Race for Life: More than two thousand people take part in Cancer Research UK's event at Stormont

More than two thousand people have taken part in Cancer Research UK’s annual Race for Life in the grounds of the Stormont Estate in Belfast.

Now in its 30th year, the runners, walkers and joggers raised a whopping £122,210 – every pound going towards scientific research to find new ways to prevent, diagnose and treat cancer and save more lives.

Father of two Kieran Drinkwater, from Lisburn, who overcame skin cancer was chosen to sound the horn at the event.

He was joined by his daughters, six-year-old Eliza, and three-year-old Ivy at the start line.

He used the moment to encourage others to seek medical advice if they’re worried or notice any changes or discoloration.

He said: “Don’t waste time. If you are concerned you can go on the NHS website and see what to look out for. I would say get it checked, don’t leave it because if you don’t want it to become something bigger, something that is treatable, you can catch it quick enough, so please just go and get it checked.”

Kieran, who is now in remission, was diagnosed with malignant melanoma in March 2021 after an online quiz with family to relieve the isolation of lockdown proved life-saving.

During one of these get-togethers in December 2020, his mum first remarked on the mole on his forehead, prompting him later to contact his doctor. 

He said: “I have fair skin so I was never a sun worshipper. I always put a high factor sun cream on unless I was out doing a bit of gardening and forgot. I would never have dreamt that I could get skin cancer.  

“It’s thanks to advances in research and treatments that I’m here and can enjoy more special moments with my family and friends. My experience has shown me why research is so important”.

Every year around 10,000 people are diagnosed with cancer in Northern Ireland and one in two people in the UK born after 1960 will get cancer in their lifetime.

Ruth Boyd is Cancer Research UK’s senior research nurse in Belfast.

She said: “We are working with a fabulous team of people who are passionate about getting research into our hospitals and helping and supporting patients throughout their cancer research journey.”

She added: “We can offer them clinical trials and hope and progress and make a better future”.

Jean Walsh, Cancer Research UK’s spokeswoman in Northern Ireland, said: “We are incredibly grateful to everyone who took part in Race for Life Belfast.

“Life-saving research is being funded right now thanks to our supporters who fundraise. The atmosphere at Race for Life Belfast was hugely moving - full of emotion, courage, tears and laughter as people celebrated the lives of those dear to them who have survived cancer and remembered loved ones lost to the disease.”  

Cancer Research UK’s Race for Life raises funds for world-class research to help beat 200 types of cancer – including bowel cancer, breast cancer, prostate cancer, lung, testicular cancer, brain cancer, children’s cancers and leukaemia.      

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