Physiotherapy hope for cancer patients thanks to Jane Tomlinson’s legacy

Thousands of cancer patients could receive life-enhancing physiotherapy treatment thanks to research funded according to the wishes of the inspirational fundraiser Jane Tomlinson.

Research into the potential benefits of kinesiology taping – the strapping used by Olympic athletes – was one of Mrs Tomlinson’s final wishes before her death in 2007.

Now the appeal fund, which still raises thousands of pounds in her memory, is funding a series of study days to share knowledge of the taping’s role in relieving the symptoms of people with cancer.

Mother-of-three Mrs Tomlinson, from Leeds, received the treatment in her final few months and said the tape helped to lift her ribcage, giving her organs – which had swollen during her cancer treatments, more space to move.

Kinesiology tape
Kinesiology tape

She said it reduced her pain levels and relieved pressure on her stomach, allowing her to eat and drink properly.

The Jane Tomlinson Appeal has funded a three-year research project at Leeds Beckett University into the effects of the taping on pain relief in cancer patients, which is now at the formal assessment phase.

Now, study sessions, staged in partnership with Leeds Beckett University and 2Pure, distributors of KT Tape, will share knowledge of the technique with physiotherapists working in the NHS and in hospices and cancer clinics across the UK.

The first, later this month, will be led by physiotherapist Alison Rose, who treats Team GB athletes and also performed the taping on Jane in 2007.

Ms Rose is a director of the Leeds-based Coach House Sports Physiotherapy Clinic whose clients have included Dame Jessica Ennis-Hill and Dame Kelly Holmes.

She began treating Jane in 2004, preparing her for her physical challenges, including her epic Ride Across America.

Jane Tomlinson Appeal
Jane Tomlinson Appeal

She said: “The day we put the tape on, I could see that she wasn’t well. She was feeling sick, she hadn’t been able to eat much. We applied the tape, with no expectations but then Jane bounced back into the clinic five days later looking a completely different person, one full of energy.

“She felt the tape had given her more space around her abdomen so she could breath and eat better and just feel more ‘normal’. It enabled her to enjoy family time and not feel restrained by her illness.”

Mrs Tomlinson’s husband, Mike said: “When Jane died she left me with very little instructions – apart from how to operate the washing machine – but she did ask me, once we had raised enough money, to investigate how kinesiology taping could help other people living with cancer.

“Often the drug treatments Jane received were worse than the illness itself. In her final few months, the one thing that improved her quality of life was the taping.”

Mrs Tomlinson raised £1.8 million for charity and the appeal which carries her name continues her legacy.

As well as research into sports taping, it funds ground-breaking research into the development of a blood test to detect breast cancer at an earlier stage; bereavement counselling for children and the Mini Mermaids and Young Tritons school programmes in Leeds, Sheffield and Hull.