Bent and Bannan hand over Villa donation to Cure Leukaemia
Cure Leukaemia funds research nurses to enable patients in the West Midlands region to access potentially life-saving and ground-breaking drugs and treatments.
To date, Cure Leukaemia has helped to treat more than 400 patients in the region through securing £17m worth of revolutionary drugs, as well as funding research nurses to administer these trials.
Without expert research nurses to ensure patients are constantly monitored and cared for, these trials could not happen and the donation made to the charity by Villa will go towards funding the work of a senior nurse engaged in this vital research.
Villa captain Stiliyan Petrov was diagnosed with acute leukaemia earlier this year and, although in remission, he faces an ongoing fight to get better.
Darren Bent and Barry Bannan visited the Haematology Centre this week and spoke to senior research nurse Julie Arazzi while Paul Faulkner is set to be appointed a trustee of the charity.
"Cure Leukaemia's dedication and pioneering work is inspiring," Villa CEO Paul Faulkner said.
"There is a natural link between the club and Cure Leukaemia following Stiliyan's diagnosis and I'm looking forward to assisting the team and supporting their hard work in the fight against leukaemia."
Darren Bent said: "I think Stan's situation has opened a lot of people's eyes and it's great to come down here to visit Cure Leukaemia and see the fantastic work that they do. It's been tremendous being here.
"It seems like support is coming from everywhere in the fight against leukaemia and I'm sure Stan has been overwhelmed by the support. Having places like this dedicated to helping people can only help.
"When I spoke to Julie, the research nurse, a little earlier she told me that they are always looking to find new treatments and cures and this can only help people in the same situation as Stan.
"Villa is always doing great work in the community and is actively involved in many charities across the region - this is one of the things that impressed me when I first came to the club.
"Knowing how much work they do in the community is mind-blowing really and seeing how it helps in a very real way is hugely inspiring.
"It's a special honour for me to be wearing the captain's armband after someone like Stan has worn it and I'm also honoured to be involved in a cause like this which will have a real impact in the community."
Barry Bannan said: "It's really touching coming to places like this and it really does put football into perspective.
"After listening to what the nurses and staff have had to say today, it touches you and puts you in a place where you think you're happy training and being fit and healthy. It makes you appreciate that very much.
"It also makes you think about how Stan is feeling now. Growing up, Stan Petrov was my hero and it hit me really hard when I heard the devastating news about his diagnosis.
"Stan's an inspiration for so many people now and for me to come here and do this is fantastic. I feel really privileged to have been able to visit here and the work that Cure Leukaemia is doing is something we're very proud as a club to be able to support."
James McLaughlin, CEO of Cure Leukaemia, said: "I am delighted to welcome Paul as a trustee and also the players who have come to see exactly what we're doing here at the Haematology Centre. Darren and Barry have seen for themselves the invaluable work the nurses do at the centre.
"Since Stiliyan Petrov's diagnosis, the club has been extremely supportive of the work the charity does. The generous donation by the club will make a huge difference and will help provide people who are battling the disease with potentially life-saving treatment and care.
"Their support has been hugely appreciated and the club's experience and knowledge of the West Midlands business community will be vital as we continue to grow and develop over the coming years."
Next year will mark the 10th anniversary of Cure Leukaemia and senior research nurse Julie Arazzi has been there from the outset as the first research nurse that the charity hired.
Julie Arazzi said: "The work that we are doing at the centre has vital importance in the fight against leukaemia and ongoing funding is crucial if we are to continue to make inroads in developing potentially life-saving and ground-breaking drugs and treatments.
"Villa's involvement is tremendous from the point of view of highlighting the work being done in this area and their support for their captain makes this something very personal to everyone at the club."
Birmingham-based charity, Cure Leukaemia, funds research nurses to enable blood cancer patients to access potentially lifesaving, ground breaking drugs and treatments.
Click here to watch AVTV's extensive video footage of the day.
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