About Us

Jon Birchall is an award-winning farmer who currently works as a farm management & business consultant and agronomist. In 2010 he won the accolade of BBC Farmer of the Year by the Food & Farming Programme on Radio 4.

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Jon Birchall

 

Jon’s long career in agriculture started on his parents’ small dairy farm and progressed until he managed over two and half thousand acres in Hertfordshire. Jon now looks after three and a half thousand acres on eight different farms in Herefordshire & Shropshire. Jon’s long list of qualifications and associations bear testament to the effort he has continued to apply to his ongoing professional development: MSc in Rural Estate and Land Management in 2010, the BASIS diploma in 2014. 

Unfortunately Jon’s cancer was misdiagnosed in 2010, and despite the correct diagnosis and surgery in 2013 to remove his left kidney and tumour, it was later found that the cancer had already spread to his lungs. In 2014 Jon undertook a gruelling two-week course of Interleukin2 at The Christie in Manchester under Professor Hawkins.  Unfortunately he was not a responder. Jon remains in good health, and the originally poor prognosis is currently on hold in October 2017. Jon is reviewed by his oncologist Professor Powles every three months. A scan in March 2016 showed a slight increase in disease progression with growth in two of the lung metastases, and Jon has been on Nivolumab, an immunotherapy drug, provided originally under the Early Access to Medicines Scheme and now funded through the NHS. The four largest lung mets in the righ lung have just been destroyed with microwave ablation under general anaesthetic. 

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Jon and Sarah

Jon is happily married to Sarah, whose background is in livestock farming and agricultural journalism, and together they’ve decided to see Jon’s ‘wish list’ as an opportunity to have and enjoy together as many good experiences as possible. Simple things like weekend walks, canoeing on the Wye, and growing vegetables feature on the list as well as ‘Riding the Coast of Britain’ and this simple desire of Jon’s to have fun on his motorbike, a Yamaha FJ1200, has developed into the Facing Up 2 Kidney Cancer fundraising and awareness event. Sarah is a qualified holistic VHT practitioner and is now developing a following as a mixed media artist. Updated October 2017. 

In 2016 (Phase 2) we are now working directly with the  UCL Development Fund research team led by Miss Maxine Tran (Senior Lecturer in Renal Cancer Surgery and Honorary Urology Consultant) and approximate figures for this year suggest we have already raised another £3,500 for the project. Updated 20/03/16. 

Last year (Phase 1) we worked closely with the James Whale Fund for Kidney Cancer and Kidney Cancer Scotland to raise awareness in the medical profession, the public, and the media, as kidney cancer is frequently incurable as it is often found too late. The brilliant total of money raised in 2015 on Phase 1 - £39,115.47 - is imminently to be transferred to the Royal Free/UCL research project. (updated 011/03/16). Earlier this year (2016) the James Whale Fund for Kidney Cancer amalgamated with, and rebranded to become, Kidney Cancer UK.

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Jon and Thunderbird 1

Please join us on our amazing ‘Facing Up 2 Kidney Cancer’ journey, either for a mere moment, or more, and please give whatever you can. Get on your motorbike, or bicycle, get your friends to sponsor you. Hold a coffee morning at the office, or set up a cake stall. Every £1 donated will help us to help others. Let’s make this an event to remember. Mission 1 may be complete but the quest is far from over.

Please DONATE  and share your stories. Together we can make this #facingup2KC event something very special, and together we can make a difference so that other kidney cancer patients can have a different outcome in the future.

Jon and nephew George

You can follow us on Twitter @facingup2KC and join the conversation using the #facingup2KC hash tag and friend us on Facebook  to be kept up to date with all the latest news and pictures.