged to spend time with clinicians and leaders in these fields who have inspired us to do more in all of these areas.

Since we established Love Hope Strength in 2007, we have met and come to know incredible individuals, families and friend groups who have been affected by cancer. 2023 was no exception. This year we have been really moved and motivated by local, national and international campaigns to help enhance the care, treatment and support that people with cancer receive. We have also witnessed and been privileged to be part of some of the most wonderful fundraising appeals, both led by supporters of the Love Hope Strength Foundation and for other cancer support non-profit organisations. The impressive momentum behind this sort of activity never ceases to amaze us.

Here’s a snapshot of some notable moments for the Love Hope Strength Foundation in 2023:

January: Hearing the hero that is Pete McCleave, the blood cancer campaigner who has formed the 10000 donors and Gob for Good campaigns, share his story in January at the UK Gathering.

February: Donating £20,000 to North Wales’ cancer services to support additional equipment, special boxes for newly diagnosed patients, and extra patient comforts.

March: Granting £10,000 to Newcastle University to help improve genomic diagnostics in myeloma and establish new collaborations for myeloma research in the North East of England

April: Working in partnership with Tumaini La Maisha, the organisation in Tanzania which provides children’s cancer services in the Muhimbili Hospital in Dar Es Salaam and across the country, to agree a $100,000 donation to support the urgent, vital life-saving services that the team provide for children and their families

May: Preparing for the magical Snowdon Rocks Weekender which saw over 100 of us gather in the stunning mountains of North Wales to walk, talk, relax and share experiences. Described as ‘nourishing, revitalising and so much fun’ the memorable Weekender has provided a perfect template for future activities to help support those affected by cancer

June: Reuniting with Love Hope Strength supporters in New York to walk and talk through Central Park and reignite plans to develop activities and support networks in the USA

July: Planning a meeting with valued partner, the Union for International Cancer Control (UICC) in their Headquarters in Geneva. In September a large group of us were able to meet the team and learn how they are playing a pivotal role in advancing cancer control across the globe. It gave us the opportunity to reaffirm Love Hope Strength’s commitment to funding UICC’s support for hospitals and cancer support organisations operating in communities experiencing conflict and / or deprivation

August: Organising Austin Rocks, a fabulous hike and evening of entertainment with the support of the generous, community focussed Arcis Golf, which took place in Texas in October, and taking the Get On The List programme to the Wales National Eisteddfod

September: Rock the Alps saw a wonderful group of supporters, people affected by cancer and adventure enthusiasts come together to hike with Mike, make music and memories, conquer fears and form new friendships in Switzerland and France, and raise over $100,000

October: We attended the World Cancer Leaders Summit in California, and held a Pier to Pier walk in the name of Love Hope Strength. We created new bonds with experts in cancer treatments and we learnt so much. This learning is now being applied to the strategic planning for the Love Hope Strength Foundation

November: Love Hope Strength Australia were able to donate to the Nelune Foundation to support the development of a Men’s Health Clinic, specialising in prostate cancer care, at the St Vincent’s Hospital campus in Sydney

December: Developing plans for 2024-2027 Love Hope Strength activity, including the ‘El Camino Rocks’ hike in Northern Spain in June 2024 as well as the inaugural Treat:Retreat for people affected by cancer. Also, on the back of the success of the fantastic support received by Ferocious Dog and other bands and musicians in 2023, planning activity for our Get On The List programme in 2024

We’ll be sharing plans for 2024 over the next few days:
Treat: Retreat, North Wales: Friday 26th – Sunday 28th January
The Red Rocks 1, North Wales: Thursday 6th – Sunday 9th June
El Camino Rocks, Spain: Sunday 9th – Thursday 13th June
The Red Rocks 2, North Wales: Thursday 13th – Sunday 16th June
And Rocks events in the USA, with dates to be confirmed

Love Hope Strength Person of the Year
Since 2020 we have given the accolade ‘Love Hope Strength Person of the Year’ to someone who has embodied the spirit of Love Hope Strength in some way. This year we have met so many people who deserve this, but have chosen to recognise two people:
1. Lilian Nydyetabula, the Chief Operating Officer of Tumaini La Maisha, the organisation in Tanzania which provides children’s cancer services. Lilian’s husband passed away unexpectedly this year, but she despite facing tragedy at home and challenging pressures at work, she continued to dedicate herself to ensuring that her patients continued to receive the urgent care they needed. Lilian’s dedication, passion and resilience in times of adversity are beyond heroic
2. Long-time Love Hope Strength supporter Julie Dutton was struck with an unexpected illness this year which saw spend weeks in hospital and she continues to recuperate at home. Julie’s stoic perseverance and zest for life is truly admirable

Thank you, Lilian and Julie, for being such towers of love, hope and strength in your own special, important ways. Wishing you happiness for 2024.

Our hope for 2024 is for health and peace, and in the absence of these, love hope and strength for you and your families.

Your support for the Love Hope Strength Foundation and Love Hope Strength’s partners makes a difference now and in the future. We hope you will be able to support, get involved or encourage others to do so, and to all of you who did so in 2023: thank you, on behalf of the Love Hope Strength US Board, UK trustees and LHS Australia Board of Trustees.

With love and respect,

Mike and Jules Peters
Co-founders, Love Hope Strength Foundation