PEOPLE across Worcestershire are being urged to unite with some of the brightest stars from TV, radio and comedy to Stand Up To Cancer this autumn.
A host of familiar faces are sharing their personal cancer experiences to launch the joint fundraising campaign from Cancer Research UK and Channel 4.
They include new Great British Bake Off host, Alison Hammond, comedian and TV host, Adam Hills, radio presenter, Jordan North, Bridgerton actress Kathryn Drysdale, actor Kadiff Kirwan and Derry Girls actress Siobhan McSweeney.
All have close friends and loved ones who have been affected by cancer and, together, they are urging people across the region to raise money to help make the next research breakthrough happen.
Gym bunnies and sofa surfers alike are being asked to flex their fundraising muscles by getting sponsored to do 100 squats every day throughout November. By the end of the 30-day fitness challenge, participants will have completed a total of 3,000 squats to help power life-saving research.
Alternatively, less energetic folk can choose to donate, raise money in their own way, or pick from a host of fun-filled ideas with a free fundraising pack available online for inspiration and support.
In the West Midlands and Worcestershire region, around 33,800 people are diagnosed with cancer every year.* Stand Up To Cancer helps to take breakthroughs from the lab and accelerate them into new treatments that could make a real difference to people with cancer in the region and across the UK.
Importance of research
Adam Hills said: “I’m standing up to cancer for my best friend Alex, who was a comedian, for my friend Claire, who was an actor, for my other friend Sean – who we all know – who was a comedian and for my dad. I lost them all to cancer so, I’m going to stand up for all of them.
“Thanks to donations to Stand Up To Cancer, researchers are developing a molecule that can supercharge the immune system to attack tumours so we can forge a new approach to treat cancer. Will you help make the next breakthrough happen?”
BBC Radio 1 presenter Jordan North shared how his brother’s cancer experience is the driving force behind his support for the campaign. He said: “I’m standing up, because – like many people watching this – members of my family have had cancer, it’s really affected us.
“My mum had breast cancer and, throughout most of his childhood, my youngest brother, Bradley, had osteosarcoma, which was a tumour in his knee, and it was just the worst. No child should ever have to go through what he went through, and what loads of children are going through right now.”
But sadly, for some of the stars, it’s losing a loved one that lies behind their commitment to the cause.
Actor Kadiff Kirwan said: “I’m standing up because of my mum, who I recently lost to pancreatic cancer. She was the best mum in the world and I’m standing up to make sure that more people can keep hold of their mums. So whatever you can do, please donate.”
Stand Up To Cancer is helping to transform the landscape of cancer therapy. Since its launch in 2012, the campaign has raised more than £93 million, funding 64 clinical trials and research projects involving more than 13,000 cancer patients.
This includes the CONFIRM trial that tested an immunotherapy drug, nivolumab, for the treatment of mesothelioma when initial chemotherapy has failed.
Mesothelioma is a type of cancer that usually starts in the tissue around the lungs, often caused by asbestos exposure, and it can be very difficult to treat.
The trial found that nivolumab boosts the immune system to find and destroy cancer cells, giving people more time with their loved ones. This drug is now used in the NHS to treat mesothelioma.
Cancer Research UK spokesperson in Worcestershire, Paula Young, said: “All of the celebrities involved in the campaign have seen the devastating impact that cancer can have on loved ones. We’re grateful to them for sharing their personal experiences to help inspire more support, so our researchers can keep making new discoveries.
“One-in-two of us will get cancer in our lifetime, but all of us can help beat it. That’s why we’re asking everyone to Stand Up To Cancer this autumn. Whether it’s choosing to donate, fundraise, or tackle the highs and lows of our squats challenge, if thousands of us take a stand we’ll speed up the progress of vital research – meaning more people live longer, better lives, free from the fear of cancer.”
The Stand Up To Cancer campaign will continue throughout October, with a collection of special programming airing on Channel 4 later in the month and culminating in a night of live television on Friday November 3
Get involved at su2c.org.uk