When our founders, Dr Anthony Leathem together with his wife Pat decided to set up Against Breast Cancer in 1993 they were responding to the urgent need to improve survival from secondary spread, the main cause of breast cancer related deaths.
Anthony, a Pathologist at Middlesex Hospital had seen at first hand and become increasingly upset at the number of women dying from breast cancer.
His decision to act would change both their lives forever.
Patricia and Anthony are a continuing source of inspiration and advice to the research teams.
Richard Bahu, Chair of Trustees
Dr Anthony Leathem
Anthony was a pathologist at the Middlesex Hospital (later University College London) when, upset by the number of post mortems he carried out each day on young women dying from breast cancer, he started carrying out research into breast cancer survival.
With no funding for his research, he took matters into his own hands stood outside Oxford Circus underground station in his white lab coat rattling a tin for his own research, capturing the attention of the press and the public imagination.
After setting up the charity together with his wife Pat in 1993, Tony continued as a researcher at University College London until retirement in 2009.
His main achievements included identifying a chemical difference between aggressive and non-aggressive breast cancer cells and playing a pivotal role in the charity’s DietCompLyf study into the diet and lifestyle of breast cancer patients.
Tony continued after that time as an advisor to his former research group and a trustee to the charity.
Whilst he has since stepped back from these roles, his vision and enthusiasm for the cause remains a driving force behind the charity today.
Mrs Patricia Leathem
Patricia was a breast cancer theatre nurse at Oxford’s Churchill Hospital when Tony began his research into breast cancer. She took it upon herself to fundraise, writing to schools, chambers of commerce and women’s organisations. Pat involved her friends in collection days outside supermarkets and then planted her entire allotment with sweet peas and sold them at her front door.
Along with Tony, Pat co-founded Against Breast Cancer in 1993, with the couple dipping into their joint salaries to set up a charity fund. Pat remained actively involved for 19 years later.
In 1998 she was voted Oxfordshire Woman of the Year and, after her retirement in 2012, Pat continued to serve as a trustee for several years.
Today Pat remains one of the Against Breast Cancer’s biggest supporters and takes great pleasure in seeing how far the charity has come.