Paisley cancer scientists leading the way in fundraising walk


Two Paisley cancer scientists are getting ready to step up for Cancer Research UK’s latest fundraising campaign.

Lynn McGarry and Erin Cumming, along with their dogs Archie and BJ, are taking part in Walk All Over Cancer.

The fundraising campaign is asking people to get sponsored to walk 10,000 steps every day in March and help support the charity’s life-saving mission.

As cancer scientists, Lynn and Erin, who work together at the Cancer Research UK Beatson Institute in Glasgow, know first-hand just how important new breakthroughs are to help more people survive the disease.

Lynn, 57, a principal scientific officer at the Cancer Research UK Beatson Institute, provides technical expertise and support on techniques including screening and imaging to help her fellow scientists to progress their research.

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She said: “What we’re trying to do is find out what’s going to kill a cancer cell, and not a normal cell, so that we can develop better, kinder treatments for cancer.

“One of the things I work on is helping our teams to image cancer cells that are grown into a structure similar to how they would grow in the body. We want to find out what kills the cancer cells within these structures, so that we can use this information to develop new treatments.”

PhD student Erin, 28, is studying a specific protein which is present at high levels in some patients with bowel cancer.

She explained: “This protein is known for being involved in the development of the kidneys when an embryo is growing in the womb. But it’s also been found to be present in high levels in some people with bowel cancer who don’t respond as well to treatment as other patients.

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“The hope is, if we can understand how this protein helps cancer cells move and spread, we might be able to target it with treatments that could help more people survive bowel cancer for longer.”

Cancer Research UK does life-saving research
Cancer Research UK’s latest fundraiser is Walk All Over Cancer

Together with whippet Archie, aged four, and Jack Russell, BJ, aged 15, Lynn and Erin took to the tree-lined pathways of Barshaw Park to encourage Buddies to sign up to Walk All Over Cancer this March.

Lynn said: “This past year proves, more than any other, the value of research and what can be achieved together. Just like science is our route out of the pandemic, science is our route to beating cancer.

“From proving the link between smoking and cancer to laying the foundations for modern radiotherapy – Cancer Research UK scientists have been at the forefront of cancer research for 120 years.

“And we’re not stopping now – so we hope people in Paisley will pull on their walking shoes and help us to keep pushing forward.”

Erin added: “We hope people will follow in our footsteps and Walk All Over Cancer this March. Everyone can go at their own pace and build the steps into their day-to-day routine, whether they walk on their own or with family and friends.”

In Scotland, around 33,200 people are diagnosed with cancer every year. But, thanks to research more people than ever across the UK are surviving their cancer for 10 years or more.

Victoria Steven, Cancer Research UK’s spokesperson for Scotland, said: “Every day we see the benefits of research we’ve previously funded being realized, helping people live longer and healthier lives.

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“So as we mark our 20th anniversary, we want to say a heartfelt thank you to our scientists like Lynn and Erin, and people across Paisley for their incredible commitment to the cause.

“1 in 2 of us will get cancer in our lifetime, and so we will never stop striving to create better treatments for tomorrow. That’s why we need everyone to step up to Walk All Over Cancer.

“It’s a safe and simple way to show support during these challenging times and a great way for homeworkers to increase their daily step count.”

Ten thousand steps is equal to about five miles, based on the average person’s strides, so by the end of March participants will have clocked up more than 150 miles.

To sign up and receive a free fundraising pack and t-shirt, go to cruk.org/walkallover.

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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