Sheffield Scanner appeal reaches £1.5 million milestone

Fundraisers for the Sheffield Scanner

The Sheffield Scanner fundraising appeal to bring a revolutionary medical imaging scanner to Yorkshire has now reached £1.5 million.

Professor Dame Pamela Shaw, Professor of Neurology and Vice President & Head, Faculty of Medicine, Dentistry and Health, thanked colleagues across the University for their hard work, energy and enthusiasm that has helped bring us closer to the £2 million goal.

The campaign has already attracted more than 7,500 individual donations and this number is growing every day.

Read the full press release

Professor Dame Pam Shaw said: “It’s hard to believe that less than 18 months ago the suggestion that Sheffield might be getting a combined MRI-PET scanner was just that – a suggestion. Yet now here I am, looking at floor plans and thinking about the first patients who’ll be coming through the doors.

“Talking to colleagues, there’s genuine excitement that MRI-PET will open up new avenues of research in so many areas: Parkinson’s disease, dementia, diabetes, cancer, epilepsy, multiple sclerosis - and of course Motor Neurone Disease. This really could be a life-changing technology.”

The advanced imaging technology will transform understanding of serious conditions including cancer, dementia, Parkinson’s, diabetes and heart disease. This will accelerate discoveries from the laboratory into clinical trials to develop new therapies and better outcomes for patients.

Talking to colleagues, there’s genuine excitement that MRI-PET will open up new avenues of research in so many areas...this really could be a life-changing technology.

Professor Dame Pamela Shaw

The scanner will also help to enhance the work of scientists at Sheffield’s NIHR Biomedical Research Centre dedicated to translational neuroscience for chronic neurological disorders.

The Biomedical Research Centre, which was launched in April 2017, is a research partnership between the University of Sheffield and Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust. The cutting-edge scanner, which will be one of only eight in the UK, will give unprecedented views of inside the human body providing doctors with important information about how the body is functioning.

The University is matching every £1 raised through the £2 million Sheffield Scanner Appeal to bring the facility to the city.


Fundraising through the Big Walk

330 colleagues, students, friends and family have signed up for this year’s marathon-length hike across the Peaks, which takes place on Friday 22 June . Many have friends or relatives who have been affected by conditions that would benefit from the improved research and treatment that the Scanner will provide.

The walk will start in Lodge Moor, three miles west of the University and will then pass through Stanage Edge, Derwent Edge, Low Bradfield and Loxley Valley before finishing at the University Arms with a celebration event.

The Big Walk route and accompanying historical notes


Find out more about the Big Walk and donate


Meet some of our colleagues participating in the Big Walk

Dr Emily Goodall - Discovery Medicine North (DiMeN) DTP Manager and ​Graduate School Manager: Faculty of Science​

The ResearchWell team

1. Why did you sign up for the Big Walk to support the Scanner?
I had a great experience last year, with the training walks, team spirit, fresh air, countryside and meeting some amazing people along the way. I realised that the event is actually a great thing for wellbeing and from my role at the University I know there is a need to raise awareness around and look after the wellbeing of our PhD student population. So I decided to pull a team together of PhD students, supervisors and staff from across the University - under the team name #ResearchWell.

The second reason is the scanner itself. Neurodegeneration, and the importance of early diagnosis, is a cause very close to my heart as a former researcher in the Department of Neuroscience for many years. This state of the art scanner in the hand of passionate researchers, will have the power to make real advancements in research for those affected by these conditions.

2. What fundraising ideas are you using?
Escaping into a good book is another way to look after your wellbeing, so we’ve been collecting second-hand books and plan to sell them at a book sale to raise money for the scanner. The sale will take place in Krebs Cafe on Friday 8 June, 9.30am-12.15pm.

3. How are you preparing/training?
I have organised a whole series of #ResearchWell practice walks, including shorter lunchtime strolls to encourage people to get away from the desk or lab for some fresh air, afterwork social walks that usually finish at a pub and longer weekend adventures. We have totalled over 75 miles in #ResearchWell walks so far and taken in some beautiful countryside in and around Sheffield. We still have some training walks left and anyone is welcome to join us.

4. Most worried about:
Blisters, nothing ruins the pleasure of a good walk like a blister!!

5. Most looking forward to:
The atmosphere and team spirit on the day, being part of such a big event and seeing #ResearchWell team members succeed over the 26 miles. Many of our team have never attempted a walk of this length before and have already achieved great distances in training. It will be a very proud moment when we cross the finish line.

Support the #ResearchWell team

James Hill - Admissions Assistant, Student Services

James Hill

1. Why did you sign up for the Big Walk to support the Scanner?
I took part in the Big Walk 2017 and 2015 and loved the amazing atmosphere for all involved, coming together to raise money for great causes.

The Sheffield Scanner is a vital piece of medical machinery that can help many people in and around Sheffield. It will also help our Faculty of Medicine, Dentistry and Health, and Sheffield Teaching Hospitals evolve further with vital research to find preventative or curable measures to life threatening illnesses.

2. What fundraising ideas are you using?
When it comes to fundraising, fancy dress has always been a big hit with me. For the 2015 Big Walk I dressed up as Dorothy from the Wizard of Oz to "find her way home to the Emerald Steel City of Sheffield along the Limestone Pennine Way road". This brought lots of laughter and helped raise awareness of the cause.

With that in mind, I have managed to "persuade" various colleagues across Student Services to join me in another fancy dress themed walk as "The Student Services Superheros". This has helped promote our fundraising campaign and got colleagues to talk about the Scanner Campaign to friends and family as everyone is excited to see what we’ll be wearing.

3. How are you preparing/training?
As our Superheroes are a mixture of experienced walkers and people who have never done long distance walking before, we have been training on "smaller" 10-15 mile distances. This has helped all of us increase our fitness and understanding of each others strengths and weaknesses. We will be practising the route as a team two weeks prior to the big day, which will give us an insight into what the route entails and where things are located such as toilets, rest stops and most importantly, ice cream vans!

4. Most worried about:
The weather! I always prefer walking on a clear but cool day, with a nice gentle breeze (I'm really hoping Debbie and Dave have ordered this for the big event!). I'm not too concerned if it's cold and wet, but I always hate walking when the weather is really hot and muggy.

5. Most looking forward to:
The day itself and the atmosphere at the start of the walk. With over 330 people taking part, there’s going to be a big buzz and an adrenaline rush for all the walkers. It also allows people to reflect on why they are walking for the cause. There are many inspiring stories on JustGiving as to why people are taking part in the walk this year so I hope people support their friends, family, work colleagues and Superheros in any way they can.

Kevin Kennedy Ryan - Marketing Executive, ACS/Unicus

Kevin Kennedy Ryan

1. Why did you sign up for the Big Walk to support the Scanner?
I really wanted to take part in the walk last year, but I was overseas for a wedding. When the walk was announced this year I jumped at the opportunity. I love the outdoors - having grown up in the country and being so close to the peaks is one of my favourite things about living in Sheffield. The chance to take part in a challenging walk and raise money for the scanner at the time time was a no-brainer.

2. What fundraising ideas are you using?
I'm fortunate in having quite a wide social network. I've been able to draw on colleagues in the University but also my gaelic football team, Celtic Supporters Club, and friends and family both sides of the Atlantic (I moved back to Sheffield from Chicago a couple of years ago). I was lucky to have a couple of tweets blow up with a few hundred RTs (mostly from supportive fellow Celtic supporters) which really helped the fundraising early on. My biggest tip would be not to underestimate the effectiveness of a nicely written personal message to friends and colleagues asking for support.

3. How are you preparing/training?
Not as much as I should be! I walk around six miles to work and back every day, which helps. I'll normally clock 10+ miles a day depending on what I'm doing in the evenings. I'm off to do the Sheffield round walk next weekend as a bit of a dry run. It's 24km so it's a bit shy on distance, but should at least let me break in my walking shoes!

4. Most worried about:
Rain! Closely followed by my legs the next day. I'm quite optimistic about the walk itself, but I'm sure after I've sat down at the University Arms for an hour or two afterwards it might be a taxi back down the hill to Kelham Island.

5. Most looking forward to:
The walk itself. A few other colleagues from ACS are doing the walk as well, so it should be a nice jaunt through the peaks with some friends — maybe meeting a couple of new ones along the way.

Support Kevin

Maggie Vickers - Centre Administrator & Data Systems and Management Support Officer, National Technician Development Centre

Maggie Vickers

1. Why did you sign up for the Big Walk to support the Scanner?
I love the Big Walk, and have taken part since I joined the University. It’s a fantastic opportunity to come together with my friends and colleagues for a lovely walk or run, and to support such a great cause at the same time.

2. What fundraising ideas are you using?
I love sports and running is my favourite by far, so I don’t feel like I can ask people to give me money for something that’s my hobby anyway. I am, however, a rubbish baker, so I raise money by exposing people to my ‘quality’ cakes. I even organised a cake runlivery, delivering cake orders right to colleagues’ desks all across campus! In the process my baking has improved and I now even get asked to bake more (vegan Charlotte cake is my specialty). Thankfully no one (that I know of) has got food poisoning yet, so I will continue to bake until I reach my target amount of £200.

3. How are you preparing/training?
Most of my training is done during Steel City Striders training runs. I also love going out for long runs with Coco the dog. She is very fast and does NOT get tired, so is the perfect running buddy.

4. Most worried about:
I’m not worried about anything, but I am very excited. I was originally hoping to run the event, like last year, but I have since found out that I will be taking part in tandem: I will be 10 weeks pregnant during the Big Walk. Hence, this year I will take it easy and walk the route joined also by my husband who will carry my snacks!

5. Most looking forward to:
The great atmosphere on the day, all the lovely people involved, and all the food I will eat after I finish!

Support Maggie

Who’s taking part from your department? Find out here

You can follow the progress of our Big Walkers from the moment they set off at 7am using the hashtag #TUOSBigWalk, or by following the staff Twitter account and University Twitter.