The Royal Marsden

Besides the day job

Meet Mr Shahnawaz Rasheed, who balances his role as a Consultant Colorectal Surgeon at The Royal Marsden with leading an international disaster relief operation.

Mr Shahnawaz Rasheed on a training exercise with aid agency Humanity First

Mr Shahnawaz Rasheed leads a double life. By day, he’s a Consultant Colorectal Surgeon at The Royal Marsden, and a Senior Lecturer for the Biomedical Research Centre and Imperial College London. But away from the hospital he is the Medical Director of the aid agency Humanity First, which provides relief to victims of disasters across the world.

In April last year, just days after the Nepal earthquake, Mr Rasheed co-ordinated a team of 12 volunteers, paramedics and logisticians deployed to the affected regions. Humanity First has also provided food, water and hygiene items to Syrian refugees in camps in Jordan and Turkey, as well as working on refugee support projects in Europe and North America.

“When you see people in that situation, in desperate need of help, you have to do something,” says Mr Rasheed, who initially volunteered for Humanity First in 2004 after working in countries affected by civil wars. “These people have often lost everything. Although you can’t prevent disasters, you can do things to help mitigate the situation.”

As part of his role with Humanity First, Mr Rasheed provides disaster response training for volunteers in Washington DC, Toronto and Leicestershire. “It’s an intense few days, but it’s amazing,” he says. “We inspire and train doctors, nurses, paramedics and firemen who want to provide care in a disaster environment.”

At The Royal Marsden, Mr Rasheed specialises in complex, locally advanced and recurrent colorectal cancer, and conducts research into new surgical techniques using the da Vinci Xi robotic surgery system.

He says that balancing his surgical and humanitarian careers is “challenging”, but it is helped by the hospital’s team approach.

“My medical and surgical experience includes emergency medicine and trauma, which has helped a great deal in post-disaster planning and operational management,” he says. “I use the guiding principles of compassion, kindness and clinical excellence in all that I do, whether that be treating a patient with a complex cancer or helping someone after a disaster.”

Sharpshooting and singing

Two more Royal Marsden staff with hidden talents

Not only is Mr Kelvin Ramsey a Consultant Plastic and Reconstructive Surgeon, he is also one of the country’s top long-range rifle shooters. He travels the world representing various England and GB rifle teams in the sport, which involves shooting a bullseye from 1,000 yards, and hopes to one day compete at the Commonwealth Games.

“There are lots of parallels between the fine skills and techniques I use in the operating theatre and rifle shooting,” says Mr Ramsey. “Both are very controlled and precise.”

Miriam Evans, Press and PR Officer, has been singing in choirs since she was seven, and is a member of the Côr Llunsain Choir, a group of Welsh women in London. The choir sang the national anthems at the England v Wales Rugby World Cup at Twickenham.

“I’ve never experienced as much adrenaline as when we were singing to over 80,000 people, including TRH The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge,” says Miriam. “The noise from the crowd was overwhelming. I just thought: ‘Try not to pass out and remember to sing’.”