By Teresa Gomez, Communications and Marketing

30 November 2016 - 11:52

The British Bouncil School Christmas fair raises almost 16.000 euros towards cancer research. The traditional Christmas Fair organised by the British Council School and its Voluntary Association for Citizenship and Solidarity has managed to raise almost 16.000 euros toeards the BIOOR research grants against Cancer. Since September, the new beneficiary of the BIOOR financial assistance, is the CNIO researcher Dr. Ana Ortega, from the Cell Metabolism and Signalling Group.

For another year, parents, teachers and students enjoyed a family Victorian Christmas at the British Council School where music, games, good food and excitement rivalled only the spirit of solidarity. “The Fair has been a complete success, with lots of people attending and like a every year, a great sense of solidarity. The truth is that we are very proud to see parents and children having a great time together, enjoying the rugby competition which the children in Primary put on, the raffle, the tombola, the delicious food and especially all the presents which the children had made in class. At the Fair, you can find all the things you need as family Christmas presents this year”', explained Gillian Flaxman, Headmistress at the British Council School.

BIOOR's Oncology research grants are a pioneering project started by the fellow classmates of a British Council School student who lived with this illness for 3 years. During this time, she colaborated with different hospitals with children ill with Cancer and her pasion was Oncology research. In the end, she lost her battle to Cancer and her classmates started the initiative in her memory.

Most recently, the School has renewed its agreement with the Spanish Foundation Against Cancer (AECC) to once again award the BIOOR grant to Dr. Ana Ortega. Her research will study in depth, the underlying molecular bases of follicular lymphoma, the second most frequent kind of malignant node lymphoma (originating in the lymph nodes) in Western Europe.

The British Council School Christmas Fair allows its students to, not only understand the value and importance of solidarity, but also how to contribute towards this. This is explained by the students who have won the  “Young Entrepreneur” competition, an event in which they have to put into practice the theoretical knowledge they have learnt in their Economics subject. They develop a School souvenir, from scratch, thinking of a successful product, through the production process itself and onto the final sale at the Christmas and Spring Fairs and at other events. In order to do this they have present a marketing plan, a finance plan, find suppliers, conduct market research, etc.

On this occasion there were two winning products: a mug with a slogan promoting healthy eating, designed by the children in Infants. And a pair of polarised sunglasses in three colours with the BIOOR logo designed by students; a pair of twin hearts joined together.

Both groups worked very hard throughout the last academic year, in order to achieve such high quality products. “We are very conscious of children's Cancer and we wanted an everyday product, made by children and for children. That's why we asked the students in Early Years (Infants) to design the fruits and vegetables portrayed on the mug. The children did the drawings by hand, and we added the message which promotes healthy eating” said Alvaro, speaking at the stand selling the mugs. “We realised that the cost of producing the sunglasses is in fact very low, and that what you are paying for is the brand. We studied designer brands and figured out that the balance can be very profitable. It's only 12.15 in the morning and we have already covered our production costs”, said Juan, very proud of his own “little business”.

Over the last few years, the number of students taking Economics in Year 10 and 11 has tripled, explains Pamela O'Brien, Head of Secondary. But as well as future opportunities, there is a hidden benefit behind these projects: “At the Year 10 Young Entrepreneur competition, we asked students to consider not only the importance of sales to cover costs, but also the possibility of how to reinvest profits, if there were any. In this case, these are wholly destined towards the fight against cancer and in this way students are able to support our values around “Caring”, helping others with their ideas”, said O'Brien, who is also responsible for teaching this subject.

Presents and fun for all. As well as solidarity, there is also room for other values at the Fair, such as recycling. This is why there were also several stands selling second-hand books and School uniform, and also musical instruments which their previous owners had out-grown.

And to help everyone get through the morning, we, of course, had to have food from around the world and also that most typical British pick-me-up, mulled wine and mince pies as well as face painting, tombola, games and various competitions.

Since 2003, BIOOR (Olivia Roddom Oncology Research Grants) has sponsored 4 research projects at the AECC Science Foundation. In total, more than 340.000 euros have been raised via charity bazaars, concerts, parties, donations and the sale of products made by the members of the Volunteer Association for Citizenship and Solidarity at the British Council School. These have been donated to the following programmes:

  • 2003-2005 54.000€ Molecular pathology, lymphomas group, at the CNIO
  • 2005 -2007 60.000€ “Oncogenes in breast and ovarian cancer”, at the La Paz de Madrid Hospital
  • 2007-2010 105.000€ “Infant lyphomas”, at the Autónoma University
  • 2012-2014 65.000€ Advanced Foundation for Pediatric Surgery Fundación Avanzada en Cirugía Pediátrica (Memorial Sloan Hospital Kettering Cancer Center, NY, USA)
  • 2014-2015 29.150€ Preventative clinical diagnosis and paliative therapeutic means (Madrid Complutense University).
  • 2016: 31.100€ BIOOR grant to Luis Miguel Alonso, doctor in Biology at the Madrid Complutense University. Christmas Fair grant for the CNIO researcher, Dr. Ana Ortega.