Dr Peter McCormick came to LSTM in 1996 to study for the famous Diploma in Tropical Medicine and Hygiene (DTM&H), after having completed 26 years in General Practice with an interest in Paediatrics. He had received his medical degree from the University of Edinburgh, and already held a Diploma in Child Health from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine.
After doing general Paediatrics in the Gambia and Ghana, and having observed the poor or absent treatment of Burkitt lymphoma there, he settled as a volunteer in Paediatric Oncology in Cameroon. He founded the Charity Beryl Thyer Memorial Africa Trust (named after his late sister) in 2006 for the free investigation, treatment and follow-up of children with suspected Burkitt lymphoma, and later other child cancers, in 3 Baptist hospitals there. He also had an input in Neonatal Care and instituted 4 breastmilk banks. Peter no longer visits Africa but is still actively involved in the administration of his charity there. He is passionate about child health, and in the past has even crossed Lapland on skis to raise £3, 000 for Save the Children.
The charity is now affiliated with the Department of Paediatric Oncology at Stellenbosch University, and at Leeds University. It is also linked with World Child Cancer in London.
Peter, why did you decide to study the DTM&H here in Liverpool?
The fame and antiquity of LSTM was known to me. I was born and brought up in Manchester, and my sister Beryl and her husband Alan Thyer lived there. I was able to use their home as my ‘digs’ for my time at LSTM.
How do you think your time here shaped your future work?
LSTM inspired and defined my work for the 2 decades after acquiring the Diploma.
How would you sum up your time at LSTM?
I was exposed to excellence in the teaching, and fun – though being the second oldest student in my year – in the student group of 1996.
Finally, what is your proudest achievement?
To see the lives of 1,000 Cameroonian children with cancer saved, and to see neonatal care improved through my input; all as a result of the basic knowledge imparted in the LSTM.