County Durham farmer, Leo Moralee, was diagnosed with a blood cancer in 2021 and found a unique way to say thank you for the trial treatment he is receiving by donating a sheep to our Foundation.

Leo Moralee

Leo, aged 62, has follicular lymphoma, a type of non-Hodgkin lymphoma, and the drug trial treatment he is receiving at the Northern Centre for Cancer Care at the Freeman Hospital has, thankfully, greatly improved his physical wellbeing.

Leo, who is from Langley Park and has two sons, says: “I’m being very well-cared for and it’s a five-star team at the Northern Centre for Cancer Care. Everyone from the radiologists to the cleaners is friendly and caring and I feel like I’m in very good hands.

“Being on a cancer ward and seeing other people going through this, particularly those younger than me, really puts things into perspective and I wanted to do something to help for the future.

“I had one ewe left and decided to donate it to The Sir Bobby Robson Foundation. I explained this to the Darlington Farmers Auction Mart who advertised it as such and I was absolutely stunned by the response from the buyers.

“It was sold and reoffered five times, which is why it raised £1,500. In reality, it should have gone for around £170. I’m enormously touched and grateful for the amazing generosity. I know one group of farmers clubbed together at one point to buy it. In fact, I was so taken aback I don’t know who actually took the sheep in the end!”

‘Our’ sheep on the left

Leo initially received chemotherapy at Durham Hospital and, when that was not effective, was referred to the Northern Centre for Cancer Care. After further unsuccessful chemotherapy and Car-T therapy he was offered a trial drug, Glofitimab, which he began in December 2022 under the care of the haematology trial team on Ward 11.

Leo adds: “Having cancer has really opened my eyes to the importance of clinical trials and I know I’m very lucky to have been given the chance to go on one.

“Thankfully, it’s going well so far and my life has vastly improved. I’ve gone from needing a wheelchair to enjoying life again.”

Professor Ruth Plummer is Director of the Sir Bobby Robson Cancer Trials Research Centre and, coincidentally, also has a keen interest in sheep.

Professor Plummer says: “Once again I am so touched by the generosity of patients and their local communities, in supporting the work we do through the Foundation.

“This is also a donation after my own heart, as our small flock of sheep keep me grounded and busy in my spare time.”