Leicester night walkers raise money for cancer charity

By Conor de Smith.

The streets of Leicester were illuminated by hundreds of people taking part in the city’s first Shine Night Walk in aid of Cancer Research on Saturday.

More than 800 glowing walkers came together at the weekend to raise more than £40,000 in crucial funds for Cancer Research UK.

The 10k walk started at 7pm at De Montfort University and passed landmarks such as Leicester Cathedral, the Clock Tower, New Walk and Victoria Park before ending back at the university.

Those who took part could raise money for 12 different areas of research such as bowel cancer, brain cancer, breast cancer and other forms of the disease. It cost £14.99 to enter and additional fundraising could be organised by walkers through the charity.

Heather Royrhorne-Finch, of Asfordby, launched the event with a starting horn. The 38-year-old programmes and relations manager for the civil service was diagnosed with Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma in 2009 while her sister and father have also survived the disease.

“It was a real honour because there are very few people lucky enough not to have been affected by cancer so it could easily have been someone else sharing their cancer story,” said Heather, who underwent a life-saving stem cell transplant in 2011.

“I was thrilled to be asked to share my story with the 800 people taking part. Every walker has either directly battled cancer or knows someone who has and not all cancer patients are as fortunate as me to have survived.

“Seeing everyone in their glitter, neon and fairy lights setting off into the city was emotional and uplifting,” she continued.

“People getting up and doing something that could benefit them one day but will definitely benefit others is inspiring. The distance doesn’t matter, it’s the effort that is important.”

Every year, more than 1,100 people in Leicester are diagnosed with cancer and there were more than 4,800 cancer patients on GP registers in March 2015.

Cancer is the second most common cause of death, accounting for 25 per cent of all deaths in Leicester and a third of deaths in under 75-year-olds.

Emma Sperring, 37, was diagnosed with malignant melanoma in 2016 and walked with her dad and sister-in-law.

She said: “I really enjoyed the night walk, though it was really hard work, especially the last 1k. The atmosphere was really friendly and motivating.”

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