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Taking aim at breast cancer

When Sally Pollard sadly lost her life to breast cancer, her husband, and real life Robin Hood, vowed to take the ongoing challenge head on.
Connect Research Taking aim at breast cancer

Will you be my Maid Marian?” Can you think of a better chat-up line for a man whose job it is to play the heroic outlaw, Robin Hood? This was the very line that Tim Pollard said to the then Sally Chappell, who accepted. 

“We spent several years working together as colleagues, playing Robin and Marian. We were chatting all the time, got to know each other really well and after a few years we got together as a couple. It was brilliant because we didn't have to pretend to be anything to each other, we already knew each other really well and it was just glorious,” said Tim.

Away from the tales of Robin Hood, Sally was a talented researcher in human genetics and dedicated teacher here at the University of Nottingham. Sadly, Sally was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2015.

Sally and Tim Pollard together as Maid Marian and Robin Hood.

“Unfortunately, by the time it was diagnosed it had spread" continues Tim. "She was an incredibly positive person and she didn't let it get it her down but it was incredibly cruel. We had recently had the little baby girl that she’d wanted for her whole life. I promised her that I would do my absolute best to bring Scarlett up and she seemed comforted that everything was going to be ok.

“We used to talk a lot when she was very poorly − we knew what the eventual outcome was going to be − but Sally kept up with all the research. We said that if she was going to die of cancer then we wanted her to be one of the last people to die from the disease.

"The research that the Nottingham Breast Cancer Research Centre is doing is really tackling breast cancer head on. There are advances being made every day and I just want to support that as much as I possibly can.

"It's why I took part in the Nottingham 10k in June, running dressed as Robin Hood to help raise funds. It's important to me to do what I can for Sally, and for everyone else who has been affected by cancer.”

Continue the fight

Thanks to the support of many alumni and friends like Tim, we launched the Nottingham Breast Cancer Research Centre in 2018.

Now thanks to the generosity of donors, we are launching three new pilot projects that will test some of our most novel research. Ideas like blocking DNA repair in advanced breast cancers to improve treatment and using targeted drugs to stop a protein that provides nutrients to growing cancer cells.

Every day, 150 people are diagnosed with breast cancer. With your help, our researchers at the Nottingham Breast Cancer Research Centre can make the next breakthrough faster.

Support our breast cancer research today >