The Prince of Wales met with cancer patients on Thursday as he attended the opening of a £70 million centre to combat the disease.
William’s visit to the Royal Marsden’s Sutton hospital marked the official opening of the Oak Cancer Centre, a research and treatment facility.
He followed in the footsteps of his mother Diana, Princess of Wales, who opened a children’s cancer unit at the hospital in 1993.
In a speech during the ceremony, the prince said: “I’m delighted to be here with you today to celebrate the opening of a remarkable treatment and research facility that will transform the lives of cancer patients.
“The Oak Cancer Centre is a major milestone in both the Royal Marsden’s history and the future of early diagnosis.”
Thank you to everyone who has been involved in making this incredible Centre a reality 🙏🔬 pic.twitter.com/KDfIuM1rqa
— The Prince and Princess of Wales (@KensingtonRoyal) June 8, 2023
He added that the project “demonstrates what can be achieved when global philanthropy works in partnership with the NHS”.
“It is this deep-rooted history of philanthropic giving that enables the Royal Marsden to continue their extraordinary efforts to transform the lives of cancer patients,” he said.
The new centre, funded by the Royal Marsden Cancer Charity, provides a state-of-the-art research and treatment facility for 400 researchers under the same roof as those receiving treatment.
It will focus on developing new treatments for cancer and spotting the disease in its early stages, when patients have the best chances of survival.
William, who laid the foundation stone for the centre in 2020, became president of the Royal Marsden NHS Foundation Trust in 2007.
He took on the role of his mother, the late princess, who held the same position from 1989 until her death in 1997.
During his visit, William met with cancer researchers and patients, including Emma Bishop, 38, from London.
The married mother-of-two was diagnosed with stage four lung cancer last year which had spread all over her body.
She said: “I’ve never smoked, I was dying, and we were terrified.”
Yet six months after starting treatment at The Royal Marsden, there was no evidence of disease beyond her original tumour.
Ms Bishop said: “The Royal Marsden has saved my life.
“A year ago, I didn’t think I’d live, but now I have hope as there are more treatment options for me and so many other cancer patients on the horizon.”
While receiving treatment, Ms Bishop ran the 2022 London Marathon, raising £100,000 for the Royal Marsden Cancer Charity.
She described her efforts as “one of my greatest achievements” and “more than I ever thought possible”.
She said: “Cancer treatment gives you time.
“Time is quite simply the most precious resource we have.”
Chief executive of The Royal Marsden NHS Foundation Trust Dame Cally Palmer said: “This Centre will help the hospital to go faster and further in the delivery of research and cancer treatments and provide the very best environments for our patients.”