Diagnosis of award-winning automotive engineer raises awareness of under-researched killer disease

Mike Everitt’s colleagues partake in notorious Wolf Run to raise money for research needed to improve 3% survival rate of pancreatic cancer

The recent diagnosis of a highly regarded, senior member of the automotive engineering community has raised awareness of a form of cancer that has had no improvement in its 3% survival rate for over 40 years. Mike Everitt, managing director of specialist transmissions consultancy Vocis was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer late last year. On April 11th, his colleagues will take part in the Wolf Run, a gruelling 10k obstacle course, to support the Pancreatic Cancer Research Fund (PCRF), the national charity dedicated to funding research to help beat this devastating disease.

The team hopes to raise £10,000 to support research; automotive and engineering industry colleagues can support by donating here; www.justgiving.com/vocis1/

Mike came to prominence for leading the Ricardo engineering team that developed the transmission for the Bugatti Veyron, which won them the prestigious Dewar Trophy in 2004. Following this success, Mike and four colleagues went on to co-found Vocis, a leading developer of automotive transmissions and control systems that today is highly regarded for its ability to solve difficult challenges for many of the world’s leading vehicle manufacturers.

Pancreatic Cancer is a little understood and under-researched form of cancer, with 85% of patients diagnosed too late for surgery, the only current chance for full recovery. The disease has the lowest survival rate of all common cancers, with only three percent of patients living five years or longer after diagnosis, and yet it receives only two percent of available cancer research funding. This exceptionally low survival rate has seen no improvements over the last 40 years. Over this same period, survival rates for Leukaemia and breast cancer have risen to 80%. The Pancreatic Cancer Research Fund is dedicated to funding research to help provide the improved survival rates we have seen with other forms of cancer.

“It’s wonderful to hear how friends, colleagues and associates are uniting to support Mike – it speaks volumes about him and the ethos of the whole company,” says Maggie Blanks, founder and CEO of the Pancreatic Cancer Research Fund. “We’re very grateful to be chosen to receive the funds raised by Team Vocis from the gruelling Wolf run event. I can promise that it will be put to great use, funding cutting edge research projects run by the UK’s best scientists that we hope will lead to new treatments to tackle this disease. Go Team V!”

Following Mike’s diagnosis, the team at Vocis became aware of the need of further research into this devastating disease. Mike’s colleagues are taking part in the notorious Wolf Run. The team of 33 people will tackle the water, hills, mud pits, and ditches for which the demanding event is famous, an indication of the high regard in which Mike is held and the seriousness of the need to address the challenge of this highly aggressive disease.

“40 years ago, few children beat leukaemia and only 46% of women with breast cancer survived. These figures have now improved tremendously to 80% for both diseases,” says Craig Wilkinson, test & development engineer, Vocis. “When Mike told us about his diagnosis, it hit us all hard as the statistics of this cancer make grim reading.  Vocis really is like a big family and we all wanted to do something to help. Funding research into new treatments is vital. I think the numbers of people who’ve signed up to do it, including Mike’s wife Amanda, his two sons, clients, associates and close friends shows the regard that everyone has for Mike. This isn’t staff fundraising for their boss out of duty, this is a group of people fundraising for a friend they care deeply about and respect enormously.”

“The reaction and support from Vocis staff and everyone involved in the fundraising has been absolutely amazing and humbling,” says Mike. “The fundraising’s been terrific: we’ve had extremely generous donations from so many individuals, car manufacturers and other customers from all over Europe, some of whom don’t even know me very well personally. All being well, as the event is on a weekend, and I don’t have my radiotherapy at the weekends, I’ll go down to watch the Wolf Run and enjoy a good laugh at their antics.”

To support the fundraising efforts of the Vocis team, please visit www.justgiving.com/vocis1/

You can find out more about the Pancreatic Cancer Research Fund at http://www.pcrf.org.uk/

About pancreatic cancer

Each year approximately 8,800 people in the UK are diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. It is an extremely difficult cancer to diagnose and treat because it is unusually aggressive, symptoms are often vague and generally appear at an advanced stage of the disease. Around three per cent of those diagnosed with pancreatic cancer will survive for five years or more, a figure that has barely improved in forty years.

Pancreatic Cancer Research Fund (PCRF) www.pcrf.org.uk
PCRF is the only UK charity exclusively funding research into pancreatic cancer. The charity has so far funded 34 research projects worth some £5M across UK universities and these projects are funded entirely from public donations.

Press Contact
Leanne Barton at Market Engineering
01295 277050
Leanne.barton@m-eng.com

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