Andrew Strauss has launched a foundation in the name of his late wife, Ruth, who died last year after battling a rare form of lung cancer.
The Ruth Strauss Foundation will raise funds to research rare forms of lung cancer and to provide emotional and psychological support to patients and their families.
Ruth Strauss died last December, just over a year after being diagnosed with rare disease ALK-positive non-small-cell lung cancer.
In an interview with The Sunday Times, former England captain Strauss, who stepped down as director of England cricket last year as his wife underwent treatment, said he and Ruth had undergone counselling during her illness, which helped them to deal with their situation and to support their sons, Sam (13) and Luca (10). The couple decided they wanted to help other families access similar counselling services.
“We spoke about her experience and asked ourselves, what can we do, given what we know now, to make other people’s journeys easier? I talked about my ambition to create a foundation in her memory and we thought there were two things that we would focus upon,” Strauss told The Sunday Times.
“Number one was that in dealing with death people need support, even if they don’t know it. This support is not freely available.
“Most of the funding goes into the treatment, which is understandable. Psychological and emotional support is very haphazard in terms of its availability. Preparing for a death is a horrible thing and you need a lot of support when going through it. So one of the aims of the foundation is going to be to raise funds to provide that support for as many people as possible.
“The second aim relates to the cancer that took Ruth’s life. There is an assumption there that if you get lung cancer you were a smoker. Ruth never smoked a cigarette in her life. ALK-positive non-small- cell lung cancer is said to be very rare but anecdotally there seems to be an increase in the number of young women who have never smoked contracting it.
“Nobody knows what is causing it. The unfortunate thing is that it tends not to be diagnosed until stage four, when it is incurable. There needs to be a lot of work done on the research side to understand these cancers better and provide better treatment and to ensure that knowledge is being shared both in this country and worldwide. That will be another focus of the foundation, to provide the funds for this to happen.”
To help raise funds, the foundation will hold a golf day in partnership with the Lord’s Taverners at Stoke Park Country Club on June 11.
The Ruth Struass foundation: www.ruthstraussfoundation.com