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Winner

Steve Clark


Summary of work

Steve Clark has worked in the pharmaceutical industry for over 30 years, as a fantastic global marketer, fulfilling roles in both UK and global marketing as well as business unit management in Sanofi and UCB Pharma. For over 10 years Steve has run a successful consultancy business, supporting numerous pharma companies and agencies. Steve is also a former Chairman of the Pharmaceutical Marketing Society.

Throughout his career, Steve has been recognised for patient-focussed communication, two examples of this happened while working at Sanofi:
*While working at Sanofi UK, in collaboration with Epilepsy Action, Steve launched the ‘Epilepsy care Making it Happen’ initiative which won several awards including two Communique Awards in 1998 and 1999.
*Internationally, Steve worked with the International Bureau for Epilepsy and the World Health Organisation, Steve launched ‘Epilepsy: Out of the Shadows’ which aimed to take epilepsy care to Africa in 2003.

In 2013, Steve was diagnosed with stage 4 bowel cancer. As it was a particularly aggressive form he wasn’t expected to survive much past the first year, however, he had far better than expected responses to treatment and is about to celebrate the sixth anniversary of his diagnosis. To put this into perspective, less than 7% of patients with stage 4 bowel cancer survive to five years. Despite this he leads a very full life, a big part of which is volunteering to help others with this disease.

Testimonials

I was diagnosed with Stage 4 bowel cancer in June 2017 and first encountered Steve Clark shortly afterwards. Steve is an absolute inspiration to those of us with the disease, particularly stage 4, the most advanced form. Not only has he defied the odds and survived for nearly 6 years (and counting) since his own stage 4 diagnosis, but he has worked tirelessly to lift the profile of bowel cancer. Steve is one of Bowel Cancer UK’s most prominent and active supporters, fundraising, raising awareness, campaigning and acting as a moderator on their on-line forum. He also runs his own business and is a fantastic example of someone who has not allowed cancer to take over his life.

He is well known in the bowel cancer community and beyond for his “Strive For Five” website, his knowledge of the disease and the sound advice that he provides. He has a gift for communicating in a calm and easy-going manner, whether in person, via his website or on social media. I have had the pleasure of meeting Steve on several occasions at various bowel cancer events and I cannot think of a better recipient for this award.

Patrick (patient)

I have been informed that you have kindly, and quite rightly, nominated Steve Clarke for the ‘Communique award’ which I think is an amazing accolade which will be very much deserved.

Steve is a kind, gentle, and extremely supportive soul. I for one am very proud to know him. I have personal experience of Steve's kind support, which he offers so widely to people who are facing extremely challenging and vulnerable times.

What Steve has done for Bowel Caner UK - by supporting forum members and raising a huge amount of  money, is nothing short of fantastic! And all this in spite of his own personal challenges.

It takes an extremely special person, just like Steve, to achieve such great goals and inspire so many people who are sometimes facing the worst times in their lives. I will certainly be keeping everything crossed that he is a successful nominee and receives the much deserved Communique award.

Thank you for nominating such special man.

Marie (patient)

I first came to know Steve Clark (known as Bear G on the BCUK Forum) when I was desperately seeking some information about Bowel Cancer. My husband had unfortunately been diagnosed with Stage 4 Bowel Cancer and the circumstances surrounding his diagnosis and treatment options were very confusing to me at the time. I was researching like a mad woman all over the internet trying to glean bit of information from various different websites but to no avail. Everywhere I looked online it said that my husband was going to die. I eventually came across BCUK (formerly Beating Bowel Cancer) and remember posting for the first time desperate to find anyone who was in the same situation as my husband who had survived. 25 mins after posting for the first time Steve replied to me - he was a Stage 4 patient and was so positive in his response to me. It was calm, considered and really made me feel that I was not alone. Over the last few years he has really helped me either when I’ve been feeling down or to give advice about how to deal with my husband’s cancer. It amazes me that he can be so supportive to others and do so much for charity when he is still having regular treatment and dealing with cancer himself. I have met Steve now a couple of times and he is such an inspiring person - always thinking of ways to raise money for charity from growing a beard for a whole year to putting on small events - he never ceases to amaze me. I am now a volunteer moderator on BCUK and hope that I can try to help just a few people along the way. Steve is one of the reasons I do this - I want to give back and inspire people to keep positive and strong on this cancer journey. I would also like to add that after a year of chemo and two years of maintenance chemo my husband was declared to be cancer free - I feel without Steve supporting me through these things may have been very different for us. Thanks so much Steve - you are amazing!

Tiffany (wife of a patient)

Steve Clark has been a vital supporter of Beating Bowel Cancer since 2013 and continued his commitment to the charity when they merged with Bowel Cancer UK. Steve really is a ‘one in a million’ supporter for the charity and we would be lost without him. Not only does he play an important role as one of a small handful of volunteer forum moderators, but he speaks at our events, has offered telephone support to those that have recently been diagnosed with the disease and helped us form content for our health information. He also has a long standing fundraising and awareness campaign called Strive for Five, which aims to celebrate his five year survival, which has, so far, raised nearly £20k. Most importantly, he does all this whilst living with stage four bowel cancer. He really is one of our superheroes and worthy of this outstanding award.

Deborah Alsina MBE, Chief Executive of Bowel Cancer UK and Beating Bowel Cancer

I have known Steve for some years and without hesitation I fully support this application for an award.  Steve is an inspiration not just to other cancer patients but to our sector as a whole. As a long-standing pharmaceutical sector professional he has used his unique insight to highlight the needs of patients and their partnerships working with colleagues in various companies.

Steve has used his business background to inform advocacy for patients to huge effect. For example, he ensured that Theresa May gave up well over an hour of her time, during the EU Referendum period, to meet Steve and myself and hear directly the issues facing cancer patients around access to medicines.  Mrs May has not previously had such a briefing and, clearly this has proved a valuable point of contact since she became PM.

It should be remembered, all the while, that alongside his tireless focus on advocacy, fundraising and helping others, Steve has continued receiving chemotherapy for stage four bowel cancer, which is incurable.  He remains a man to be admired and respected by colleagues across our sector."

Mark Flannagan, Former CEO Beating Bowel Cancer

Steve has been an absolute inspiration to us all.  Since his diagnosis 6 years ago he has maintained not just a positive focus on his own health - but in the face of adversity - Steve has turned his condition on its head and used his own experience to positively advise and support others.

He has driven patient and carer support through the bowel cancer charities, he has driven lobbying for better patient screening, and he has driven general awareness of bowel cancer, not least through his current campaign - “strive for five”.

Steve’s strength and activities deserve true recognition - his entry has my 110% support.

Sandy Royden, COO Open Heath and friend for the last 25 years

This week is an extremely special time, because it marks the 6th anniversary of my dearest friend Steve's diagnosis with Stage 4 Bowel Cancer and fast growing secondaries in the liver and both lungs. Sounds like a crazy date to celebrate? Let me explain more...

Steve had an operation to remove the large tumour. Then aggressive chemo for the next 6 months which was, thankfully, very successful.

After this, his liver and one lung were clear. The other lung had three small spots.

He started himself on long term maintenance chemotherapy in 2014 which he will be on this for the rest of his life.

In May 2016 Steve had a proper recurrence. A lung metastasis which, thankfully, was successfully treated with radio frequency ablation.

Then in 2017, Steve was also sitting in a coffee shop at the window with a friend when a Porsche hurtled through the window hitting him before landing on the coffee shop counter. Two surgeries to his leg followed this and notable PTSD.

Last year Steve was given more promising results and his prognosis was still extremely positive.

Did you know... only 7% of patients with Stage 4 Bowel Cancer make it to 5 years? And that is why this is such an important date because Steve isn't just doing well. He is flourishing.

To say Steve is an inspiration would be a huge understatement.

I have never heard him complain. I have NEVER heard him utter the words "it's not fair" or "why me?” Could you do that? I couldn't.

He is unstoppable. He has always been a high achiever. He runs a very successful company but now in addition to that - SINCE his diagnosis - he trained as and qualified as a Budoken Yoga master. He has travelled the world. Been to the Northern Lights. Adopted a dog called Pippa (superstar). He's ticked off more Bucket List boxes than most people do in an entire lifetime.

Life DID NOT STOP when he was given his diagnosis. If anything, it has spurred him on to make even more out of life.

Three years ago Steve and I had tea (and cake... always cake) one day and he told me about an idea he had: to set up a charity called Strive for Five to help increase awareness of bowel cancer and give hope to people with advanced bowel cancer. So obviously he did this.

Over the last three years he has raised over £30,000 for the charity Beating Bowel Cancer through various means: Fitness, Yoga, Music, Art, Adrenalin you name it. On June 23rd, 2018 he held a huge mini festival to celebrate the charity success and his 5th year anniversary.

Steve is an ambassador for Beating Bowel Cancer and acts as a "Patient Voice, Forum Moderator, campaigner and fundraiser". He offers support and advice to people who need it. He has posted over 3000 updates on the forum and he helped to write updates of patient information booklets and factsheets including introducing advice on 'how to get the most from your chemo'.

In 2017 Steve was a guest speaker at the major IMPACT initiative meeting. He spoke on how to help bridge the gaps in care. His speech was incredible and has done wonders for the listeners.

He was also a panellist in a discussion at the European Patient Forum - again helping the industry on ways to better support patients.

He has also presented to two major pharmaceutical companies who work in Bowel Cancer care to give them first-hand knowledge in to what it is truly like being a person with advanced Bowel Cancer and what they can do to help others.

Not only that but Steve met The Right Honourable Theresa May MP just before she became Prime Minister to discuss the needs of Bowel Cancer patients.

In 2016 Steve received the Beating Bowel Cancer Annual Achievement Award; the citation was "for everything you do to help others".

He is now up for a major Communique Award and I cannot think of anyone better in life that this should go to.

Steve has made a REAL difference. Not only to me and all of his huge circle of other close friends but most importantly to millions of other patients; to stakeholders; to influencers; and to the industry itself.

He alone is making a HUGE impact on so many lives in the amount of help he gives and the amount he works on. He is a never ending inspiration and for his overwhelming effort to truly be noticed would be unbelievable.

In all honesty... Even this award is not enough to truly give back to someone so deserving.

"A diagnosis of Stage 4 Bowel Cancer doesn't have to be the end of your life. It can be the reason to start living it" Steve Clark

Alexandra Legouix – tv sports presenter and I’m proud to say he is my friend!

Steve is one of life’s great heroes. He has turned a very challenging diagnosis into a reason to do good; supporting others, raising awareness of patient needs and raising money for a very worthy cause. His passion, positivity and energy are infectious. I think we’d all like to believe that we’d behave the same way if we were in Steve’s position but I doubt that many of us actually could or would. It is an absolute honour to know Steve and be inspired by him.

Jennifer Chilver, COO Open Heath Medical Communications and friend

I'm writing in support of Steve Clark's nomination for the Communique award. Since being given a diagnosis of stage 4 bowel cancer Steve has become an important advocate in the bowel cancer community. This is both in terms of supporting other patients and educating healthcare professionals. He provides sensible, measured and practical advice on the Bowel Cancer UK patient forum and will have directly helped a large number of patients. The questions encountered on the forum also show the problems with the information patients are being given by healthcare professionals. Steve has also worked hard to try and address this. His IMPACT video provides not only factual information but also a really important message regarding how to approach talking to patients with advanced cancer. The language used in such circumstances is clearly extremely important and can make a big difference to the patient experience. As a doctor who has had treatment for bowel cancer myself I am very aware of the potential negative psychological impact that can be caused by poor communication skills. Finally Steve's "Strive for Five" campaign continues to raise awareness of bowel cancer/advanced bowel cancer through the website/Facebook/Twitter.

Kirsty (patient)


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