Although we were officially founded in 2014, the passion that underpins our work first took root many years earlier…
Our founder, Fernando Pinho, was only ten when his brother was diagnosed with leukaemia – and it changed his world forever. He saw firsthand the effects of serious illness on a family, not only emotionally but practically and financially.
This close acquaintance with cancer also led him to a startling discovery – that while his brother’s illness was certainly life-threatening, his chances of recovery were still significantly better than a child battling the same illness in a developing country. Back in 1992 the survival rate for cancer in the UK was 80/20 – 80% of sufferers successfully overcame the disease and it was only fatal for 20%. Yet in many poorer countries the survival rate was not only much lower, but in fact reversed – 80% of people with cancer died, while only 20% recovered. And this was mainly due to lack of access to lifesaving medical treatment.
Why should it be the case, Fernando asked himself, that one person’s chance of survival should be so much stronger than another’s simply because of where they happened to be born or how much money they had?
With these experiences and questions bubbling away at the back of his mind for years, it was when his daughter was born that Fernando finally decided to take action. Becoming a dad gave him a renewed desire to make sure his life was as meaningful as possible – that he was living a life both he and his daughter could be proud of. And so Please Take Me There was born.
Today we’ve grown to a team of four, supported by a passionate and determined community of over 500 donors, volunteers, and partners. Together we’re helping more than 60 seriously ill children, adults, and their families every month take life-changing journeys to access the healthcare they need.
Get to know us a little bit better.
All our work is positive and inspiring. You’ll never see us shaking buckets in the street, making cold calls, going door-to-door, or using distressing photos or videos. We aim to be as encouraging and empowering as possible – both for the people who support and partner with us and the children and families we’re working to help.
Meet the team
Before founding Please Take Me There, Fernando worked in arts management. Combining his love of flying and his experience of seeing his brother go through cancer, he was inspired to start an organisation which would make the process of hospital treatment easier. He is originally from Portugal. Fernando doesn’t have much free time, but when he does, he enjoys making stop-motion animation films and spending time with his wife and daughter.
Natalie is the face and voice of what we do. She went through cancer herself shortly after the birth of her son, which was a big part of the reason that she decided to join the team. She has trained as an actor and has a degree in psychology. Natalie loves Harry Potter, enjoys a tasting menu in a good restaurant, and spending time with her son.
Alex is the person to know in Cambridge - she works extensively to give our little team a presence in the city! She specialises in marketing and promotion - creating, implementing and managing our events, and making sure that everything runs according to plan. Alex is a creative writer, and loves to travel and get on the dance floor.
Ana Pessoa, Fernando Pinho and Robert Dyer.