Scots cancer survivor and daughter make stand to save lives

CARING Elaine Lennon is urging all Scots to Stand Up To Cancer as she battles through treatment for the disease.

Elaine Lennon and her daughter Carrie Lennon Stand Up To Cancer. Picture: Contributed

Elaine, 53, had her final chemotherapy session on Monday (October 17)- only days before the Stand Up To Cancer live television show.

The joint fundraising campaign from Cancer Research UK and Channel 4, backed by celebs including Davina McCall and Alan Carr, aims to raise money to fund vital research which will get new and better treatments to cancer patients faster.

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This year’s campaign culminates today with a night of live TV on Channel 4 led by the brightest stars in film, TV and music.

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Now Elaine, who has endured surgery and also faces 15 sessions of radiotherapy, is teaming up with her daughter Carrie Lennon, 31, to appeal for more volunteers to sign up to help for a few hours a week in Cancer Research UK shops across Scotland.

Elaine was working at the Cancer Research UK shop at Raeburn Place, Edinburgh, when she was diagnosed with breast cancer on 24 May.

But beating cancer got personal long before that unforgettable day. Her younger brother, Greig Hannan of Dunbar was a talented musician and only 40 when he died in September 2007 from kidney cancer.

Dad of three Greig played lead guitar in the Setting Sons, a classic punk covers band he had set up.

Elaine, of Edinburgh, said: “It’s time to join the rebellion against cancer.

“Stand up, stand out and help save lives. I miss my brother every day. It makes me feel angry that cancer has taken someone so special from our family at such a young age.

“That’s why I’ll do everything I can to smash cancer, to raise money to save more lives, more quickly by helping scientists move closer to the day they find a cure.

“I’ve been counting the days until my last chemotherapy treatment. It’s an essential step towards putting cancer behind me. I think it’s really important to tell my story to urge others just to visit the doctor and get themselves checked out if they do notice anything unusual about my body. The earlier cancer is detected the better doctors are able to treat it.

“I’ve had constant love and support from family and friends through all of this. My husband Alan has been a rock and I’ve benefited from fantastic advice from Carrie who is much more sensible than I am. She’s my daughter but also like a best friend too.”

Every day, 85 people are diagnosed with cancer in Scotland.

By joining Stand Up To Cancer, supporters across the nation will be uniting with doctors, nurses, scientists and celebrities to generate funds, raise awareness and help accelerate progress in life-saving cancer research.

Elaine has fundraised tirelessly all through her cancer treatment, even organising a Stand Up To Cancer fashion show at Saint Stephen’s, Stockbridge on October 7 which raised more than £5,030, a key part of a stunning £26,000 which has been raised since the annual event organised by the Stockbridge CRUK shop started in 2009.

But she vividly recalls the moment doctors confirmed that after almost a decade of helping others going through cancer, she too was fighting the disease.

Elaine visited her GP after discovering a lump in her right breast. She was referred for a biopsy to the Western General Hospital in Edinburgh - the same hospital where her brother had been treated for cancer.

On 25 May, only 24 hours after the test results revealed Elaine had cancer, she was in surgery to have the tumour removed.

And a fortnight before starting six sessions of chemotherapy which made her hair fall out, Elaine joined more than 4,000 women at Holyrood Park in Edinburgh in June for the Race for Life 5K for Cancer Research UK.

Elaine’s daughter Carrie who is area trading manager for Cancer Research UK is hugely proud of everything her mum has achieved.

Carrie said: “Mum is always looking for ways to help people and would love to be raising funds 24/7.

“She is the most passionate and caring Cancer Research UK team member. The fashion show she organised this year was our most successful yet. She’s also the best mum in the world and I’m so proud of her.”

Stand Up To Cancer aims to accelerate the translation of brilliant scientific discoveries into innovative cancer medicine, tests and treatments. Every pound raised will help to support this progress and bring forward the day when all cancers are cured. Launched in the UK in 2012,Stand Up To Cancer has already raised more than £25million.

Lisa Adams, Cancer Research UK’s spokeswoman in Scotland said: “We’d like to thank Elaine and Carrie for standing out in the fight against cancer.

“One in two people in the UK will develop cancer at some point in their lives and there’s still much more to do to ensure no-one’s life is cut short by this devastating disease. Stand Up To Cancer raises money to speed up breakthroughs from the lab to the patients who need them right now.

“With support from people across Scotland, we can continue to fund vital research to get new and better treatments to cancer patients faster.”

Donations of good-quality clothes, shoes and bags are being taken by Cancer Research UK shops across Scotland. Each bag of donated clothes is worth up to £25 - even more if supporters sign up for Gift Aid.