Edinburgh scientist urges runners to back lifesaving cancer research as leading charity predicts £300m drop in funding over next 3 years due to Covid

An Edinburgh scientist is urging people to back life-saving research by signing up to ‘Race for Life at Home,’ with a leading cancer charity predicting a staggering £300 million drop in income over the next three years due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

By Jamie McKenzie
Tuesday, 20th April 2021, 12:33 pm

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Dr Noor Gammoh, a researcher at the Cancer Research UK Edinburgh Centre, will join thousands of people from across the UK who have all vowed to run, walk or jog 5K either alone or in small, socially distanced groups this April and raise money for life-saving research.

People can visit raceforlife.org to sign up to Race for Life at Home for £5 then receive a race pack which includes a medal. Money raised will help scientists find new ways to prevent, diagnose and treat cancer.

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Edinburgh scientist Dr Noor Gammoh is encouraging people across Edinburgh to Race for Life at Home to fund life-saving research like hers.  Pic: Lesley Martin.

Cancer Research UK is predicting a huge £300 million drop in income caused by Covid-19 over the next three years which could put future medical breakthroughs at risk.  

All 400 mass-participation Race for Life events across the UK were cancelled last year to protect the country’s health during the pandemic.

And the charity’s much-loved events, which were scheduled for this spring and early summer, have also now been postponed. This includes the Race for Life 5K and 10K, which had been due to take place at Holyrood Park on Sunday, June 20. 

But Dr Gammoh knows exactly how vital it is to keep raising funds. Her research is exploring the inner workings of the cell’s waste disposal and recycling system, and how that process helps brain tumours grow. By targeting this process, known as autophagy, Dr Gammoh hopes to identify kinder, more effective treatments for brain tumours.  

She said: “Covid-19 has slowed me and my colleagues down, but we have been determined to keep our experiments going as much as we can.

 “It’s been a very challenging year but we are all trying our best to keep our research going given these difficult circumstances. My team and I need your support to keep making progress towards new treatments for people affected by brain tumours.

 “Even though our ability to meet family and friends is limited at the moment, we can unite to support life-saving research. I’d encourage everyone across Edinburgh to grab their trainers and join me for Race for Life at Home this spring.”

Dr Gammoh came to Edinburgh from Jordan in 2000 to study biological sciences at Edinburgh University. She returned to the city from New York in 2015, where she first began to study brain tumours. Not long after she started her research in the US, a close friend’s mother was diagnosed with glioblastoma, giving her personal insight into the effects of the disease.

She continued: “Many of us are either directly affected by cancer or know people struggling with it. A couple of years ago, my cousin passed away from an aggressive cancer and currently a close colleague has been diagnosed with one. Seeing the impact of cancer on people’s lives brought home to me the importance of biomedical research. We urgently need to find new treatments for cancers that are difficult to treat in order to improve survival.

“I’m more determined than ever to keep testing my ideas in the lab, moving us closer to these new treatments. By signing up to Race for Life at Home, you’ll be supporting vital research like mine, which brings hope to people living with brain tumours in Scotland.”

Cancer Research UK’s Race for Life, in partnership with Tesco, is an inspiring series of 3K, 5K, 10K, Pretty Muddy and Pretty Muddy Kids events which raise millions of pounds every year to help beat cancer by funding crucial research.  

A live broadcast on the Cancer Research UK Race for Life Facebook and Race for Life Instagram pages on Saturday, April 24 will include an energiser from a fitness expert as well as inspirational messages of support from people who have been through cancer. Participants are then invited to run, walk or jog 5K. Organisers are also inviting participants to share photos and videos on social media using the hashtag #RaceatHome 

Graeme Sneddon, Cancer Research UK’s spokesperson for Scotland, said: “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.  

“Even though we have to Race for Life differently this spring, nothing is going to stop us running, walking or jogging 5K to raise money to help beat cancer. That’s why we need as many people as possible across Edinburgh to sign up to Race for Life at Home this April, to stand united and do something extraordinary to help beat cancer.

“We’re constantly monitoring the COVID-19 situation and are working hard to move our mass participation Race for Life events to the autumn and to make sure they can go ahead safely and with all necessary COVID-19 guidelines in place.

“We’d love to invite as many people as possible to Race for Life at Home this spring, then physically come together in the autumn to join us for Race for Life Edinburgh.”

The Race for Life 5K and 10K, which are open to all ages and abilities, have been rescheduled for this autumn and are now due to take place at Holyrood Park on Sunday, October 10. 

Sign up to Race for Life at Home this April HERE or call 0300 123 0770.

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