Race for Life Edinburgh: Four-year-old Flora Gentleman, who battled cancer, cheers on runners in Holyrood Park
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Four-year-old Flora Gentleman, from Aberlady, was guest of honour at Race for Life Edinburgh in Holyrood Park – and she sounded the start horn to get the event which 1,245 people took part in underway.
More than £135,273 was raised for Cancer Research UK, vital funds which will enable scientists to find new ways to prevent, diagnose and treat cancer- helping to save more lives.
It was a special day for Flora who stood at the start line to cheer on participants along with her parents, Stephanie Kent and Jamie Gentleman.
In April 2021, Flora was diagnosed with neuroblastoma, a rare cancer that affects children, mostly under the age of five. She is today in remission after successful NHS treatment and is taking part in a clinical trial in New York, aimed at preventing the cancer from returning. Earlier this year, Flora received a Cancer Research UK for Children & Young People star award in recognition of the bravery she has shown during treatment.
Flora’s mum, Stephanie, 31, said: “Flora has adapted and coped with everything cancer has thrown at her.
“She is our shining star and hero. But nothing can prepare you for hearing that your child has cancer. It felt like our whole world had fallen apart and it’s been a long road.
“We’re in a good position now as there is no evidence of cancer in her body but the fear that will always be with us is that the cancer could come back. That’s not going to disappear but Flora is doing well.
“To look at Flora now, you wouldn’t think she’s been through so much. We’re proud to launch Race for Life Edinburgh for Flora and on behalf of every single person in Scotland with cancer.”
Cancer Research UK’s Race for Life, in partnership with headline sponsor Standard Life, part of Phoenix Group, 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.
This is the 30th year of Race for Life and all participants received an exclusive medal to mark the milestone.
Breast cancer survivor Carolyn Aitken, 50, who was successfully treated for the disease in 2015 was part of Rock Choir who performed at Race for Life Edinburgh. They celebrated 30 years of the much-loved event series by transporting the crowds back to the 1990s with a selection of hits from that decade including the 1994 hit, “Dreams” by The Cranberries. Talented dancers from KS Dance Academy and Edinburgh Dance Academy were also out on the course entertaining runners.
Participants included nurses Keira O’Donnell, 26, and Jenny MacFarlane, 24, who both work at the Edinburgh Royal Infirmary. Dressed in pink surgical scrubs, the signs on their backs said: “I race for life for my patients.”
Sandra Noble, a nurse at St John’s Hospital, Livingston took part in the event with a team of staff from the ward where she works, in memory of John Noble who died aged 64 from bladder cancer in December 2018.
Now organisers of Race for Life Edinburgh are sending a heartfelt message of thanks to everyone who put their best feet forward as well as their supporters. And they’re appealing for people to make every step count by paying in sponsorship money as soon as possible.
Lisa Adams, Cancer Research UK’s spokeswoman in Scotland, said: “We are incredibly grateful to everyone who took part in Race for Life Edinburgh.
“Life-saving research is being funded right now thanks to our supporters who fundraise. The atmosphere at Race for Life Edinburgh was hugely moving - full of emotion, courage, tears and laughter as people celebrated the lives of those dear to them who have survived cancer and remembered loved ones lost to the disease.
“Now we’re asking everyone who took part to return the money they’re raised as soon as possible. Funds raised - whether it’s £10 or £100 - will help scientists find new ways to prevent, diagnose and treat cancer, helping save more lives.”
To enter, visit raceforlife.org