Applications for PhD in memory of Welsh boy now open

October 04, 2019

Cancer Research Wales has just announced that it is inviting applications for the funding of a 3-year PhD studentship in memory of one of their young supporters, Tom Walker.

Tom was a quiet, considerate and caring boy from Monmouthshire. In February 2018 Tom’s grandfather found a leaflet about hiking in the dark up Pen-y-Fan, the tallest mountain in South Wales, whilst raising funds for Cancer Research Wales.

Tim, Tom’s father, had a new pair of walking boots he needed to wear in. Tom wanted to get fitter so he could be a rowing cox. ‘Two birds, one stone.’

They completed the walk as scheduled at the end of March in the rain, wind, snow and fog. Tom found it hard but he carried on with lots of encouragement, despite being the youngest participant on the hike.

Sadly Tom fell ill a few months later, and after just over two weeks of decline with a range of conditions, he was diagnosed with acute myeloid leukaemia. His condition rapidly worsened while he was having an operation to prepare him for chemotherapy, and he died after returning to intensive care that afternoon. He was aged 13.

Tom was a keen swimmer for his school, Monmouth School for Boys, and Monnow Swimming Club, and was learning to row on the River Wye. Less than three months before he died, before he knew he had leukaemia, he raised several hundred pounds for Cancer Research Wales by taking part in the Brecon Beacons Night Hike.

Following Tom’s sad passing, his parents, Tim and Debbie Walker, sisters Holly and Emily, and the amazing community in the Monmouth area, have tirelessly raised funds for a research scholarship for acute myeloid leukaemia research in his memory.

Categories of Research

Cancer Research Wales will accept applications for a 3-year PhD Studentship, with costs up to a maximum of £100,000 (including stipend, University fees and consumables) in the following research categories.

The Biology and Aetiology of Acute Myeloid Leukaemia – research in this category may also include endogenous and exogenous risk factors in the origins and cause of acute myeloid leukaemia.

Early Diagnosis, Detection and Prognosis of Acute Myeloid Leukaemia – applications in this category may also include non-laboratory based projects such as health systems and diagnostic pathways research as they relate to acute myeloid leukaemia, novel and improved prognostic biomarkers, and methods to improve the detection of residual disease.

Novel and Improved Treatments for Acute Myeloid Leukaemia – research in this category may also include predictive biomarkers, immunotherapy, stem cell and CAR T-cell therapies, molecular targeted therapies, monoclonal antibodies, side effects and safety-profiling of existing treatments and therapeutic regimens.

For more details about the Tom Walker Cancer Research Wales PhD Studentship please visit the Cancer Research Wales website.