Colin Osborne MBE, Founder and Chair
Colin Osborne is the founder trustee and the original driving force behind Orchid. Colin possesses the best qualifications of all for his role in Orchid – he has endured two years of treatment for testicular cancer and has personal experience of the ups and downs on the cancer journey.
Colin’s battle with cancer began in August 1994 when he noticed a small lump on his left testicle. Ironically, he discovered his lump at the same time as his wife discovered she was pregnant with their second child. An ultrasound scan showed the lump was malignant and he underwent surgery – orchidectomy (removal of the affected testis). Following this surgery, blood tests and CT scans showed the cancer had spread to his abdomen and Colin’s fight for survival began. The next treatment was four months of gruelling chemotherapy, with extensive side effects, but this was quite easily endured as his chances of survival were quoted as 80%. Colin achieved remission by Christmas 1994 but by January 1995 cancer specific blood tests were showing positive which meant that some of the cancer cells had survived the standard chemotherapy treatment. Over the next three months the doctors tried to identify these cells with every known test- including tests still in the research process. But the cells could not be traced.
In April 1995, Colin’s second son (Elliott) was born. Elliott was only two weeks old when Colin was told that at last the cancer cells had been found. Unfortunately, they had now taken hold in his body and had formed solid tumours in both his lungs and in his abdomen and pelvis. The chance of survival had dropped to 40%. After a month of further chemotherapy, a repeat scan showed the tumours had grown further showing that the chemotherapy was not working. Colin now needed a miracle. Professor Oliver discussed with Colin using a new drug (Taxol), which had not been used to treat testicular cancer before, but was showing signs of being successful with ovarian cancer. From Colin’s perspective there was no option other than to try it. The chance of survival was now remote, indeed Professor Oliver estimated Colin was looking at a survival period of just 1 month. Looking at his two small sons, Colin felt he had nothing to lose in trying the new drug. After just one course the tumours shrank, by two courses they were just small specks and as Colin achieved remission from his disease the decision was made to complete the treatment with a bone marrow stem cell transplant, followed by surgery to remove all of the tumour sites and lymph nodes in his abdomen and pelvis.
A bone marrow stem cell transplant requires the patient to be exposed to very high doses of chemotherapy to kill off their existing bone marrow cells before replacing them with healthy bone marrow cells. The treatment requires isolation in hospital for four to eight weeks and totally destroys the body’s immune system, leaving the patient open to any infection. Prior to the stem cell transplant, Colin had septicaemia twice, the second time requiring treatment in the intensive care unit. He was warned that there was a risk that the treatment could kill him, but when you are thirty three years old and have two small children you want to watch grow up and be part of their lives, you have no option but to grit your teeth and summon up the strength, courage and determination for the final round. Whilst undergoing the stem cell transplant Colin had several set-backs. He had severe bleeding requiring emergency platelet transfusion, and then he had a stroke; he also contracted a severe infection. The miracles of science and the dedication of the medical staff, together with Colin’s will to survive, saw him pull through all of the set-backs. The transplant was a success, but Colin’s treatment was not quite finished. Just six weeks after the transplant, Colin had the surgery to remove all the lymph nodes in his abdomen and pelvis to ensure that all the areas that had been diseased were removed and that no cells were to remain that could survive the treatments.
Colin was positive throughout all his treatments; he never gave up hope and it was sheer guts and determination that got him through. Colin has utilised his knowledge of the physical and emotional rollercoaster that a man suffers when being diagnosed with, and having treatment for cancer and now acts as a counsellor for fellow cancer patients.
It was during his treatment that Colin was made aware of the financial crisis facing Professor Oliver’s vital research unit. With the knowledge that without the skill and dedication of Professor Oliver and his staff, and without the previous research carried out by the unit, Colin would not have survived, he felt he had to do something to help save the unit and continue the valuable research.
So, together with Professor Oliver the possibility of starting a charity was discussed. Thus the seed (or should I say bulb!) for Orchid was planted. The first fund raising event for Orchid was a Pro/Am Golf Day at Ilford Golf Club which together with a grand raffle raised almost £20,000. The enthusiasm that greeted this event greatly encouraged and inspired Colin and Tim. After the success of that venture Orchid was registered as a charity.
Colin has appeared on several television shows promoting awareness of male cancers including “Esther”, “Open House” with Gloria Hunniford and “Good Morning” with Richard and Judy. There have been articles featured in most of the national newspapers and magazines as well as local press and radio. 2004 saw Colin win the prestigious Daily Mirror Pride of Britain award, which was featured on ITV and GMTV and in 2006 he was awarded an MBE at Buckingham Palace by Prince Charles for his services to health care.
Colin has organised many fund raising events such as golf days, charity balls at the Savoy Hotel London, and he took part in the unique fundraising stunt of swimming the English Channel underwater using scuba, as part of a five man relay team. Raising public awareness is Colin’s personal goal. In Colins words “If only one life is saved as a result of better self-awareness resulting in contacting a doctor earlier with a tumour, then all the hard work has been worthwhile.”
Colin has also served on various health committees such as the Executive Committee of the Men’s Health Forum, the NCRI Testis Trials Board and the House of Commons All Party Male Cancer Group.
Tim Oliver MD, FRCP
Consultant Oncologist and Professor Emeritus of Medical Oncology, St. Bartholomew’s and The Royal London Hospital School of Medicine and Dentistry.
Tim Oliver studied at St John’s College, Cambridge and at The Royal London Hospital. After training in cancer medicine at St. Bartholomew’s, he moved to the Institute of Urology and pioneered the drug treatment of men’s cancer. Returning to Bart’s and the Royal London, he linked up with centers in East Anglia and Essex to create a clinical trials organisation large enough to study the new treatments that emerged from his work. In 1991 he was appointed to the Maxwell Joseph Chair in Medical Oncology. He has also contributed to international research initiatives in prostate and testis cancer treatment through the European Organisation for Research and Treatment in Cancer (EORTC). Retiring from the NHS in Sept 2006, he is continuing both his research work and private practice to care for patients who ultimately provide the inspiration for all his work.
As a direct consequence of his desire to fight male cancer and his established record in research, Tim helped to found Orchid with his former patient Colin Osborne, and was the driving force in developing the work that Orchid funds. His vision of breaking through conventional research streams and identifying potential novel linkages and dependencies within male cancer disease types, has advanced understanding and provided new solutions. By bringing together basic science, epidemiology and clinical research, together with enabling activity such as histopathology, cell culture, tissue bank and IT/data management, in the form of a holistic programme, Tim Oliver pioneered a broad spectrum of exciting research. A direct result of his vision was the establishment in 2006 of a new Clinical Trials Unit in the Experimental Cancer Medicine Centre in the Bart’s and London School of Medicine in QMUL. Beyond the conventional medical and scientific environment, he is also concentrates on the role of fitness and healthy living in preventing cancers from being triggered in later life. In sum, for Tim, patient outcomes remain the highest priority in the fight against male cancer, and Orchid is privileged to have his continued support and inspiration to guide its efforts.
Warren Cohen (Treasurer)
Warren Cohen joined the Orchid Board of Trustees in 2016. He is Chief Operating Officer for fashion brand River Island. Warren brings considerable experience in the Apparel and Fashion industry in a variety of senior positions.
David Badenoch MA, DM, MCh, FEBU, FRCS (Urol)
David is a consultant urological surgeon. He took a BA Honours in Natural Sciences at Lincoln College, Oxford in 1970 and then went on to study clinical medicine at St. Bartholomew’s Hospital Medical College qualifying in 1975. David was on the consultant staff of the Royal London and St. Bartholomew’s Hospitals between 1988 and 2006. He is an Honorary Consultant at King Edward VII Hospital and The London Clinic.
David is a past President of the Section of Urology, Royal Society of Medicine, a past Trustee of King Edward VII Hospital, a past President and Trustee of the Chelsea Clinical Society and previously Honorary Surgeon to the Royal Scottish Corporation. He was awarded the BAUS Curgitex Prize in 1987 and Grand Prix de L’Association of the European Association of Urology in 1988. He gave the Creevy Memorial lecture to the Minnesota Urological Society in 2001 and was a visiting Professor to the Depart of Urology of the Mayo Clinic, Rochester, USA, 2001. He has written widely in medical journals and published two books.
David is married with two daughters and two sons and lives in London.
Peter Norman LVO
Peter has spent 30 years in the marketing of products from toys to high end luxury goods, notably at Moet Hennessy Louis Vuitton (LVMH). Prior to his business career, Peter spent 9 years as a regular soldier.
Peter’s involvement in Orchid stems from seeing his son suffer and subsequently recover, from testicular cancer. He himself has come through a prostate cancer diagnosis. As a consequence, Peter is mostly concerned about getting the message through to the relevant groups, of the vital importance and benefits of early testing leading to an early diagnosis for any of the 3 cancers, which in turn could save many lives.
Living in London and married with 2 children and 3 grandchildren, exercise and fresh air continue to play a major part in Peter’s life.
Simon holds a BA Economics, qualified as an Actuary in 1998 and has spent the last 25+ years working in Insurance and Financial Services, most recently as global Managing Director for Financial Institutions at credit rating agency Moody’s Investors’ Service. He has been an active fundraiser for numerous cancer-related charities via various sporting events and is delighted to join the Orchid Board of Trustees.
Simon is a keen cyclist and runner and lives in London.
Piers Bracher joined the Orchid Board of Trustees in Orchid 2018. He is a highly respected marketing, advertising and communications professional. He is Deputy Managing Director, Creative & Digital at Four Communications. He has previously held senior roles at ad agencies McCann Erikson and Lowe Howard-Spink, managing international advertising accounts for brands such as Amex, L’Oréal, Nestle and Stella Artois.
Prior to joining Four Communications Piers founded his own consultancy, the Diamond Conspiracy, focusing on premium brands in the arts, luxury retail, leisure and financial sectors.
Mark has worked in financial services for 30+ years, largely with Barclays where he was MD of Barclays Wealth and Barclays Capital, developed the UK private bank franchise and ran the Investment Banking UK arm. He is an active P2P and real estate investor. In 2012 he moved to a part time consultative position with Barclays to allow more time to run his own businesses across property and angel investing. The business interests have grown into 6 separate companies one of which is a regulated peer to peer lending business. Mark is a regular speaking at conferences on alternative residential property finance.
Mark has a number of philanthropic interests working with a range of charities and trusts focusing on cancer, clean water, sanitation, education, child exploitation and child trafficking.
Mr Ben Ayres
Ben Ayres is a Consultant Urological Surgeon and Honorary Senior Lecturer at St George’s University Hospitals. He trained initially in the Southwest and then in London, Kent, Surrey and Sussex regions. His subspecialist interests include penile cancer, bladder cancer and medical education.
Ben is actively involved in penile cancer trials and is a member of the European Association of Urology / American Society of Clinical Oncology penile cancer guidelines panel. He has extensively published and presented on penile cancer, often working with multi-institutional international collaborators. He has been an invited expert to the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence.
Ben is passionate about medical education and training the next generation of clinicians. He is the British Association of Urological Surgeons Education Lead for Medical students, Clinical Director for Undergraduate Surgical training at his Trust and is faculty on several Royal College of Surgeons England courses. He is also the co-educational lead for the Global Society for Rare Genitourinary Tumours.