28 women go Au Naturel to fight cancer
Women from around the UK, including model Nell McAndrew, stripped bare to launch Cancer Research UK’s Race for Life 2008 in chilly London. United by their individual cancer experiences, the women braved the cold to take part in a naked training session to highlight that every woman in the UK is invited to take part in the Race for Life series, whatever their age, shape, size and fitness level.
All the women who took part, including Nell, have their own connection to cancer, with the group including cancer nurses, survivors of the disease and those with close relatives who have been affected by cancer.
The training event, which took place in London’s Regents Park in temperatures a little above freezing, saw the participants’ blushes only covered by body-painted event running numbers and pink commemorative back signs. Nell, 34, took the group through its paces ahead of the Race for Life 2008 series that runs from the beginning of May until the end of July this year.
Now in its 15th year, Cancer Research UK’s Race for Life is the largest women-only fundraising event in Britain. Women are invited to walk, jog or run 5k at over 260 events across the UK this summer. The charity is hoping that 750,000 women will come together and help raise over £50 million for research into all forms of cancer.
Nell McAndrew said: “Having a naked training session is a bit of fun but it highlights a serious message – that Cancer Research UK is fighting to beat cancer and the only way to do that is by working together. I personally have been supporting Cancer Research UK for many years now. In that time my Dad, Ted, was diagnosed with non Hodgkin’s lymphoma and has since been told he’s in remission, so I always take part in Race for Life in celebration of him. Cancer Research UK’s Race for Life 2008 is for everybody, because it’s not about how fit you are, it’s about taking part and raising money to beat cancer.”
One of the participants in the naked session, Tracey Barraclough from Leeds, said: “When I first heard the idea of a naked training session I was a bit nervous, but once I met the rest of the women and heard everyone’s moving and inspirational stories we all flung off our robes and didn’t want to stop. It’s so important that any woman who sees this realises that they too can be part of Race for Life and help change lives. I think when it comes round to my local Race for Life event though; I’ll keep my clothes on!
“Cancer Research UK is a really personal charity to me – my mother, grandmother and great-grandmother all died of ovarian cancer and I inherited a genetic mutation so I chose to have a double mastectomy and full hysterectomy as a preventative measure. The great thing about Cancer Research UK is that its work is not just about breast cancer, but all types of cancer. I’ve not had cancer myself but cancer research has saved my life, because without the research, I don’t know where I’d be.”
Another participant, Vivienne McBeth, taking part in the Ayr Race for Life, said: “I’m doing this today to raise awareness for Cancer Research UK so that more women take part in Race for Life. You don’t have to actually ‘race’ it – you can walk and talk on the way round. I became personally involved back in 2005 when I was diagnosed with a cancerous brain tumour. The year following my surgery and treatment I wanted to give something back and my way of doing that was through Cancer Research UK and Race for Life seemed the perfect choice as my friends and family could take part with me.”
Lorraine O’Mahoney, from Milton Keynes, said: “I felt so liberated today and I can show that there is life after having a breast off. I couldn’t do Race for Life two years ago because I was undergoing chemotherapy but I managed to do it last year and I felt so proud. My little boy was so excited to see mummy cross the finishing line. Race for Life is fantastic because you realise you are not alone in being affected by cancer but that together you can help beat it.”
Each Race for Life event covers a distance of 5k, encouraging women of all ages and levels of fitness to participate. Women can enter Race for Life 2008 by visiting www.raceforlife.org or calling 0871 641 2282.
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About Cancer Research UK:
• Together with its partners and supporters, Cancer Research UK’s vision is to beat cancer.
• Cancer Research UK carries out world-class research to improve understanding of the disease and find out how to prevent, diagnose and treat different kinds of cancer.
• Cancer Research UK ensures that its findings are used to improve the lives of all cancer patients.
• Cancer Research UK helps people to understand cancer, the progress that is being made and the choices each person can make.
• Cancer Research UK works in partnership with others to achieve the greatest impact in the global fight against cancer.
• For further information about Cancer Research UK’s work or to find out how to support the charity, please call 020 7009 8820 or visit www.cancerresearchuk.org.uk