Local scientist Victoria Bingham joined a pink army of around 3,000 women to take part in Cancer Research UK’s Race For Life last weekend.
Originally from Ballymena, Victoria was guest of honour at the event at Stormont and gave a heartfelt speech from the stage as to why she is inspired to beat cancer sooner.
Victoria, who is based at the Cancer Research UK Belfast Centre, also sounded the air horn to set the ladies on their way.
“It was an honour to be a VIP at Race For Life,” Victoria said.
She added: “The ladies who take part are truly inspirational.
“Cancer can be a devastating illness and I know it will have hit hard for some of those taking part in Race For Life.
“Thank goodness cancer is not the death sentence it once was. Survival has doubled since the 1970s and scientists at Cancer Research UK are working hard to see the day when all cancers are cured. This research is only possible thanks to the hard work and dedication of our supporters.”
Victoria is funded by a prestigious CR-UK Accelerator award to improve the early diagnosis and treatment of cancer.
“I know that this research in my laboratory could go on to make a significant difference to patients with cancer,” she said.
She added: “I am looking for proteins in tissue samples for different cancers, obtained from the Bio Bank at the Cancer Centre.
“The results will be checked with the data on patients and depending on the protein in the tissue samples, it will help us tailor treatment making it more patient specific.
“The slides that are stained for protein are then scanned and uploaded on to an internet website. This allows pathologists and doctors from all over the world to view the results.
“I know that this research in my laboratory could go on to make a significant difference to patients with cancer.”
Victoria explained that money raised through Race for Life allows Cancer Research UK’s doctors, nurses and scientists to advance research which is helping to save the lives of men, women and children across Northern Ireland.
“So thank you so much to the wonderful Pink Army at Race for Life for all that you do to fundraise – every pound really makes a difference,” Victoria added.
Race For Life’s area events manager for Northern Ireland, Angela Wilson said: “I want to say a huge thank you to everyone who took part in Race For Life.
“The atmosphere here was full of emotion with participants wearing signs on their backs declaring their reasons for taking part. Many will be remembering loved ones lost to cancer or celebrating the lives of people dear to them who have survived.
“We are also grateful to Victoria for coming along and giving us an insight into the hard work that goes on inside Cancer Research UK labs locally, research that would not be possible if it wasn’t for the ladies who take part in Race For Life.
“Race for Life events are not competitive. They are about an army of women crossing the finish line together in the fight against cancer. Whatever the distance, every step taken around the course will help bring us one step closer to the day when all cancers are cured.”