A woman who survived cancer as a Dundee student is encouraging more people than ever to take part in fundraising efforts after coronavirus wiped out most of 2020’s events.
Sara Wilson, who was diagnosed with Hodgkin Lymphoma- a cancer of the white blood cells – while studying at Abertay University, knows all too well the devastating effects cancer has on families.
Now 26, Sara was diagnosed in 2014, just before her 21st birthday.
She survived the disease but it was the second time cancer had devastated her family, as her dad died of skin cancer on Boxing Day 2008, aged just 47.
Sara said: “Cancer scares me as it has taken away so much from my family.
“It broke my heart when my dad died.
“Dad knew he was going to die and worried about telling me when I was studying for my exams but losing Dad spurred me on.
“I was determined to pass my exams, to go on and achieve everything I could in life that would have made Dad proud. That’s why it felt unfair so soon afterwards when I found myself listening to a doctor telling me that I had cancer.”
Originally from Dunfermline and now living in Glasgow, Sara has devoted her spare time to fundraising and raising awareness for Cancer Research UK.
Just months after she finished her 12th and final round of chemotherapy, she completed the Glasgow half marathon.
She has also taken part in Race for Life events in aid of Cancer Research and is backing the charity’s bid to encourage people to sign up this year, after the 2020 events had to be cancelled.
The popular races, including those in Dundee and Kirkcaldy, have been adapted to allow social distancing measures and hand sanitiser will be provided.
Organisers hope not only will this year’s races be able to go ahead, but they can make up for funds lost by last year’s cancellations, as the charity is predicting a £300 million drop in income in the next three years.
Lisa Adams, Cancer Research UK spokeswoman in Scotland, said: “All 400 mass-participation Race for Life events across the UK were cancelled last year to protect the country’s health during the Covid-19 pandemic so this year, more than ever, we need people to come together and help beat the disease.
“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.
“Every step our scientists take towards beating cancer relies on our supporters. Our Race for Life events are open to all and we’re sending a heart-felt message to everyone to come together in 2021. As always at our events, the health and safety of participants, staff and volunteers is our top priority.
“It may be that events look a little different this year but we are working proactively with our venues and suppliers to deliver a socially distanced but great experience.”
Entries are now open for events in Kirkcaldy on June 13 and Dundee on June 20.
Races include a 10k, 5k, 3k and Pretty Muddy obstacle course and can be booked at raceforlife.cancerresearchuk.org/find-an-event