A WOMAN has been motivated by the death of her father from cancer to give up drinking for a month and raise awareness about the disease.
Kirsty Moore, 40, from Ayrshire, will take part in the first Cancer Research UK Dryathlon, which will see participants banish alcohol from their diet for the month of January.
Ms Moore was pregnant with her first child when she and her family received the “horrific” news that her father, George Hutton, was terminally ill.
Mr Hutton was diagnosed with leukaemia in December 2007 – a month after he retired.
While in hospital for chemotherapy treatment a chest scan revealed a dark shadow on his lung, which was later confirmed to be lung cancer. He died in September 2009, aged 67.
Ms Moore, from Largs, took some comfort from the memory of her father’s joy at living long enough to meet his grandson Crispin, who was born a few months before Mr Hutton died.
She said: “When the leukaemia was diagnosed, it was a mild form in the early stages and my mum had said she would be happy to get five-to-ten years with him – but on finding the shadow we knew that was it.
“We knew there was no chance for him and that was devastating.”
Ms Moore found out about the Dryathlon from her friend, Kate Gadkowska, who is now teetotal.
Ms Moore said: “We used to be drinking buddies and that was a significant part of our friendship as we spent our formative years together in Edinburgh.
“Kathy’s been teetotal for two years now and it’s totally changed the dynamic of our friendship, it took a while for me to readjust. But now it’s kids and sobriety.”
After her friend laid down the Dryathlon challenge, Ms Moore tallied up the good reasons to take part. She said: “It’s all about healthy living – and drinking and smoking to excess contribute towards cancer.”
Also taking part in the Dryathlon is Dr Brian Clark, a consultant clinical oncologist at the Beatson West of Scotland Cancer Centre, who was inspired by his patients to get involved.
The father-of-three said: “I have always said that I’ll give up drink after Christmas but never have. It was the association with CRUK (Cancer Research UK) that finally pushed me to do it.
“There is a proven link between alcohol and cancers. Smoking, obesity and alcohol are the big three in terms of risk factors. Here in the West of Scotland we see that other health implications can make a treatable cancer patient untreatable.”
Cancer Research UK spokeswoman Linda Summerhayes said: “It’s great that Kirsty and Brian are among the thousands of people who have pledged to take part in our Dryathlon.
“Their efforts will make a huge difference when it comes to raising money for life-saving research – we hope their stories will inspire others to sign up.
“We are asking men and women to pledge now to give up alcohol in January and raise money for research into cancer.”