In 2008, when Professor Plummer was treating Sir Bobby as he faced cancer for a fifth time, she was also trying to raise £500,000 to equip a new cancer drug trials unit and asked him if he knew anyone might like to help.
Sir Bobby responded by launching his Foundation.
During one particularly complex meeting discussing charitable law and legal issues, Professor Plummer remembers Sir Bobby fixing her with his steely gaze and asking: “Why did you ask?”
It was a joke he would repeat when he wrote it on a photo of him with the clinical trials team, that he sent to Professor Plummer and which is still displayed in her office in the Sir Bobby Centre.
On International Clinical Trials Day, Professor Plummer said: “The importance of clinical trials is being highlighted all over the world and this feels like a great time to celebrate the benefits of working together as a team to bring forward better and innovative treatments for cancer patients.
“Of course, our most important teamwork begins with our patients who choose to undertake a drug trial. Without their input none of this would be possible.
Sir Bobby opening the centre in 2009 alongside Professor Plummer
“Sir Bobby was a patient here and he absolutely understood how important the progression of clinical trials is, and the vital role patients play in that. I’m sure he’d be very proud to see the steps forward we’re all taking together.”
Officially opened by Sir Bobby on 20th February 2009, patients and staff at the Sir Bobby Centre work closely together to improve the treatment and diagnosis of cancer and study the effects of new drugs, for the benefit of this generation and generations to come.
As well as equipping the unit, the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation also funds training posts for a specialist clinical trials doctor and nurse within the centre.
Cancer drug trials are a team effort and in 2013 the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation was proud to join the Newcastle Cancer Centre.
In the Sir Bobby Centre during a recent Open Day
This partnership launched in 2009 and is a collaboration of Cancer Research UK, the North of England Children’s Cancer Research Fund, Newcastle University and Newcastle upon Tyne Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust.
By promoting closer links between scientists, doctors, nurses and funding organisations, the Newcastle Cancer Centre aims to speed the delivery of new therapies and improve cancer services.