I have set up a charity in Italy called Comitato Fiori di Lavanda Onlus to raise funds for research into childhood leukaemia.  I attach a recent article that appeared in the British Chamber of Commerce for Italy review which sets out details of what the charity does.  Further details are also available online at www.comitatolavanda.com.  HM Ambassador to Italy, Christopher Prentice CMG, is the charity’s patron. 

“In 1970 there was only a 5% chance of survival for childhood lymphoblastic leukaemia. Put another way, 95% of children died.  However, following the last 40 years of research, in 2011 there is now an 80% survival rate. This is a huge increase in the overall survival rate, thanks to research, research, research. But put another way, 20% of children still die. Indeed, even today certain strands of leukaemia still do not respond well to treatment, for example, in the age group under 12 months old where the success rate is a pitifully low 20%. In other less palatable words, 80% of these children under 12 months old will still die. Continued research into the causes, cure and prevention of leukaemia is therefore paramount. We need a goal of a 100% survival rate, improved treatment protocols to be tailored for each individual patient, and even a vaccine in the years to come.

Comitato Fiori di Lavanda Onlus is an Italian charity established in 2010 to fund research into childhood leukaemia.  HM Ambassador to Italy, Christopher Prentice CMG, is the Charity’s patron.

The Charity has two distinct goals in the area of leukaemia research:

1.         UK research initiative: the Charity is sending four Italian research assistants from Monza to English research centres such as the Cancer Research Institute in Sutton, Surrey. This is an annual programme of cross border collaboration, and in 2011 we aim to raise €150,000 to support this initiative. The four researchers from Monza will also be assisting the English research teams currently working on the causes of the “Milan Cluster” where 7 children from the same school in Milan contracted leukaemia in a 2 week period in October 2009. This close collaboration is integral to the advance of international research, for developing treatment protocols and generally to promote closer ties in the field of research. In fact, a joint UK – Italian treatment protocol will be launched in 2012 as a result of similar research collaboration.

2.         European research centre in Monza: the Charity is supporting the Ospedale S. Gerardo in Monza in the construction of a new dedicated infant haematological cancer centre.  Part of this dedicated unit will house a new European research centre for leukaemia research, and house the researchers currently supported by the Charity for research activities in the UK. A European leukaemia research centre in Monza will further facilitate cross border research and the exchange of research activities, with the aim of advancing the current 80% cure rate. The research centre will cost over €6 million to construct.

How can you help?

Please see our website www.comitatolavanda.com  for details of our fundraising events and where it is possible to make donations online.  Recent events have included Charity teams running the Venice marathon and Como half marathon, and future events include an art auction at Palazzo Clerici in Milan, hosted by Christie’s, the London marathon 2012 and New York marathon 2012.  All events aim to raise funds and awareness for childhood leukaemia.

Thank you for your precious support.

BCCI Charity Committee

During the Annual General Meeting 2011 the Charity Committee was announced and presented to all BCCI Members.  This newly formed team is led by David Crackett, BCCI’s Vice President – Immediate Past President; Martin Pugsley, Massimo Audisio, Arnaldo Carpi and James Meickle will help him run it.  This committee aims to assist charities in their planning and resource management.”