Leading scientists join forces to support Welsh cancer charities.

Leading cancer researchers are once again pulling together to help raise funds to support cancer charities here in Wales.

Last year, during the height of the Covid-19 pandemic, the #Baton4Cancer campaign saw teams of scientists take on a series of challenges to support Welsh cancer charities. Driven by Dr Alan Parker and his colleagues at Cardiff University, and supported by the Wales Cancer Partnership, teams of researchers designed and completed their own fundraising initiatives and helped to raise over £11,000.

The #Baton4Cancer challenge returns this April, and promises to be bigger and better than before. Research teams are once again encouraged to create and take on a challenge whilst fundraising for the cancer research charity of their choice (before passing the baton on to another team to follow suit). With many teams already setting themselves challenges and goals for the months ahead, Cancer Research Wales look forward to supporting each team as they embark on their journey to support world-class research.

Kicking things off is Team TMEG, who will be taking on their own challenge, focusing specifically on the number 33 – the sum (in miles) of the distance between each of their homes, to their work-place. Given the ongoing covid-19 restrictions, this number was chosen as it represents the distance they would need to physically overcome, to be together in one place. Each member of the team has created a unique yet personal challenge relating to the number 33.

Team-leader Andreia de Almeida will be working out for at least 33 minutes, for 33 consecutive days. Andreia’s colleague Matt will be cycling 33 miles every day, and Professor Rachel Errington is planning on walking 3.3km every morning, to throw 33 rocks into the sea, whilst watching 33 sunrises. You can visit their fundraising page here.

Our researchers are more familiar with hitting the headlines for their crucial discoveries into cancer prevention, diagnosis and treatment, but over the coming months they will be adding an extra element to their daily routines, as they hope to raise as much as they can to support the future of cancer research here in Wales.

Dr Alan Parker of Cardiff University said:

“We recognise how difficult these times are for the charity sector and are keen to do our bit and raise much-needed funds for these fantastic charities.”

“In 2020 we came up with the ‘Baton4Cancer’ initiative, so we can give back to the fundraisers who work so hard to support our work. The idea is that we take the baton from the fundraisers and run researcher-led fundraising activities for those charities. I am so pleased with the way the teams responded in 2020 and now we look forward to even greater achievements in 2021 and beyond!”

Last year we saw teams, cycling, running, walking, bouncing and yoga’ing, all to raise vital funds and awareness to support the charities playing a key role in delivering life-saving research here in Wales.

There has never been a greater need for research. Every 30 minutes, someone in Wales is diagnosed with cancer, and each week 171 families in Wales lose a loved one to cancer. Although survival rates are improving, nearly 9,000 lives are lost annually here in Wales.

Over the past few months, like many charities, Cancer Research Wales has had to adapt quickly to this crisis, as the devastating impact of the Covid-19 pandemic is being felt across the World. Today’s research is tomorrow’s health, and our researchers will be needed more than ever before to make up for lost time in the fight against cancer. Cancer Research Wales will be there to ensure they are supported as they continue to make a difference for cancer patients across Wales.

We would like to take this opportunity to thank each and every cancer researcher for all that they have done, and continue to do, for cancer patients here in Wales and across the world.

You can find out more about the #baton4cancer initiative via the Wales Cancer Research Centre’s website, or via the official Twitter page.

If you would like to set up your own #baton4cancer fundraising challenge, please contact Cancer Research Wales via crw@wales.nhs.uk.