A YOUNG woman who lost her mother to a brain tumour has helped launch a major sponsorship deal for Cancer Research.
Vicky Woodward, 22, told of her mother Angela’s experiences in order to publicise a link-up with Tesco which will see the supermarket chain raise £10 million to support projects across the UK, including two in Edinburgh.
The tourism student from East Linton, East Lothian, was 18 when Angela suffered at stroke at Knox Academy, where she worked as an administrator.
Ms Woodward said: “She was fit and healthy, just an average 42-year-old woman. She was never ill, never unwell. She actually had a stroke at work, at her desk, and she got taken to hospital and found out she had a brain tumour. It affected her from then on very, very quickly.”
Her mother was admitted to the Western General after falling ill in October 2007 and had an operation to remove the tumour, but was soon told it had spread. She underwent chemotherapy and radiotherapy, but doctors were unable to cure her.
Ms Woodward said: “It’s just like watching your best friend disappear. She just became this frail woman we almost didn’t recognise.”
Angela passed away seven months after first falling ill.
After Angela’s death, the family went to receive an accountancy degree that had been awarded posthumously by Napier University, one she had been close to completing when she became ill.
Ms Woodward said: “We were all very moved that Napier decided to honour mum with her degree anyway, and my decision to go to university was influenced by the fact that my mum thought it was very important.
“However, knowing that my mother will never see me graduate, get married or ever meet any grandchildren makes me feel so angry.”
Ms Woodward first supported Cancer Research UK in 2010 by taking part in the Race for Life, and is now one of the faces of the charity as it launches its link-up with Tesco.
One of the projects supported by the retailer is a survey showing that many Scots fail to recognise common cancer symptoms, resulting in late diagnosis.
Cancer Research UK spokeswoman for Scotland Linda Summerhayes said: “We’re delighted to have Vicky help launch our charity of the year partnership with Tesco. If patients are diagnosed when cancer is still in its early stages, before it has had a chance to spread to other parts of the body, treatment is more likely to be successful.
“Our new report shows how much more we have to do to raise awareness.”
Recognising early signs to save lives
THE fundraising agreement will see Tesco raise around £10 million to fund 32 early diagnosis research projects. Among them will be work with researchers at Edinburgh University who are finding ways to help people recognise the signs of skin cancer earlier by using web-based images.
Also taking place will be a study called Embrace, which aims to help women who have inherited an increased risk of developing cancer because they carry faulty BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes.
By monitoring these women, researchers hope to identify other genes as well as lifestyle and environmental factors that could increase the risk of developing cancer.
The sponsorship has also funded a new report called Delay Kills, which shows that eight out of ten Scots asked to list possible warning signs and symptoms of cancer failed to mention coughing or problems with bowels or bladder.
Also on the list of commonly-overlooked symptoms were pain, bleeding and mole changes.