Kian Telford who is just 17-months-old and learning to walk, has been a source of strength to his grandmother Shirene Smith ever since she was diagnosed with breast cancer in June.
During a break in Shirene’s treatment, Kian was pictured with a placard declaring: ‘I’m standing up for my Nana’ to show support for Stand Up To Cancer, a joint fundraising campaign from Cancer Research UK and Channel 4.
Stand Up To Cancer aims to raise money to fund vital research which will get new and better treatments to cancer patients faster.
This year’s campaign is up and running now, and will culminate with an evening of special programming on Channel 4 on Friday 9 October
Together, Kian and Shirene are urging local people to back the campaign and help raise money at work, school or at home.
Kian lives in Dunfermline with his mum Caitlin and his dad Marc – Shirene’s son – and he calls on his gran in Dundee at every opportunity. His visits have been a source of joy for Shirene as she’s been going through treatment.
The devoted grandmother, who lives in Charleston, Dundee, was diagnosed with breast cancer on 8 June.
Receiving the shock news was particularly hard for Shirene, aged 45, as it came the day after the funeral of her cousin who died after being diagnosed with ovarian cancer.
Shirene added: “Being told I had breast cancer was a real shock as I never thought for a minute this was what was wrong with me, given the symptoms I had.”
A regular gym-goer, Shirene had been doing burpies exercises when she noticed something which felt like a bruise. Her breast then started swelling up so Shirene visited her GP.
A swift referral to Ninewells Hospital in Dundee followed and tests revealed that Shirene was suffering from grade three breast cancer.
Chemotherapy started just a week later, on 15 June.
Shirene has been determined the cancer won’t stop her from leading her life.
Remarkably, less than a month after chemotherapy treatment started, Shirene was tackling the 5K Race for Life course in Perth, completing the circuit in an astonishing 36 minutes and raising more than £3,000.
Shirene said: “I was only expecting to raise £100 but the support of my family and friends has been amazing.
“I love exercise and I’m still going to the gym and to my boot camp classes. Everyone at the gym hates doing burpies but, given that they led me to visit the GP and to the treatment that’s going to make me well again, I’ve decided I love them.
“I’ve been lucky as the chemotherapy hasn’t made me ill. And going to the gym and going to work are the things that make me feel normal.
“Losing my long hair was difficult as I was worried that my grandson Kian wouldn’t recognise me. But he loves the feel of my hair now and so that definitely makes me feel better about it all.”
She continued: “I’m so grateful for the treatment that I am receiving and I really appreciate the power of research. And that’s why I want to encourage as many people as possible to unite and join Stand Up To Cancer and help raise as much money as possible.”
Every hour, more than three people are diagnosed with cancer in Scotland*. By joining Stand Up To Cancer, supporters will be uniting with doctors, nurses, scientists and celebrities to generate funds, raise awareness and bring forward the day when all cancers are cured.
Launched in the UK in 2012, Stand Up to Cancer has already raised over £23.8million.
This year, there are many ways to get involved and help save lives. A free fundraising kit is available to help spark creative ideas and provide support.
Supporters of all ages can literally stand up and get sponsored, choosing exactly how, when and where they make their stand.
Alternatively, they might choose to wear a ridiculous bottom half for the day with the ‘Crazy Legs’ challenge, or cook up some cash by conjuring up culinary delights and selling them at work or school.
Linda Summerhayes, Cancer Research UK’s spokesperson in Scotland said: “We are very grateful to Shirene and Kian and all their family for their support.
“Stand Up To Cancer funds translational research that aims to have a real impact on patients’ lives. We’ve made amazing progress against cancer in the past few decades. Thanks to new treatments, screening and earlier diagnosis, more people are surviving the disease than ever before.
“Money raised by Stand Up To Cancer is helping change the face of cancer research by funding clinical trials, which mean new and improved treatments can be tested and then given to people who need them most.
“One in two of us in the UK will develop cancer at some point in our lives. That’s why we need everyone to join in and make a stand against cancer right now.”
People across Scotland can also show their support for the campaign in style as a fun range of clothing and accessories for men, women, children, and even dogs, is available online at standuptocancer.org.uk and in Cancer Research UK shops.
Stand Up To Cancer is supported by a host of celebrities including Davina McCall, Alan Carr and Dr Christian Jessen.
For more information and to get involved visit www.standuptocancer.org.uk