As Preston gears up for its weekend of Race for Life events, one family speaks about its mission to raise awareness of reducing the risk of cancer and spotting the signs early.
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Two sisters are preparing to take on Race for Life to help raise vital funds to support Cancer Research UK - inspired by their mum who is a health awareness nurse for the charity.
Anna and Lucy Dewhurst, of Broughton, plan to take on Race for Life 5k at Moor Park on Sunday June 16, after hearing about the valuable work done by their mum Louise, 49, who works on the North West Cancer Awareness Roadshow.
The roadshow - which tours towns and cities in the North West giving out information about how to spot cancer symptoms early – will be in Preston next week.
Louise and the team will be at Preston Flag Market on Wednesday May 16 and Friday May 18 between 10am and 4pm where they will talk to visitors about how to help reduce the risk of cancer by making positive health changes like ditching the cigarettes or cutting down on alcohol.
Anna, 20, who is at Edge Hill University studying Early Years Education, says: “I can’t wait to take part in Race for Life.
“Mum will be working away with the roadshow that weekend but we wanted to do something to support her work and all the people whose lives are affected by cancer.
“It’s a great day out and we know how important the charity’s work is. Lucy, 15, and I have done some training and plan to do a bit more before the big day so that we can run most of the way.”
Louise, who has worked for CRUK as a cancer awareness nurse for three years, says: “Sadly most people know someone who has been touched by cancer so I’m really proud of the girls for taking on Race for Life and helping to raise vital funds for Cancer Research UK.
“I hope they can inspire more ladies to take part.
“My work with the charity involves talking to members of the public and giving out information about how to spot cancer sooner and offering suggestions about how they can make healthy lifestyle changes to help stack their odds against cancer.
“I’d like to send a huge thank you to everyone in Preston who has taken part in Race for Life or sponsored a friend.
“Money raised through Race for Life is helping to drive research to help beat over 200 different types of cancer - so every person and penny raised counts.”
Around 700 people are diagnosed with cancer in Preston every year and around 330 people die from cancer in Preston every year.
But experts estimate around four in 10 cases of cancer could be prevented in the UK, largely through healthier lifestyles.
Last year Louise and her colleagues saw around 7,747 people visit the North West Cancer Awareness Roadshow and measured 673 waists, took 896 Body Mass Index (BMI) tests and carried out 250 Smokerlyzer tests.
Since the roadshow began in 2006, in partnership with Marie Keating Foundation, more than 600,000 people have visited.
Louise and the Cancer Research UK nurses will give out information in Preston about how to help spot cancer early – when it is more likely to be treated successfully - and there is an on-board private room to discuss any cancer concerns.
The nurses will also encourage people to go to their GP with any concerns.
Picking cancer up at an earlier stage means treatment is more likely to be successful.
Louise says: “The roadshow is a chance for us to talk to people about steps they can take to help reduce their risk of cancer through changes like stopping smoking, reducing alcohol intake or being more active.
“As well as leaflets we have lots of props so visitors can handle a tar jar to see the effect smoking 10 cigarettes a day for a year or hold specially created “fat lumps” to show just how much difference losing 1lb or 5lbs makes.
“We can also carry out Smokerlyzer tests to show how much carbon monoxide is in someone’s breath - and body mass index (BMI) tests to show someone if they are in a healthy weight range.”
One way to be more active – and raise funds for Cancer Research UK – is to sign up for a Race for Life event which sees women run, jog or walk 5k, a 5k obstacle course or a 10k course.
This will give women a goal to aim for and encourages them to be more active in the build up to the event whether it’s getting off the bus a stop earlier to increase the amount they walk or going for a practice jogs around the park.
Louise adds: “Taking part in an event like Race for Life is a great way to motivate yourself to get moving.
“Being more active longer-term can help people keep a healthy weight, which reduces the risk of 13 different types of cancer.
“It can seem a challenge to become more active for many people at first. Some of us spend our lives transferring from seat to seat - whether that’s driving to work, sitting at a desk or enjoying a boxset on the sofa.
“But adopting small lifestyle changes – like taking the stairs or going for a stroll at lunchtime - can quickly up the step count.
“Adding your favourite music or walking to a beauty spot can be another good incentive to get moving.
“I hope lots of women and children in Preston will sign up and help us to beat cancer sooner.”
Cancer Research UK’s Race for Life, in partnership with Tesco, is a women-only series of 5k, 10k, Pretty Muddy, Half Marathon and Hiking events.
In Preston, women of all ages and abilities can take part in Race for Life Pretty Muddy at Moor Park on Saturday June 15 or 5k and 10k options at the same venue on Sunday June 16.
Preston is also hosting its first Pretty Muddy Kids on June 15.
To enter Race for Life today go to http://www.raceforlife.org or call 0300 123 0770.