WHO ARE THE BEN WALTON TRUST?
The Ben Walton Trust was formed in 1996 to commemorates the memory of Ben Walton and his year long battle with Oral Cancer. Ben was only 22 years old when he died and the Ben Walton Trust were founded to honour his memory and also to help others facing oral cancer. You can read more about the the Trust on their website but we will give an idea of what drove Ben’s family to start the Trust and their aims and objectives. Here is Ben’s story, which is very moving and highlights a remarkable young man and his remarkable family.
“SOMETHING SHOULD BE DONE ABOUT IT”
I am going to quite directly from The Ben Walton Trust website to give an idea of why they were founded and what they do.
Ben had always been amazed and horrified that something so little known, that starts so seemingly innocuously as a simple mouth ulcer, can go on, within the space of a year, to kill. He was very insistent that “something should be done about it”.
After our son died we set up The Ben Walton Trust, as a response to the way he had tackled and faced up to this disease. The Trust is an independent recognised Scottish Charity, which works both nationally and internationally to pursue the aims of:
- Raising awareness of the disease;
- Funding research;
- Encouraging appropriate palliative care.
We initially did as much finding out about the disease as possible, reading and writing letters to anyone that could give us useful information. All were very helpful and supportive. We kept hearing anecdotally about more and more young cases and as, at that time, oral cancer was very much thought of as a disease that principally affected late middle-aged heavy drinkers and smokers we felt that there was a real increase that the traditional risk factors could not entirely explain. It was, however, very difficult to source hard statistics, many of which were recorded in varying forms. Data capture has significantly improved since that time. It has now finally been recognised that ‘oral cancer can occur in either gender at any age’.
A moving story which has lead to a charity which helps many thousands of people.
MORE INFORMATION ABOUT THE BEN WALTON TRUST.
The Ben Walton Trust have achieved a lot since their inception in 1996, by promoting and funding research, raising awareness of oral cancer particularly in young people and ensuring a lasting legacy for Ben.
One area in particular that has been a great success is The Ben Walton Trust’s contribution the British Medical Journal’s continued personal development programme. As of November 2012 11,139 medics have accessed the module “Mouth Cancer: recognising and referring early.” This module, funded by The Ben Walton Trust : raises awareness of oral cancers in young people,emphasises the importance of prompt early detection and increases clinicians confidence when treating mouth lesions. The module has had some extremely positive feedback from all those who have completed it.
Have a look round their website and you can see the work they are doing and the events they have created to raise awareness of oral cancers. We hope to continue to work in partnership with The Ben Walton Trust and help them continue their great work.