Cancer Research UK announces Race for Life dates for Portsmouth, Southampton and Winchester events as supporters urged to join virtual efforts

CHARITY supporters are urging people to unite against cancer and raise funds through virtual Race for Life as in-person events are postponed.

Monday, 22nd March 2021, 5:23 pm
Pictured is: The Start of the Race For Life in Portsmouth in 2019. Picture: Keith Woodland (070719-64)

Determined fundraisers will carry on the fight against the disease through Race for Life at Home ahead of the proposed date for the event in October.

Organisers Cancer Research UK have postponed events for the spring and early summer to protect people’s health, with Portsmouth’s Race For Life and Pretty Muddy to take place on October 30 and 31.

Undeterred supporters are vowing to raise funds by completing their own Race for Life 5K in their nearest green space in April.

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Joe Batley (23) from Gosport, has overcome cancer and is urging people to join the Race for Life. Picture: Sarah Standing (050520-1382)

Jenny Makin, Cancer Research UK’s spokesperson for Hampshire, said: ‘Even whilst we’re still apart, we can unite against cancer.

‘There are a million reasons to Race for Life at Home, to help save lives, for those who have had vital treatment delayed or just for a reason to get off the sofa. We want people to run, walk or jog 5K and raise money for life-saving research.

‘The truth is Covid-19 has slowed us down. But we will never stop and we are absolutely determined to continue to create better cancer treatments for tomorrow. But we can’t do it alone.’

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Pictured is: Just some of the competitors before the start of the Race for Life in 2019. Picture: Keith Woodland (070719-50)

Cancer Research UK is predicting a staggering £300m drop in income over the next three years which could put future medical breakthroughs at risk.

Professional rugby player Joe Batley was diagnosed with Hodgkins lymphoma aged just 21, and is urging people to get behind the charity.

Gosport-born Joe, now 24, said: ‘Normally when you hear cancer, everyone thinks the worst.

‘It was the toughest thing I have ever had to go through but the support I had from my family and the staff I had at Bristol Royal Infirmary was incredible.’

Worcester Warriors star Joe was put onto a ward with lots of older people when he went for his first chemotherapy session, but a nurse noticed he felt out of place and moved him to a special teenager and young people’s ward.

Joe said: ‘It made me not feel so alone or that I was an anomaly. The funding that they get is not only to fight the disease off, but it gives you these facilities that, for people that have unfortunately got it, their time fighting it is the best it can be.

‘Everyone’s experienced cancer in different ways. Either personally they have gone through it or had a parent, grandparent, brother, sister, son or daughter it’s affected.

‘Obviously we haven’t got a cure, so we need to keep united against the disease and get as much money, research and support towards that to hopefully keep reducing the amount of people who get it and die from it.’

Every year around 52,100 people are diagnosed with cancer in the South East and one in two people in the UK born after 1960 will get cancer in their lifetime.

But the good news is more people are surviving the disease now than ever before as cancer survival in the UK has doubled since the early 1970s.

As well as the Portsmouth event, new dates have now been confirmed for several Race for Life events in Hampshire.

This includes Southampton on September 18 and Winchester on August 29, with the Basingstoke dates to be announced shortly.

Another Cancer Research UK event hit hard by the pandemic is the 24-hour Relay for Life which is held at the Mountbatten Centre in Hilsea.

After hosting a virtual event last year, the organisers have planned for each eventuality, with the in-person event provisionally booked for July 17 and 18.

Jayne Bowater, one of the organisers, said: ‘From our point of view, the past 12 months have been horrendous because we haven’t been able to do any face to face fundraising.

‘Last year we did a virtual event which was a lot of fun but it’s not the same.’

To mark the 25th anniversary of this special fundraising event, the group hopes to raise as much as possible and get together in person if it is safe to do so.

Jayne added: ‘The reason why myself and the committee do what we do is because we want kinder treatments, we want to see more people surviving cancer.

‘We can all share a story about cancer. It’s devastating, not just for Cancer Research UK but for all charities. Every penny we raise means there’s more research. If we can’t find a cure, we want to buy people as much time with their families as possible.

Jayne’s mum was diagnosed with cancer in 2004, and will be turning 85 this year.

Jayne said: ‘She’s my reason for fundraising because without the research and all the treatment she’s had, she wouldn’t be here today. I feel as though I’m giving something back if I can raise some money.’

Visit cancerresearchuk.org/get-involved/find-an-event to take part in any of the above events and raise funds for Cancer Research UK.

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