Edinburgh student helps fund cancer research in memory of mum who died on her birthday

An Edinburgh student has raised more than £3,900 to help Worldwide Cancer Research in memory of her mother

Tuesday, 25th May 2021, 9:54 am

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Alex Burns was joined by her best friend Tara Haworth as they completed a 100km walking challenge along the Union Canal at the beginning of May.

The 21-year-old lost her mum three years ago, following a breast cancer diagnosis. Anne Burns, mother of two, was initially diagnosed with breast cancer in 2008 and underwent gruelling treatment but was told the cancer had returned in 2014.

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Anne Burns passed away on her birthday.

Alex was inspired by her mum’s desire to raise money for life-saving research, and to bring together those who loved her to do something positive.

Speaking about coping with losing her mum, Alex said: “Four years after her second diagnosis in 2014, my mum passed away on March 25, 2018, which was also her birthday. It’s been really difficult since then, and I’ve not really talked about it much.”

“Although cancer is a part of her story, she is better remembered for the love and laughter she brought to everyone in her life. People didn’t really know what to say to me and my sister when mum passed away but being able to celebrate her memory three years on has brought together all the people that loved her and helped us do something positive to remember her.”

Alex Burns and her later mother, Anne.

Alex and Tara met during their first year at university and have had a bond ever since. The girls set off at 4am from Edinburgh Quay and reached their destination at The Falkirk Wheel at around midnight.

When talking about choosing to support the charity, Alex said: “Supporting a local charity like Worldwide Cancer Research, and particularly supporting the funding of research into new cancer cures, was something that my mum would have loved.

“When my mum was at the end of her journey, she wanted to make sure there were new avenues to explore and bring hope to others who might find themselves in the same position as her.

Alex added: “My mum loved raising money for cancer research, and I wanted to honour that by doing something I think she’d be proud of.”

Alex and Tara made the trek to held find a cure for cancer

Since it was established in 1979, Edinburgh-based UK charity Worldwide Cancer Research has funded over £200million of research in over 30 countries to start new cancer cures.

This year, 16 institutes, in 15 cities across eight countries have now received £3.2m of funding – three of which are UK-based – to fund research into 11 different cancer types, as well as fundamental research.

Dr Helen Rippon, Chief Executive at Worldwide Cancer Research said: “Breast cancer affects a huge number of people right across the world. By funding more discovery research, we can continue to start cancer cures and save more lives in the future.

“We are so grateful to Alex and Tara for their amazing fundraising efforts and for helping us continue to make our ground-breaking research possible. Together, with the help of Cure starters like them, we can end cancer.”

To support Alex’s fundraising, go to: https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/alexandra-burns42

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