Ralph Lauren makes multi-million dollar donation to London cancer hospital
Creating the "potential to change clinical practice"
Having already enjoyed a great relationship with England, from dressing the staff at Wimbledon to stores spread across London and further afield, Ralph Lauren has recently announced a joint partnership and made a multimillion-dollar donation to the Royal Marsden Hospital, one of the most comprehensive cancer centres in Europe.
The Ralph Lauren Centre for Breast Cancer Research is set to open in 12 months time, within the hospital's main branch on the Fulham Road in Chelsea, coincidentally not far from two of the designer's own stores. The Royal Marsden has two sites for treating serious cancer patients, with the other based in Sutton, Surrey.
The new Central London research facility will span 6,383 square feet and take up an entire floor of the hospital, with a goal to "help identify molecular differences between tumours in order to fine-tune and develop treatments, and to eliminate unnecessary and toxic therapies."
"England is very important for me, I've been here for years. It's a place I love, so it was a natural thing. And the Royal Marsden is major," Ralph Lauren said, following a tour of its high-tech facilities earlier this week. "We've become a more international brand and company, and so I think more internationally now. So everything's about who's good, who's doing what, why them, and why not someone else," he added.
The Royal Marsden has been a beneficiary of the Ralph Lauren Pink Pony cancer fund for many years and tonight, in conjunction with the new facility opening, the designer will attend a gala dinner hosted by Prince William, the Duke of Cambridge at Windsor Castle in aid of the Royal Marsden Cancer Charity – of which the Prince is President.
Guests are set to include Cate Blanchett, Emma Watson, Helena Bonham Carter, Cara Delevingne, Emeli Sandé, Kate Moss, Benedict Cumberbatch, Douglas Booth, Laura Carmichael, Allen Leech, Lily James, Sheherazade Goldsmith and Mario Testino, in addition to Lauren's wife and their children, David, Dylan and Andrew.
At 74-years-old, Lauren has also spoken out about his feelings when he was diagnosed with a non-cancerous brain tumour almost three decades ago. "I didn't have cancer, it was benign. I was very lucky... It's a very emotional thing to come out of an operation. So I've been through it, a little bit. I know what that feels like," he said.
With regard to the Marsden's use for the donation, the world-famous designer didn't set any boundaries or make any requirements. "This money was for whatever they wanted to do, it was theirs. My donation is a very small thing; all these centres really need a lot of help," he said. "There seems to be a very good spirit about the hospital, and the people that run it are amazing."
Earlier in the day, a number of the hospital's professors and researchers briefed the designer, his wife Ricky and some of his staff on how the money would be spent. They were told about the "modern molecular research" with bespoke labs for measuring the DNA of tumours present in patients' blood, with an idea to help experts reduce the time it takes to make diagnoses.
"His donation has the potential to change clinical practice, and contribute significantly to the international knowledge basis." Affirmed Cally Palmer, CEO of the Royal Marsden.