Quack Aid – The Sunflower Jam

Deep_Purple_(1985)

This evening, a gathering of aging rockers, are performing for a fundraising event aimed at helping children with cancer.

The Sunflower Jam is an annual event that is being held this year at the Royal Albert Hall as the Superjam 2011. Live on stage will be rock legends such as Rick Wakeman and Deep Purple. Newton Faulkner will also be playing. The evening, costing £178 for some good seats, will be hosted by Jeremy Irons, and entertainment will be provided by the Pineapple Dance Studios.

And its all in a Good Cause. According to the founder of the Sunflower Jam and Childline Award for Philanthropy winner,  Jacky Paice (and wife of Deep Purple’s Ian Paice), SFJ raise money to “care for children, young people, adults and their families with a range of acute and chronic emotional, mental and physical conditions.”. SFJ want to promote “the use of care givers and healthcare providers in a way that will improve outcomes.”

How could I possibly have a problem with such a noble cause?

As always, it is worth digging a little deeper when this care is described as “holistic and integrated” – words that make the Quackometer smoke.

The problem is that the way Sunflower want to achieve its aims are by the promotion of ‘healers’ and other forms of superstitious and pseudoscientific treatments at the University College London Hospitals.

How do they plan to do this?

Well the proceeds will be going to the College of Medicine – a new organisation that has been accused as being a front for promoting quackery in the NHS. As I described recently, The College of Medicine appears to have perfected the art of ‘bait and switch’. Despite its up front aims to ‘redefine good medicine’ and ‘renew the traditional values of service, commitment and compassion and creating a more holistic, patient-centred, preventative approach to healthcare’ it appears to be doing nothing but promote disproven and superstitious treatments.

The Superjam is to be a major fund raiser for the new College. Despite a recent denial on the pages of the BMJ web site from the colleges prime sponsors that the College is not promoting quackery but “is calling for a more compassionate NHS, where practice based on good evidence”, the bankrolling by the Sunflower Jam would appear to contradict that view.

The Sunflower Jam, the organisation behind Superjam, are quite explicit in their aims to see ‘healers’ on oncology wards. Their case studies documents children with cancer who have been using other unproven, questionable treatments such as avemar (something not unlike a marmite pill), vitamin pills and herbal treatments.

Another worry about the real nature of the College of Medicine is that they have been keen to distance themselves from the Prince of Wales, a notorious supporter of quackery. But, according to a tweet from the Superjam, Charles will be attending a reception for the musicians and guests before the main show. The College, with many of the same staff and supporters, can be little more than a resurrection of Prince Charles’ discredited charity, the Foundation of Integrated Health, that closed last year after arrests were made for corruption and fraud.

Real harm can come from ‘healers’. Last week, Newsnight exposed one particular group who were claiming they could cure cancer. Such people, who believe that can channel some some of spiritual energy to help treat illness, are obviously delusional. It may well be that they are compassionate and caring, but exposure to their ideas raises false hopes and may well distort parents’ ability to make informed decisions about how to care for their children with cancer.

No doubt, there will be parents who believe they have been helped by such people. But it is imperative to be careful about who is really being helped here and whether involvement of healers really does improve outcomes for children or is just exploitative nonsense that preys on the vulnerability and desperate situation of parents with very sick children.

For that reason, the Superjam ideals are misplaced and the money would be better spent on providing reality based auxiliary services for the parents of children with serious illnesses. Practical help, counselling and support would all be valuable and can be achieved without exploiting vulnerable people with superstitious and potentially dangerous nonsense.

Update 12 July.

This post has been updated as it incorrectly stated that the Paice family had experienced their own tragedy through childhood illness. I had confused the Sunflower Jam and the Sunflower Trust – the original recipients of benefits from the concerts. These are separate organisations – the Sunflower Jam, as I have stated, is benefiting the College of Medicine with this year’s income. The Sunflower Trust has as its central aim of providing “Spiritual Healing and Reiki as complementary therapies in particular but not exclusively within the National Health Service”.

On this theme…

13 Comments on Quack Aid – The Sunflower Jam

  1. The Sunflower arrangers support the College of Medicine.
    The CoM supports “Integrated Medicine”.
    IM intends integrating othodox (evidence-based and scientific) medicine with Alternative medical systems which are implausible, non-, pseudo-, or even anti- scientific, whose supporters, proponents and practitioners have been unable or unwilling to move on intellectually, and remain wedded to superstitious, outdated concepts which have no sense.

    It is a matter of great regret that Sunflower is not placing its funds at the dispersal of orthodox therapists, psychiatric services, carers, all of whom need all the help they can get in caring for these unfortunate patients.

    By organising a fundraiser along these lines they are diverting funds from caring systems which are effective. That is to be deprecated.

  2. This sentence needs help:

    Such people, who believe that can channel some some of spiritual energy to help treat illness, are obviously delusional.

  3. Hi Andy,

    Let me just clarify a slightly bigger picture with regard to the The Sunflower Jam. The sunflowerjam is trying to bring a Functional Medicine approach to our healthcare system, the system is fully accredited. The system uses Urine, Saliva, Blood, stool and Intolerance testing, all of the tests are FDA approved.
    The system uses a preventative approach from analyzing Endocrine Imbalances, Inflammatory, Detoxification and Intestinal Dysfunction’s.
    It works really well along side Orthodox Medicine for treating chronic deceases like Arthritis, Depression, High Blood pressure, IBS etc .
    The use of Targeted Nutrition, Exercise, Evidence Based Standardized Nutraceuticals and adaptogens.

    The Early detection of decease is crucial for its management. You have to teach people to manage there own health.

    For example a Functional Medicine approach to treating Arthritis
    Will look at: exercise patterns,food sensitivities, digestive function. Will use nutrients to help rebuild cartilage.
    so the patient will do a metabolic cleansing regime and alkalizing diet to help remove calcification in the joints medication and physical therapy or rest.

    Orthodox Medicine is incredible for Acute Care i.e. care accidents but this drug centered approach for mismanagement of lifestyle is stupid and just funds big Pharmaceutical companies.

    The Sunflowerjam supports Evidenced Based research but does not support the misappropriation of science for Profit.

    Regards

    The Sunflowerjam

    • Andy, someone appears to have posted a spoof reply from the Sunflowerjam.

      A joke is a joke but I’m sure the real Sunflowerjam (well meaning people no doubt) would be upset if you left this up here, it makes them look incredibly silly.

      • Would “Henry” please do us the courtesy of giving a clearer indication as to whether his posting is a spoof, heavy irony, or an authoratitive view of the Sunflowre arrangers.

    • Trying to gain credibility by using polysyllabic words, many of them meaningless, is an old woomonger trick.

      I think the people who claim to be able to channel/use spiritual energy should be treated in the same way as other people with delusions – for example people who claim to be in communication with men from outer space – as being mentally ill and in need of urgent medical treatment. These people are dangerous!

      Our society should be able to protect the vulnerable from these people. Holding a concert to raise money for them should be regarded as a crime.

      Keep up the good work Andy.

    • “For example a Functional Medicine approach to treating Arthritis
      Will look at: exercise patterns,food sensitivities, digestive function. Will use nutrients to help rebuild cartilage.
      so the patient will do a metabolic cleansing regime and alkalizing diet to help remove calcification in the joints medication and physical therapy or rest.”

      Utter, utter nonsense. If you believe this can help in anyway with athritis you are being misinformed by people with no medical understanding. Tragic for those you are aiming to help.

      As someone has already said. Show us your evidence if your organisation truly “supports Evidenced Based research”.

      I fear you are being duped into sending money to scam merchants who pray on the upset and misfortune of their patients in order to make money. Your donations are just going to treatments that are stupid and just fund the Big Alt Med industry.

      Jonathan

  4. The Sunflower Jam claim that the “Functional Medicine” system it supports uses “FDA approved” tests on urine, blood, etc. Oh come on! Pull the other one, it’s got bells on it! They clearly fail to understand the essential difference between a test that may have passed safety testing (i.e. not harming the test subject) and those tests which have been shown to be useful and discriminatory in the diagnosis of disease states. It then spouts the typical quackery nonsense that pervades the CAM business. It claims to support evidence based research – OK, please provide evidence to show that the particular forms of “medicine” they support have any benefits.

  5. How can you cleanse you metabolism? It’s a process not an organ or organ system (for which CAM cleansing and detox practices are equally ludicrous).

  6. PRESS RELEASE
    11TH July 2011

    HRH THE PRINCE OF WALES ATTENDS A PRE-CONCERT RECEPTION FOR THE SUNFLOWER JAM AND MAKES MUSIC WITH LEGENDS OF ROCK

    HRH The Prince of Wales took to the Royal Albert Hall stage on Friday evening when he met up with rock legends from the UK and USA to help raise awareness for a newly formed charity known as The Sunflower Jam.

    On arrival at the Royal Albert Hall, The Prince of Wales was met by Jacky Paice, founder of the Sunflower Jam and also Jeremy Irons who was the Master of Ceremonies for the event. They then escorted him to the main auditorium where he watched Deep Purple sound check “Smoke on the Water”. The Prince met with Deep Purple on stage along with Bill Bailey, who showed the Prince of Wales his 6 arm guitar and played him a tune on the cow bells.

    The Prince then attended a meet and greet prior to the main concert. Those in attendance included Deep Purple (Ian Paice, Ian Gillan, Don Airey, Steve Morse and back for one night only Jon Lord) Joe Bonamassa, Rick Wakeman, Newton Faulkner, and BAFTA actor Jeremy Irons.

    During a reception an intimate gathering of VIP guests were also introduced to The Prince prior to the main Sunflower Jam Concert

    The Sunflower Jam is a musical event which was developed into a charity earlier this year. The charity raises money for people who will benefit from the positive aspects that complementary therapies have to offer. The event was originally inspired by the children being treated in the University College London Hospital cancer ward, as they responded so positively to the complementary therapies offered there to help them cope with the negative side effects of their cancer treatments.

    In 2006 Jacky Paice (wife of Deep Purple band member Ian Paice) created the first ever Sunflower Jam which brings together people with a passion for music, both in the audience and on stage. This year the auction raised in excess of £150k for the Sunflower Jam Charity and included a lithograph donated from the Prince of Wales and a chance to stay at Jeremy Irons Castle in Skinereen, Southern Ireland.

    In the past monies have gone to The Sam Buxton Sunflower Healing Trust, the Holistic Cancer Support and Research Fund.

    For more information please visit: http://www.thesunflowerjam.com/

    Pictures are available from the Press Association

    For further information please contact
    Jackie Phillipson PR to The Sunflower Jam T 01202 896698 / 077406 11147 jackie@p-pr.co.uk
    or
    For more information regarding HRH Prince of Wales please contact Clarence House Press Office, 020 7024 5506

  7. If only they would write up these “positive results” in a recognised journal, we’d all use their metods and they would not be alternative any more.

    We need to know by what criterion the results were assessed, and how patients did who had TLC but not homeopathic remedies, hand waving, chakra realignment and the rest.

    We know placebo effects “work” (by the criterion of the patient feeling better). But why does Charles support “Alternative Care” systems? What is wrong with orthodox care(apart from the fact that it takes time and costs)?

  8. Naturalhealthcare rocks, apparently. The ANH’s summary of the fund-raiser states:

    One good cause that has been overlooked until now is natural healthcare: effective and potentially life changing for literally millions of people, it remains almost completely overlooked by the mainstream and consequently is starved of funds.

  9. “In the past monies have gone to ……..the Holistic Cancer Support and Research Fund.”

    Woooah! tell me more about those crazy guys.

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