Thanks to You Awards

The 2024 Thanks to You Awards are an opportunity to say a huge and well-deserved thank you, and to celebrate the outstanding contributions of those who give their time, energy and experience to Macmillan and people affected by cancer. 

About the awards

The 2024 Thanks to You Awards provide the opportunity to say a huge and well-deserved thank you, and to celebrate the outstanding contributions of those who give their time, energy and experience to Macmillan and to people living with and affected by cancer.

2024 Winners

We are thrilled to introduce our 2024 Thanks to You Award winners. A massive congratulations to all of our winners for their fantastic achievements. We’re looking forward to celebrating them at a winners-only event which will be taking place in Birmingham on 6 June 2024.
  • With Heart - Helen Topp
    Helen has short brown hair and is smiling. The photo has been cropped to show Helen from the shoulder up.

    After retiring from teaching, Helen decided to join Macmillan’s Gainsborough fundraising committee in Lincolnshire. Within just 2 years, she went from being a member to leading the entire group and steering them towards remarkable achievements. Under her leadership, the committee has raised more than £413,000.

    As well as constantly striving to expand the committee’s reach, Helen also organises her own personal fundraising initiatives each year, including garden parties and Christmas fayres. But her dedication to people affected by cancer doesn't stop there.

    After chatting to people during a bucket collection, Helen recognised that many local people with cancer experienced loneliness and a lack of support. Determined to do something about it, she established the Gainsborough Not Alone initiative and became its lead volunteer. This innovative buddy service provides practical and emotional support to people with cancer in their homes – and Helen plays a pivotal role by training volunteers and ensuring every service user gets the vital support they need.

    On top of this, Helen filled another gap in local cancer support when she co-founded the Gainsborough Cancer Support Group – a safe space where people with cancer can come together to share their experiences.

    With her relentless positivity and boundless empathy, Helen is an invaluable asset to Macmillan and her community.

    What did the judges say?

    “It is abundantly clear how much of an impact Helen has had. She gives so much of herself to support others to be their best, and she always does so with a positive attitude.”

  • With Strength - David Peake
    David is seen from the chest up. He is wearing a green Macmillan branded top and a white hat. The white hat has different pins and badges on it. He appears to be outside.

    Despite living with a terminal cancer diagnosis, David selflessly decided to give his time to Macmillan in return for the support that he has received during his cancer journey.  Since 2022, he has been volunteering with Macmillan's Philanthropy Team, leveraging his background in the charity sector to bolster fundraising efforts.

    His meticulous research and strategic insights have been instrumental in growing Macmillan's donor base, identifying new funding opportunities that have raised over £60,000 towards Macmillan’s work. They have also earned him the affectionate nickname of ‘Mr. Spreadsheet’!

    However, David's influence extends way beyond his computer screen. Last August, he generously shared his story at a Macmillan staff event, where he spoke passionately about his love for Macmillan and volunteering, and he inspired everyone in attendance. On top of this, David also completed a Mighty Hike with his daughter last year and raised £1,400 for Macmillan.

    A Mighty Hike is a daunting challenge for anyone to take on at the best of times, but it was a particularly remarkable achievement for David who was undergoing cancer treatment at the time.

    By making the extraordinary decision to give Macmillan his most precious resource – his time – David has made a massive impact on everyone within the organisation and achieved so much for people affected by cancer.

    What did the judges say?

    “David brings key skills and experience into Macmillan and goes above and beyond to maximise his contribution while living with a terminal diagnosis himself. That shows real strength.”

  • With Ambition - Steve Freemantle
    Steve is sitting on a motorcycle. He is wearing a bright green, curly wig. Steve is also wearing a light green top and a bright tutu. Behind him are event stalls.

    Inspired by the support that both his wife and his mother-in-law received from Macmillan, motorcycle mad Steve founded Bikers 4 Macmillan in 2008. Under Steve's leadership, this unique fundraising group has raised £130,000 and impacted the lives of countless families affected by cancer.

    The group’s flagship event is the Sunset to Sunrise Tour, a challenging but exhilarating ride that takes place every June. Each year around 100 bikers set off from Holyhead in Wales and ride to Skegness in Lincolnshire – the full width of the UK – in one night, in the dark! They arrive in Skegness in time for the sunrise and a well-earned bacon buttie.

    The event, which consistently raises a minimum of £10,000, requires a monumental amount of planning, and Steve happily takes it all on. From managing registrations to risk assessments, and from route riding to sorting out safety protocols, Steve covers every last detail to make sure the event always runs smoothly.

    On top of the Sunset to Sunrise Tour, Steve constantly devises new fundraising ideas, and one of the group’s most popular is their annual Teddy Bears Picnic. This unique event sees a bunch of burly bikers grab their teddy bears and ride to a scenic location for a picnic. Anyone who joins the party without a furry friend has to pay a fine for Macmillan!

    What did the judges say?

    “Steve is an inspiration to us all! He has been resourceful, creative, altruistic and hard-working in his fundraising for Macmillan. He always goes above and beyond.”

  • Lived Experience - Kiwi Patel
    Kiwi is wearing a Macmillan branded top and jeans. He has short dark hair. He is standing and pointing towards a projector. The projector shows a presentation called 'My Cancer Journey: A Copper with Cancer by Kiwi'.

    After being diagnosed with chronic myeloid leukaemia in 2012, Kiwi received support from Macmillan that motivated him to become a volunteer. Despite demanding roles as a Metropolitan Police Sergeant and a National Community Engagement Manager for the Scouts, Kiwi has dedicated an enormous amount of time to ensuring people with cancer receive the vital support they need.

    Kiwi’s ability to share his cancer experience and connect with people has impacted Macmillan in countless ways. As well as helping to secure substantial funding with corporate partners, most notably through a £1.7 million partnership with Omaze – Kiwi was also the driving force behind Macmillan’s partnership with the London Scouts.

    On top of this, Kiwi inspired Macmillan employees at their staff conference, and he raised more than £4,500 through individual fundraising efforts.

    Kiwi is a vocal advocate for mental health awareness, using his lived experience to break down barriers. He has been instrumental in encouraging men in the Asian community to consider taboos about cancer by collaborating with Macmillan on 3 YouTube videos. In the most recent of these, Kiwi and his father spoke in Gujarati about his experience and talked about how Macmillan helped. You can watch this video by visiting Macmillan's YouTube account

    There’s no doubt that Kiwi’s infectious enthusiasm, genuine empathy, and ardent commitment to do whatever it takes to give people with cancer the support they need has improved many lives.

    What did the judges say?

    “Kiwi is a truly inspirational individual and an outstanding ambassador for Macmillan. We’re proud to have him on our team.”

  • Outstanding Supporter - Isle of Lewis and Harris Macmillan Fundraising Group
    A large group of people in dark clothing are standing together. Some of them are wearing Macmillan branded lanyards. They appear to be indoors.

    The Isle of Lewis and Harris Macmillan Fundraising Group is the beating heart of its community. The group has supported Macmillan for five decades and by the end of 2023 it had raised a total of £1.4 million for the charity. This amount is all the more awesome given the community’s remote island location.

    The group comprises 28 members, including three families with representatives from three generations, and their events are the stuff of local legend.

    Their regular calendar includes everything from street collections to bingo nights, and from coffee mornings to race nights. They've innovated with events such as their 'New with Tags' clothes sale and fashion show, and 'Gin and Jammies' – a girls’ night in held at a local hotel that features a human version of the board game ‘Hungry Hippos’!

    Beyond fundraising, the group has created the Western Isles Cancer Care Initiative (WICCI) which offers vital support to people with cancer and their families. The WICCI Centre in Stornoway provides a range of services to ensure no one in the community has to face cancer alone.

    The Isle of Lewis and Harris Fundraising Group embodies kindness, compassion and community spirit. They are an invaluable asset to both Macmillan and their island.

    What did the judges say?

    “Not only does the committee organise an incredible calendar of events to raise funds and awareness, but they also look for opportunities to go the extra mile for families affected by cancer in such a remote location.”

  • Young Macmillan Award - The Bogeymen
    A group of men are all standing next to each other in a row. They are on a golf course field. Each man is holding a golf club in their hands.

    The Bogeymen, a team of four 17-year-old best friends from Bangor in Northern Ireland, aced Macmillan’s Longest Day Golf Challenge last year and raised an awesome £18,296 for people affected by cancer.

    Despite being the youngest team in the competition Callum Duncan, Ben Law, Jack Duncan and Daniel Irvine (pictured left to right) secured an impressive second place on the fundraising leader board out of 1,402 teams across the UK.

    The team decided to take on the challenge as, sadly, each of their families has been affected by cancer. After seeing the support that Macmillan provided to their loved ones first-hand, they all wanted to give something back.

    Being a sporty bunch, they decided to give the Longest Day, an event which involves playing four rounds of golf in a single day, their best shot.

    The tee-riffic team began the gruelling challenge at 4am and finished 17 hours (and 72 holes!) later. Their astounding success was all the more remarkable given that they were all in the midst of studying for their AS Level exams at the time.

    In achieving their incredible feat, The Bogeymen demonstrated maturity beyond their years and helped to improve the lives of many other families affected by cancer.

    What did the judges say?

    “These young men are inspirational. To raise this amount of money for a cause that has affected each of their families so deeply is amazing at any age. However, to do this at 17 while studying for your exams is unbelievable.”

  • Douglas Macmillan Volunteer of the Year - Salim Sidat
    Salim is standing outside. He is wearing a full suit with a dark jacket, grey trousers, white shirt and a purple tie. He is holding a honorary award in his hands. He is also wearing dark rimmed glasses.

    Motivated by a desire to promote a better understanding of cancer within the Muslim community, Salim, the chair of Sajedeen Mosque in Blackburn, has been leading the charge to tackle taboos around the subject.

    To begin with, Salim organised 2 information events at the mosque – one designed for men, the other for women. Both sessions included talks from healthcare professionals and featured local support organisations. The events raised awareness of the importance of early cancer intervention and showcased the wide range of help and support available to local people with cancer and their families.

    To keep the momentum from these events going, Salim successfully applied for members of his mosque to become Macmillan Community Champions. These volunteers now raise awareness of cancer, help to reduce the stigma of diagnosis, and ensure that anybody affected by cancer in the community always has somewhere to turn.

    As well as being instrumental in raising awareness about cancer, Salim has also been an invaluable advisor to Macmillan over the years. His local knowledge has helped us to identify partner organisations in the area and strengthen our links within Blackburn and East Lancashire. What’s more, Salim is always happy to promote Macmillan’s work in the media.

    Salim’s dedication, altruism and influence have paved the way for open conversations about cancer within his community and, ultimately, led to better health.

    What did the judges say?

    “Salim’s drive, determination and ambition to raise awareness and break down barriers is truly inspiring.”

2024 Finalists

We’d like to say a huge congratulations and the biggest thanks to all our finalists for all their outstanding contributions.

With Heart Award

  • Helen Topp - 2024 Winner
    Congratulations to Helen Topp on being the 2024 winner of the With Heart Award. You can read her full profile at the top of the page.
  • Mary Seymour
    Mary is standing outside. She has short hair and is wearing a blue patterned dress and a white shawl. She is also wearing glasses. Mary is smiling and appears to be outside.

    While working as a staff nurse on night duty on the Isle of Wight, Mary would sit with patients late into the night and listen to their concerns. Recognising the importance of emotional support for women with breast cancer, Mary took the initiative to establish a self-help and support group on the island with patient leader June Ring. As a result, the Applegate Breast Cancer Support Group was born in 2009.

    Mary initially facilitated the group as a part of her work but later, when she was no longer allowed to do this, she continued to run the group on her days off, her determination remaining unchanged. Thanks to her tireless efforts, Mary has established an indispensable lifeline for women with breast cancer. With up to 40 women attending every meeting, she has created a vibrant and inclusive community where members receive practical advice, attend informative talks, and find solace in peer support.

    Since Mary retired in 2012, she has remained committed to the group's success. She uses her networking skills to secure funding and organise a full programme of activities including exercise classes, complementary therapies and afternoon teas. Her passion for supporting others has improved the lives of countless women on the Isle of Wight, providing them with a sense of belonging and empowerment.

    What did the judges say?

    “Mary is a gift! She uses her knowledge in such a giving way, from supporting at the diagnosis stage through to fundraising. Mary is a dedicated all-rounder with a heart of gold.”

  • Damian Alexander
    Damian is sitting near a radio microphone and holding a colourful mug. He is wearing a baseball hat and a Macmillan branded t-shirt. Behind him is a large Macmillan branded banner. Damian is also wearing black framed glasses.

    With his can-do attitude and boundless energy, Damian has been putting his heart and soul into volunteering for Macmillan for the past eight years. Inspired by the support that a family member and a friend received from Macmillan, Damian was keen to give his valuable time to support others in similar situations.

    He began volunteering by collecting donations from local fundraisers in the West Midlands then, keen to get even more involved, he became a Macmillan Ambassador. In this role he gives inspiring talks where he shares his own experiences with infectious zeal, and he spreads the word about the services that Macmillan offers.

    As well as doing whatever it takes to support Macmillan locally, Damian is also an active Action Team volunteer and regularly travels up and down the country to support events like York Race Day, the Oxford Marathon, and various Mighty Hikes. Despite juggling a demanding day job and studying with the Open University, Damian has also thrown himself into training to become an Action Team Lead so that he can extend his volunteering skills even further.

    With his friendly demeanour and knack for problem-solving, wherever Damian is volunteering, he always makes sure that everyone who volunteers alongside him feels valued, supported and empowered.

    What did the judges say?

    “Damian is an outstanding ambassador for Macmillan and just an all-round fantastic human. Despite his own health issues and his other commitments, his determination to give to people epitomises the ‘With Heart’ category.”

  • Geraldine Canning
    Geraldine is sitting on a wicker chair. She has her hair pulled back and is wearing a blue patterned dress. Behind her is a wall with a glass window.

    Complementary therapies can be hugely beneficial for people with cancer as they can boost their mood, help them sleep, or simply give them a much-needed opportunity to relax. So, ever since Geraldine joined the Macmillan Unit in Antrim in 2012 as one of their first ever volunteer complementary therapists, she has gone on to improve the lives of hundreds of cancer patients.

    She has also played a pivotal role in building the unit’s tremendous team of volunteer therapists, ensuring more people with cancer can access this invaluable service.

    As a highly skilled professional, Geraldine is a member of the Federation of Holistic Therapists and has trained to fully adapt her treatments for cancer patients. She meets with physiotherapists and occupational therapists to discuss each patient before meticulously planning gentle and personalised treatments including aromatherapy, reflexology, and massage. Her professionalism, empathy, and communication skills shine through as she does whatever it takes to make sure the patients’ needs are met.

    While her role can be emotionally challenging at times, Geraldine always remains positive and resilient. She is fully committed to improving the wellbeing of people who are going through the most difficult times of their lives while being a friendly face and a listening ear.

    What did the judges say?

    “Geraldine demonstrates a huge amount of compassion in the care that she provides, even in some very difficult and emotional cases. It's clear that she has gone above and beyond in her volunteer role.”

  • Vicky Smith
    Vicky has short hair and is wearing a blue top with pink flowers. She is smiling. Behind her is a wall with floral wallpaper and a frame hung on the wall with artwork in it.

    For the past 9 years, Vicky has been a shining light in the Macmillan Buddy scheme in the Midlands. With a warm smile and caring nature, she immediately puts people with cancer at ease as she provides vital emotional support.

    Vicky began volunteering as a Macmillan Buddy because she wanted to make a difference to people’s lives. To begin with, she provided face-to-face practical and emotional support in people’s homes. She formed strong bonds with all her clients and helped them to overcome numerous challenges. She even helped one lady with terminal cancer to deal with her hoarding issues.

    When Vicky started to suffer from mobility issues and became unable to visit people in their homes, her commitment to Macmillan never wavered. She seamlessly transitioned to providing support over the phone, and she now reaches even more individuals with her kindness and empathy.

    Vicky's bright and bubbly personality brings joy to everyone she supports – particularly older people with limited networks who have come to rely on her as a source of companionship and reassurance. Thanks to Vicky’s boundless selflessness, more people with cancer in the Midlands are now able to navigate their journeys with resilience and hope.

    What did the judges say?

    “There is no amount of training that can produce the skills, tact and understanding that Vicky has for her clients. Her integrity, care and compassion, along with her commitment to supporting the most vulnerable and isolated people in society, really stand out.”

  • Louise Murray
    Louise has long brown hair and is wearing a black and white patterned dress. She is standing in a building that has Macmillan branded decorations. Behind her is a table with food on it and some balloons.

    Macmillan’s partnership with Scottish Widows has been enormously successful in signposting hundreds of the organisation’s customers to cancer support. It has also been a real triumph in terms of employee engagement. This all comes down to the remarkable efforts of Customer and People Operational Lead Louise.

    In 2022, Louise took on the corporate volunteer role of Macmillan Neighbour in which she provided information and support to colleagues affected by cancer. Her ability to listen to others immediately shone through, so she was swiftly appointed as the Lead Macmillan Neighbour.

    In this role, she provides guidance and support to 60 other Macmillan Neighbours across the organisation. Thanks to her mentorship, her colleagues feel empowered to offer better workplace support to people affected by cancer.

    On top of being a Macmillan Neighbour, Louise has also consistently taken it upon herself to get as many colleagues as possible onboard with the partnership. This surge in engagement was evident when she supported different areas of the business to host their own Macmillan Coffee Morning events in 2023 and there was a staggering 500% increase in funds raised from the previous year.

    The partnership between Macmillan and Scottish Widows was recently extended for a further five years, and there’s no doubt that this was driven by the increased colleague engagement generated by Louise.

    What did the judges say?

    “Louise is a catalyst for change. She’s making a real difference through her achievements and she’s engaging the hearts and minds of others too. She has an exemplary attitude.”

  • Sharon Jamieson
    Sharon has short hair and is wearing a green Macmillan branded t-shirt. she is standing on top of a rocky mountain. The image has been altered so that Sharon is in colour but the rest of the photo is in greyscale.

    When Sharon lost her father to cancer, she was inspired to honour his memory in a meaningful way, so she signed up for Macmillan’s Inca Trail trek in 2011. The experience blew her away and led to her being well and truly bitten by the fundraising bug!

    Since then, Sharon's dedication to supporting Macmillan and honouring her dad has seen her take on a whole host of hiking challenges across the globe and raise an impressive £31,400 for Macmillan.

    From the trails of Cuba to the depths of the Grand Canyon and the heights of Everest Base Camp, Sharon has been going the extra mile for Macmillan for over a decade. She says that whenever she walks for Macmillan, she believes that her father is with her every step of the way.

    On top of being a globe-trotting fundraising powerhouse, Sharon is just as enthusiastic about volunteering closer to home in Shrewsbury. She’s become a familiar face at local Macmillan events including supermarket bucket collections, the Coracle World Championships and the Shrewsbury Krazy Races to name but a few.

    What sets Sharon apart is her infectious enthusiasm and steadfast dedication. Whether scaling mountains or manning collections in Shrewsbury town centre, she wears her green Macmillan shirt with pride and inspires others to make a difference.

    What did the judges say?

    “Sharon is phenomenal! Her drive and passion is obvious with the inspiring treks that she challenges herself with in memory of her father.”

With Strength Award

  • David Peake - 2024 Winner
    Congratulations to David Peake on being the 2024 winner of the With Strength Award. You can read his full profile at the top of the page.
  • Carolyn Thompson
    Carolyn has short shoulder length blonde hair. She is wearing a grey top and a yellow top underneath it.

    After receiving complementary therapy at Kingston Hospital's Macmillan Unit during her own cancer journey, Carolyn later decided to return there and offer her services as a volunteer reflexologist. She was an instant hit with the people with cancer who she treated, as she provided them with some much-needed relief, relaxation, and respite from their situation.

    During the pandemic, volunteers were restricted from treating patients in hospital so, not wanting anyone to miss out, Carolyn stepped up and offered six free reflexology treatments to 100 people with cancer in her private clinic. Despite experiencing a recurrence of her own cancer and undergoing gruelling chemotherapy, she never let the uncertainty surrounding her own health stop her from delivering treatments to her patients.

    This enormous undertaking offered local people with cancer time, care, and respect at a time when it felt like their worlds were crumbling. Countless patients said that they found her support a godsend.

    Carolyn’s selfless dedication didn't end there. As hospital services adapted post-pandemic, she came to the rescue again by offering treatments to another 100 people with cancer at her private practice. Despite facing personal challenges, she remained a source of inspiration for patients and fellow volunteers alike.

    What did the judges say?

    “It is truly humbling that Carolyn was still able to offer treatments to others while she herself was facing cancer treatment. I am in awe of what Carolyn has achieved. She is a force to be reckoned with.”

  • Gareth Davies
    Gareth has short hair and is wearing a white top. He is seen from the chest up.

    Gareth has volunteered at Macmillan's annual Tug of War event in London since 2015 when he assembled an armed forces team for the event's showcase match. As well as competing, he provided invaluable guidance to corporate teams throughout the event, ensuring they had the best possible experience.

    Since then, the serviceman has gone above and beyond to support all aspects of the event. From getting involved in the planning process to writing guidance for participants, and from arranging training sessions for corporate teams to recruiting friends to run the matches on the day, Gareth can turn his hand to anything.

    When the mats essential to the event fell into a state of disrepair over the pandemic, Gareth saved the day by sourcing replacements using his contacts within the military. Despite his demanding job and commitments abroad, he used his personal leave to hire a van and drive around the country collecting the new mats and ensuring the event could go ahead.

    Gareth has been integral to the success of this high-level corporate fundraiser which brings in £150,000 for Macmillan every year. It just goes to show the impact that one person can make when they draw on their strength, their ingenuity, and their phone book!

    What did the judges say?

    “Gareth has truly given all he has got to support Macmillan at this annual event. His determination to make things work is admirable. He is a huge asset to Macmillan – long may his support continue.”

  • Penny Richardson
    Penny has short curly hair. She is wearing a dark top that has a broach on it. Behind her is a colourful painting on a wall.

    Macmillan's Transforming Cancer Care Programme, a partnership between Macmillan and the Scottish Government, is a huge piece of work that’s set to ensure everyone in Scotland with a new cancer diagnosis has access to services that support and meet their needs. However, the programme could only be successful if people with lived experience of cancer were fully involved at every stage of the process – and that’s where Penny came in.

    Keen to use her own cancer experience to make a difference nationally, Penny jumped at the opportunity to volunteer on the programme. Despite not having a background in healthcare, Penny fearlessly took on the challenge of engaging with high-level executives and medical professionals, ensuring that the voices of people affected by cancer were heard loud and clear.

    From her role on the programme's executive board to her active participation in strategic meetings, Penny championed the needs of cancer patients, challenged complex medical jargon, and advocated for clear, inclusive communication. She was also instrumental in recruiting others to the programme.

    What’s more, when Penny was asked to share her experiences with Scottish Government members at Holyrood, her powerful words broadened their understanding of what matters to people with cancer.

    There’s no doubt that Penny’s involvement has shaped critical aspects of a programme that will make an immense difference to people with cancer in Scotland for years to come.

    What did the judges say?

    “Penny's contribution has made a major impact at national level through tirelessly pulling policy makers and government members back to consider those whose lives are impacted by cancer.”

  • Ana Manns
    Ana has short shoulder length brown hair. She is wearing a colourful top and a necklace. The background behind her is blurred and green.

    After supporting her sister-in-law through her cancer journey, Ana was inspired to provide the same level of support to others, so she signed up to volunteer for Macmillan seven years ago. She began volunteering with a service that supported young people with cancer, and later went on to lead Macmillan’s Bristol Buddies. The service sees volunteers visit people with cancer in their homes to provide practical help and companionship.

    Ana excels in her role and her empathy shines through whether she’s supporting service users or the volunteers that she mentors. Her volunteer team speaks highly of Ana's exceptional support and compassion, her commitment to their safety, and her ability to help them foster confidence and resilience in their roles.

    When the pandemic restricted home visits, Ana supported the Bristol Macmillan Buddies to seamlessly transition over to telephone support so they could continue to be there for their service users during a challenging time.

    Ana always keeps people affected by cancer at the heart of everything she does, and she actively contributes to service development, piloting evaluation systems, and participating in working groups for improvement. Despite her extensive experience, Ana remains committed to continuous personal development in order to enhance her skills, and her service, even further.

    What did the judges say?

    “Ana is an exceptional team-leader and shows a great ability to support others and manage changes. She is always determined to ‘get the job done’ but she always does it with great respect and care”.

  • Ninita (Nes) Reed
    Nes has short dark hair and is wearing a white top and gold necklace. She is also wearing black rimmed glasses. She appears to be outside.

    As a valued member of the Cancer Voices community, Nes speaks openly and honestly about the ongoing impact of her secondary cancer diagnosis to make life better for others. Since she began volunteering 2 years ago, Nes has used her lived experience of cancer to contribute to many Macmillan projects and drive change.

    She has shared her experiences during induction sessions for new Macmillan employees, helping them understand the challenges faced by those affected by cancer. Nes has also collaborated with Macmillan’s Strategy Team on a project to improve future cancer care, and she co-produced a set of practical participation principles for employees working with people affected by cancer.

    Last year, Nes sat on the national judging panel of Macmillan’s Thanks to You Awards, helping to select the category winners. It seems only fitting that this year she gets to experience the process as a nominee!

    Despite the many difficulties and challenges that Nes continues to navigate in her own life, she still generously dedicates so much of her time to improving the way Macmillan works and making life better for people affected by cancer. There is no piece of work that won’t be improved by having Nes involved in it.

    What did the judges say?

    “Nes is totally inspirational on so many levels. The way she shares so much of her experience so openly is truly a gift. It takes huge courage.”

With Ambition Award

  • Salim Sidat - 2024 Winner
    Congratulations to Salim Sidat on being the Douglas Macmillan Volunteer of the Year 2024. You can read his full profile at the top of the page.
  • Steve Freemantle - 2024 Winner
    Congratulations to Steve Freemantle on being the 2024 winner of the With Ambition Award. You can read Steve's full profile at the top of the page.
  • The Complementary Therapy team at the Macmillan Unit, Antrim Area Hospital
    A collage that includes four photos of people from the complementary therapy team. The top left photo is Geraldine Canning. The top right is Angela O'Neill. The bottom left is Julie Rush. The bottom right is Dr Jayne McAuley.

    The Complementary Therapy Team at the Macmillan Unit in Antrim Area Hospital in Northern Ireland comprises 4 caring volunteers:

    • Geraldine Canning (pictured top left)
    • Julie Rush (pictured bottom left)
    • Dr Jayne McAuley (pictured bottom right)
    • Angela O'Neill (pictured top right).

    These highly professional therapists provide invaluable support to people with cancer who are receiving palliative care, offering a relaxing range of treatments including reflexology, massage and acupuncture.

    With years of experience and specialist cancer training between them, the team members collaborate with the multidisciplinary team to develop personalised treatment plans that meet each patient's needs. As well as easing pain and discomfort, the team’s treatments also help patients to sleep better and boost their mood.

    On top of their dedication to the wellbeing of their patients, the Complementary Therapy Team members are also committed to supporting and encouraging each other. They have successfully fostered a culture of kindness and innovation, which has inspired others to volunteer at the unit.

    The team's close bond with patients and staff is evident, as they strive to enrich people’s lives with every interaction. Their willingness to explore new ideas, such as the acupuncture service led by Dr McAuley, the only acupuncturist in the Northern Trust, demonstrates their commitment to continuous improvement and patient-centred care.

    What did the judges say?

    “It is clear that this team of volunteers have dedicated their time, skills and knowledge to the highest purpose of offering in-depth and specific help to people with cancer. They provide a valuable service.”

  • Kay Heys
    Kay has short hair and is wearing a bright pink jumper. She is also wearing a blue polo top. She appears to be sitting outside in a garden.

    When Kay retired in 2016, she wanted to volunteer to make a difference to others. Although she had no prior knowledge of Macmillan, she threw herself into the role of a local representative with her trademark enthusiasm and she quickly became an invaluable asset to the organisation.

    Kay's volunteer role expanded as she eagerly sought to take on more responsibilities and before long, she became a fundraising legend. Kay raises over £10,000 every year at the supermarket collections that she organises, and she is always ably assisted by the nine volunteers who she inspired to volunteer alongside her. She calls them her ‘Merry Gang’!

    But Kay does so much more for Macmillan than just fundraising. After watching her Macmillan Relationship Fundraising Manager give a talk about Macmillan, Kay offered to deliver the talks herself. Since then, she has spoken to churches, community groups, schools and companies, to raise awareness and also to inspire them to donate. She tirelessly leverages her networks and seizes every opportunity to spread Macmillan's message.

    Whether it's attending local Coffee Mornings or liaising with funeral directors, Kay's proactive approach has broadened Macmillan's reach and impact.

    In just 7 years, Kay has evolved from a novice to a next-level ambassador, raising over £43,000, and becoming an indispensable pillar of support for people affected by cancer.

    What did the judges say?

    “Kay is a great inspiration to others and has demonstrated huge resourcefulness and resolve in supporting the important work of Macmillan. She’s one in a million!”

  • June Ring
    June is standing outside on a patch of green grass. She has short hair. June is wearing a blue top, dark blue trousers, and a brown vest.

    Since being diagnosed with cancer 40 years ago, June has dedicated her life to supporting others on the Isle of Wight who have been affected by the illness. While going through treatment, she founded a radiotherapy support group which became so popular that up to 80 people would regularly meet up for coffee and share their experiences.

    Over the years, June's commitment to supporting her community has only grown stronger. She has given so much of her time and energy to establishing numerous peer support groups for various cancer types, fostering an enormous sense of community among patients, families, and carers.

    Recognising the need for a more inclusive support system, June worked with Macmillan to facilitate the amalgamation of a number of smaller cancer support groups on the Isle of Wight into one generic group called Open Umbrella. Since its launch, the group has provided invaluable support to its members, offering a range of services and activities tailored to meet their diverse needs.

    June's boundless energy and enthusiasm, coupled with her deep understanding of the challenges faced by island residents sets her apart. Her ambition to ensure everyone affected by cancer has access to quality peer support drives her forward, empowering individuals to connect, share experiences, and find solace in each other's company.

    What did the judges say?

    “June has clearly put her heart and soul into a very wide range of activities. She sees the needs of people with cancer and has continued to provide support and help over many years.”

  • Claire Morden
    Claire is looking at the camera and smiling. She is wearing a green Macmillan t-shirt and lanyard.

    In 2011 Claire set up the Tamworth and Lichfield Villages Fundraising Group to help make a difference to local people affected by cancer, particularly those without family. Since then, she has been an unstoppable force, leading the group to extraordinary heights.

    Under Claire's steadfast leadership, the Staffordshire-based group has gone from raising £5,000 in its inaugural year to more than £250,000 to date – an incredible amount that has come mainly through store and street collections.

    Claire writes numerous letters to shops, stores, and garden centres, asking to secure regular bucket collection slots or to sell Macmillan Christmas cards with them. She runs an active Facebook account for the group which regularly attracts new support, and she tenaciously seeks out new opportunities to raise vital funds and awareness for Macmillan.

    No matter what challenges are presented to her, Claire never gives up. If one door closes, she just looks for other ways to get in.

    Claire is a tower of strength to her fellow group members. She always takes the time to get to know them and work out how best to use their individual skills and preferences to maximise funds and awareness for Macmillan.

    Despite full-time employment and personal challenges, Claire remains resolute in her dedication to support people with cancer in her community.

    What did the judges say?

    “Fundraising at a time that is so challenging for the general population is particularly difficult, but Claire has clearly maintained her dedication to this hugely important cause, and inspired others too.”

  • Irene Bothomley and the Camberley Committee
    A group of women are standing on a staircase in a building. They are all wearing dresses and green Macmillan sashes.

    For the past 23 years, Irene has given her all to Macmillan by chairing the Camberley Fundraising Committee. Under her enthusiastic leadership, the unstoppable green-clad team has raised a staggering £1.6 million for Macmillan.

    As the driving force behind the committee’s activities, Irene has organised numerous memorable events including prestigious lunches and tasting dinners at luxurious Surrey hotels. Irene’s determination has also seen her source some extraordinary auction lots and raffle prizes to supercharge the committee’s fundraising efforts.

    What’s more, she is always happy to tap into her extensive network for Macmillan, and through her connections from her career at Barclays, she was able to secure over £50,000 in funds.

    But the committee’s support for people affected by cancer extends far beyond just fundraising. Whenever they are out and about at events, Irene always encourages the members to spread the word about Macmillan and signpost people to services.

    On top of this, when face-to-face volunteering stopped during the pandemic, Irene stepped up as a volunteer for Macmillan's telephone buddy programme, demonstrating her adaptability and dedication.

    Lockdown did not stop Irene from fundraising either. Instead it saw her completing the London Marathon in 2020 by walking 26,000 steps up and down her driveway, raising over £4000.

    Irene and the Camberley Fundraising Committee eat, sleep and breathe Macmillan and, thanks to their outstanding efforts, more people affected by cancer in Camberley are receiving the support they need.

    What did the judge say?

    “Irene’s 'can-do' approach to volunteering – even during our recent challenging times – demonstrates her determination to make a positive difference for those affected by cancer.”

Lived Experience Award

  • Kiwi Patel - 2024 Winner
    Congratulations to Kiwi Patel on being the 2024 winner of the Lived Experience Award. You can read his full profile at the top of the page.
  • Michael (Mike) Taylor
    Michael is sitting down and leaning on a wood table. Michael is wearing a blue chequered shirt and glasses. On the table is a laptop that is open and shows the homepage for Macmillan's Online Community.

    The Macmillan Online Community is a safe space where people with cancer can chat to others in similar situations and find support at any time. When Mike, a retired university lecturer, first logged on in 2017 following a long and difficult journey with a non-Hodgkin lymphoma, he found it really valuable. So much so that he swiftly stepped up to volunteer as a Community Champion.

    Over the past six and a half years, Mike’s dedication to supporting his fellow Online Community members has been unparalleled and sees him spending an average of 15 hours a week on the site. Mike has posted an astonishing 16,000 times and given numerous people with cancer the vital support they needed when they needed it most.

    What sets Mike apart is not just the volume of his contributions but the enormous impact they have. With a warm and empathetic nature, he welcomes newcomers and provides invaluable insight to all that draws on his own experience – particularly in the forums related to non-Hodgkin lymphoma.

    As well as supporting community members, Mike is also a guiding light for his fellow Community Champions, many of whom aspire to be just like him. On top of all this, Mike’s advocacy for the Online Community and his invaluable feedback and suggestions at the monthly volunteer meetings have been instrumental in shaping the evolution of the Community itself.

    What did the judges say?

    “Mike is an inspirational presence within the Online Community. He fights fearlessly for others despite his own troubles.”

  • Jon Newman
    John has short hair and is seen from the waist up. He is wearing a green Macmillan branded top. He has a bear and moustache.

    With a background as an architect and a lived experience of prostate cancer, Jon has an innate understanding of the impact that a well thought out environment can have on people affected by cancer. As a result, he decided to use his expertise to volunteer as an assessor for the Macmillan Quality Environment Mark (MQEM) programme.

    Since joining the programme in 2009, Jon’s commitment to the role has surpassed all expectations and seen him devote more than 1200 hours to assessments. This achievement is all the more remarkable given that Jon is now in his eighties!

    Jon's empathetic approach and quiet demeanour fosters open dialogue with service users and healthcare professionals alike. He creates a relaxed environment that is conducive to feedback – and he’s always ready to whip out his notebook and redesign a space on the spot.

    Jon’s influence extends beyond just assessments. He also actively contributes to the MQEM programme's evolution, offering insights for refinement and inspiring new volunteers with his passion and dedication.

    The ethos of the MQEM is all about empathy, hope, understanding and innovation – and these are all qualities embodied by Jon himself. It’s no understatement to say that, thanks to his unwavering commitment and invaluable contribution, people with cancer all over the country are experiencing better environments and enhanced lives.

    What did the judges say?

    “Jon uses his lived experience and professional background to improve cancer support facilities in a way that could easily go unnoticed, but has a huge impact.”

  • Allyson Kent
    Allyson has short hair and is wearing a bright blue and sparkly top. She is smiling. Behind her is a wall with a large picture frame on it.

    When Allyson heard the words, “It’s cancer,” her life was turned upside down. But she knew she wanted to use her experience to offer hope to others by volunteering with Macmillan.

    She took on a role with Macmillan’s North of England Grant Review Panel, assessing support grant expenditure and sharing her insights. Her volunteering has also seen her advocate for the importance of people with cancer receiving electronic holistic needs assessments to ensure health professionals understand what’s important to each person.

    Recently, Allyson contributed to Macmillan’s pioneering Digital Storytelling Project where she wrote and produced 2 videos - 'The Power of Words’ and ‘Managing the Wobbles.’ These videos document her cancer experience to help others and discuss the things that matter most to her.

    Allyson is deeply aware of the power of language for people with cancer - how a message from a friend or loved one can lift you, while an insensitive or clumsily worded sentence from a health professional can bring you down.

    As a result, her own story has been developed into a well-received play and film called ‘Know the Power of Words’ and is being used to support clinician communication training to improve the experiences of people with cancer in medical and community settings. She even plans to apply for a Macmillan grant to provide support sessions to people with a cancer diagnosis.

    Ambitious and compassionate, Allyson’s approach is always ‘‘Yes I Can.’’ She is committed to using her lived experience to inspire people with cancer to live life as fully as they can.

    What did the judges say?

    “Allyson has a huge degree of self-awareness and drive, and she uses it to improve the support that’s available for people affected by cancer.”

  • Sabrina Duggan
    Sabrina is wearing a black top. She has a black hair wrap on and is wearing gold earrings. She appears to be outside.

    As a woman of colour with a lived experience of cancer, Sabrina, like many women in her community, has fought to overcome barriers to accessing health care. Through volunteering with Macmillan, she’s working to help other people living with cancer do the same.

    Since joining Macmillan’s Cancer Voices community 3 years ago, Sabrina has played a pivotal role in amplifying the voices of people affected by cancer and has brought her lived experience to numerous innovative projects.

    Despite juggling a successful career and family commitments, her steadfast commitment has seen her getting involved in everything from participating in pilot projects alongside Macmillan's Executive Leadership Team, to co-designing induction sessions. Her quiet determination to make life better for others shines through in everything she does.

    Sabrina has a unique ability to transform the way people think about cancer – not least members of Macmillan staff.

    While speaking at a Macmillan staff induction session, Sabrina said: “You will have days when you feel unmotivated, uninspired, or you are not feeling it.

    "But remember this: whether you work in the back office, in IT, on the website, in marketing, or on the Macmillan Support Line, everything you do helps me, my family, or someone like me. Hold that close. You do important work and there is always someone like me at the end of it.”

    What did the judges say?

    “Sabrina is hugely inspirational and has made a major impact on all the Macmillan staff that she’s been involved with.”

  • Jules Fielder
    Jules is wearing a dark green jacket, a dark top and trousers, and dark blue trainers. She has long brown hair.  She is standing outside on some rocks near a waterfall.

    Since receiving a diagnosis of stage 4 lung cancer in 2021, Jules, like so many other people with cancer, has been forced to navigate numerous delays to her appointments. The distressing experience left her fired up to advocate for change and led her to join Macmillan’s What Are We Waiting For? campaign as the lead campaigner.

    Since then, Jules has been instrumental in driving the campaign forwards and rallying for urgent action to address delays in cancer diagnosis and treatment across the UK. Through her tireless efforts, she has garnered support from over 12,000 individuals and amplified the voices of everyone with cancer who is affected by long waiting times.

    Through her campaign work, Jules has fearlessly shared her story with the media, including making an appearance on Good Morning Britain, and she has openly discussed her struggles with cancer care delays in Macmillan videos.

    She actively engages with policymakers, having spoken at Parliamentary events, and she inspires Macmillan staff and supporters alike, motivating them to take action. What’s more, Jules constantly spreads the word about Macmillan's work to her 31,600 social media followers.

    Despite uncertainties about her health, Jules remains resolute in her determination to make a difference. Her relentless advocacy and unwavering spirit make her a beacon of hope in the journey towards better cancer care.

    What did the judges say?

    “Jules is doing a fantastic job in raising awareness for others and pushing for change through her own lived experience.”

Outstanding Supporter Award

  • Isle of Lewis and Harris Macmillan Fundraising Group - 2024 Winners
    Congratulations to the Isle of Lewis and Harris Macmillan Fundraising Group on being the 2024 winners of the Outstanding Supporter Award. You can read their full profile at the top of the page.
  • Rob Keithley
    Rob is running outside. He is wearing black sunglasses, a green Macmillan branded technical vest, shorts and trainers. He is running on a cement path.

    As a business development manager for the Hungry Horse division of Greene King, Rob has been a linchpin of Macmillan’s partnership with the organisation since its inception in 2012. His personal experience of losing both his parents and brother-in-law to cancer, along with the support that his mum received from a Macmillan nurse, fuelled his dedication to giving back.

    Rob's tireless efforts have not only raised enormous amounts of money, but they have also motivated his colleagues to get involved, making Greene King Macmillan's largest fundraising corporate partner, with over £17 million raised to date. Rob has organised numerous initiatives to support this including an annual Macmillan Ball and some awesome online social events during lockdown.

    On top of his fundraising, Rob has played a pivotal role in launching Macmillan Champions groups across Greene King's 1,600 pubs, organising workshops and events to drive engagement. What’s more, he has helped to integrate Macmillan at Work programmes across Greene King too, ensuring that any employees affected by cancer receive better workplace support.

    Outside of work, Rob’s commitment to Macmillan is every bit as strong. To date he has personally raised over £10,000 by completing various fundraising challenges, including running the 2022 London Marathon.

    What did the judges say?

    “Rob's dedication as the result of seeing what Macmillan can do first-hand has made him a wonderful Macmillan ambassador. His initiative and tireless commitment appears to have been a driving force in Greene King's fundraising. He is to be commended.”

  • Robbie Newton
    Robbie is standing and leaning towards the camera. In his right hand he is holding an ice cream and in his left is giving a thumbs up. He is wearing a Macmillan running top.

    Robbie was a driving force behind the success of Macmillan’s partnership with Travis Perkins, which began in 2015. By the time the partnership drew to a close at the end of 2023, colleagues across the business had raised an awesome £4.5 million – and nobody had contributed more than Robbie.

    Following the cancer diagnosis of a close family member, Robbie quickly became a leading Charity Champion at Travis Perkins. Despite his day-to-day role, he went above and beyond, setting the bar high by taking on personal challenges and spearheading innovative fundraising initiatives.

    Even during lockdown, Robbie didn't let the restrictions dampen his spirit. He tackled virtual marathons and cycling events in his garden and supported colleagues to take on their own challenges.

    On top of his fundraising, Robbie trained as a Macmillan Neighbour, providing emotional support to colleagues affected by cancer and signposting them to Macmillan's services.

    To mark his 20th year at Travis Perkins, Robbie embarked on 20 unique challenges over 12 months. The inspiring (and exhausting!) list included runs, hikes and skydives. It even saw him run up 42 floors of London’s Leadenhall Hall Building followed by a 200 metre abseil back down.

    Even though the partnership with Travis Perkins has come to end, Robbie remains steadfast in his support for Macmillan. His unstoppable passion and commitment know no bounds.

    What did the judges say?

    “Robbie has made such a positive impact on the community, plus he has supported, inspired and engaged other volunteers too. Truly inspirational!”

  • Ali Alcock
    Ali is holding a large Macmillan branded cheque. She has her brown hair tied back. She is wearing a green Macmillan branded t-shirt and has a pair of glasses on the top of her head. Ali appears to be outside.

    When social worker Ali was diagnosed with cervical cancer in 2015, the support that she received from her Macmillan nurse, Jane, inspired her to become a passionate Macmillan fundraiser and advocate.

    Starting off by organising a Brave the Shave event at a local pub, Ali's fundraising efforts quickly gained momentum, and to date, she has raised more than £73,000 for Macmillan and her local cancer unit.

    As well as organising a whole host of community events like charity football matches, Ali has also taken on a range of daring challenges. She has:

    • hiked up Snowdon more than once
    • skydived twice
    • wing walked twice
    • zip wired.

    She’s even managed to persuade friends and family members to join her in getting their kit off and posing for two cheeky charity calendars for Macmillan!

    Ali’s commitment to volunteering extends way beyond fundraising as she also raises awareness by sharing her story wherever it is needed. As well as featuring in the local and national press, Ali has also been on the ITV Evening News, has represented Macmillan as part of the Boots No7 campaign, and her photo and quotes have been used on Macmillan’s Understanding cervical cancer booklet.

    Ali's energy, fearlessness and awesome list of achievements make her a huge inspiration to anyone who meets her.

    What did the judge say?

    “Ali is an amazing ambassador for Macmillan. Her commitment and enthusiasm shine through in everything she does. She is a force to be reckoned with!”

  • Macmillan Boston Committee
    A group of 7 individuals are standing together in a row. They are indoors and it has been decorated with Macmillan branded decorations.

    From funding the very first Macmillan nurse in Boston in 1988 to raising money for Macmillan Grants that have helped people cover the cost of travel to their cancer treatments, the Macmillan Boston Committee has made an enormous contribution to their local community.

    In 2022, the committee celebrated 50 fabulous years of fundraising for local Macmillan services, during which time it has raised an astounding £1.4 million!

    Their boundless fundraising efforts include:

    • barbeques
    • flower festivals
    • a hairdressing marathon
    • aerobathons
    • balls.

    The committee's annual Coffee Morning has gone from strength to strength, expanding their reach and revitalising their presence in the community. They also provide support to other local fundraisers and actively engage with the public to raise awareness about Macmillan.

    Their most successful fundraising achievement was founding the annual Seabank Marathon, one of the first organised marathons in the country which preceded even the London Marathon. This hugely popular event drew participants from all walks of life and was an enormous undertaking that the committee dedicated themselves to for 36 years.

    With their remarkable track record and never-ending innovations, the Macmillan Boston Committee are a cornerstone of their community and, thanks to them, people with cancer in Lincolnshire will continue to receive the vital support they need for years to come.

    What did the judges say?

    “What a team! Their commitment shines through and is a testament to their longevity as a committee. They are a credit to Macmillan.”

  • Coracle Committee
    The Coracle Committee are standing in a row together outside. They are near a large body of water.

    The Coracle World Championships in Shrewsbury is the quirkiest, craziest boat race in the UK. The event, which takes place every year on a Friday in September, sees up to 48 teams of four relay-racing across the River Severn in coracles, which are small, circular single-person boats. This one-of-a-kind corporate fundraiser is all about fun, fancy dress, sinking and success – and it’s all in support of Macmillan.

    The event was dreamed up by fun-loving fundraiser Richard Bayliss. He first managed to persuade a collection of Shrewsbury companies to paddle unstable crafts across the river to raise money for charity in 2007, and it’s been going strong ever since. To date, the event has raised more than £380,000 for Macmillan, with countless competitors paddling, capsizing, and drifting to glory to uphold the vision that Richard set in motion.

    Sadly, Richard died of cancer in 2015. A super committee of 6 remains, ably assisted by 30 additional volunteers on event day including:

    • race marshals
    • judges
    • comperes
    • car parking attendants.

    Together, they have worked extremely hard to establish the event as a firm fixture on the Shrewsbury calendar. And each year, in memory of their founder, the Richard Bayliss Cup is proudly presented to the team that raises the most sponsorship.

    What did the judges say?

    “The fact that the committee still raises funds every year and has created such a fabulous local annual event is a lovely legacy to the memory of Richard Bayliss.”

  • Jack Dowling
    Jack it standing with 2 other people in a row. He is on the far right. He is holding a large Macmillan branded sign with the 2 other people. They are outside the Everton stadium.

    Motivated by the support his brother Tom received from Macmillan after his bowel cancer diagnosis, Jack (pictured right) decided to embark upon an extraordinary challenge of running 26 marathons in 26 weeks.

    ack took on this monumental endeavour, a distance that’s the equivalent of running from Liverpool to Berlin, despite his demanding role as Everton Football Club’s first team performance coach.

    Jack’s challenge garnered enormous support from both the Merseyside and football communities. He smashed his initial fundraising target of £5,000 before he even laced up his running shoes, so he increased his goal to £32,250, an amount that funds a Macmillan nurse for a year, but he hit that within just 2 weeks. By November 2023, Jack was in the top 1% of fundraisers on Just Giving.

    Beyond just raising money, Jack is also breaking down barriers. While he’s a staunch Everton supporter, Tom is a Liverpool fan, which meant the brothers' story attracted significant media attention, particularly ahead of last season’s Merseyside derby.

    Their candid discussions on TV, radio and in the press have been instrumental in encouraging men to talk openly about cancer.

    Despite the arduous physical toll, Jack’s determination remained unwavering, and he completed his awe-inspiring challenge when he crossed the finish line at this year’s London Marathon.

    What did the judges say?

    “Jack embodies all the values of an outstanding supporter. He had the determination to take on a big challenge and the openness to speak out and raise awareness. What an inspiration he is!”

Young Macmillan Award

  • The Bogeymen - 2024 Winners
    Congratulations to The Bogeymen on being the 2024 winners of the Young Macmillan Award. You can read their full profile at the top of the page.

Previous winners and finalists

If you're interested in finding out more about previous Thanks to You Award winners and finalists, you read more about them here. Each person or group has their own story about what they have done to support Macmillan and people living with cancer, all of which are truly inspirational.

Get in touch

If you have any questions about the awards or shortlisting process, please contact us at or telephone 0300 1000 200.