Beating bowel cancer together

CEO Deborah Alsina MBE to leave Bowel Cancer UK

Our long standing Chief Executive, Deborah Alsina MBE, has announced she will be leaving the charity in August. Deborah is taking up the role of Chief Executive of Independent Age, a charity that provides advice and support for older age.

Deborah joined Bowel Cancer UK in 2008 as Director of Services and Strategy, a year after losing her father to the disease, and became Chief Executive a year later. Over the last 10 years Deborah has transformed the charity and led the successful integration of Bowel Cancer UK and Beating Bowel Cancer in 2018 to create a single national charity for people affected by bowel cancer. Under her leadership the charity’s income, impact and reach has grown significantly.  

A passionate advocate for improving the diagnosis, treatment and care of bowel cancer patients of all ages, Deborah has also helped to drive positive policy change including commitments from UK Governments for the introduction of optimal bowel cancer screening programmes, which could be a game changer in preventing bowel cancer developing or preventing it early when it is most treatable.

Deborah was awarded an MBE in the Queen’s 90th Birthday Honours list in 2016, in recognition of her service to bowel cancer patients, named Charity Chief Executive of the Year at the Third Sector Excellence Awards 2017 and Charity Principal of the Year at the Charity Times Awards 2018.

Deborah said: “Working for Bowel Cancer UK has been the greatest privilege of my professional life to date. I have had the great joy of working with an incredible group of committed staff, trustees, volunteers, leading clinicians, scientists and policy makers and a wonderful community of people affected by bowel cancer whose selfless determination to drive positive change for others has inspired and motivated me every day.

I think one of the greatest challenges any charity Chief Executive faces is knowing when it’s time to leave. I have always kept sight of the fact that change is good for an organisation and have been balancing the value I bring of a long tenure with the benefit the charity would gain from new energy, perspective and ideas. So whilst my commitment to saving lives from bowel cancer is undiminished, it is with a huge mixture of emotions I have decided to leave my role at Bowel Cancer UK.

I will be taking up a new role in the autumn as Chief Executive of Independent Age, another brilliant charity, which provides support and information for older people and campaigns to ensure all older people are able to live independent fulfilling lives, another area I am deeply committed to.”

Bowel Cancer UK Chair Patrick Figgis said: “We are indebted to Deborah for the outstanding leadership she has provided. Helping bring together two bowel cancer charities as one has been one of her greatest achievements in her constant pursuit to enhance outcomes for people affected by the disease. She has championed national policy change, provided endless support to patients and their families and has rightly been recognised for her service to bowel cancer patients.

We wish Deborah every success in her new role in the knowledge that Bowel Cancer UK is well placed to continue to save lives and improve the quality of life of everyone affected by bowel cancer by championing early diagnosis and access to best treatment and care whilst also investing in high quality research.”

The charity will appoint an interim CEO whilst it recruits a permanent successor.

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