A NEW LUNG cancer research scholarship at the University is set to be funded by a widower running two miles every day for a year, to a total of 730 miles across the year. Chris Gatenby, who began his year- long journey, dubbed ‘Joe for Georgie’ on 30 th January, has pledged that “Come rain, shine, hail or snow, I will jog, run or walk at least 2 miles a day, every day, for a year.”
Gatenby intends to raise the £25 000 needed to fund a Masters research student in the Department of Biology. They will work alongside the University’s Dr Dawn Coverley, who is undertaking research into looking at how cancer cells form, and is trying to understand how the cells are allowed to become dangerous at the earliest stages, and requires a new researcher to aid her progress.
The scholarship is dedicated in memory of Chris’ wife Georgie Gatenby, a marketing manager for Betty’s in Harrogate, who passed away following a battle with the disease. Chris Gatenby stated that “From the very first day of her diagnosis, Georgie was an inspiration; her inner will and positive attitude were phenomenal. Georgie always wanted to help others who had been given the same devastating news, but the aggressive nature of her illness prevented her from beginning fundraising. In Georgie’s absence I’ll be stepping forward, daily, to make her wish come true”.
44 women lose their lives to lung cancer every day, and it is the highest cancer mortality rate in the UK, higher than that of breast and ovarian cancer combined. While a link exists between smoking and the disease, Georgie, like many other sufferers, was a non-smoker.
Dr Coverley said: “Progress in cancer research is usually the result of many small steps forward, but having an extra researcher will help us progress a little bit faster towards new ways to treat people with lung cancer.” Recruitment for the student to undertake the Masters research scholar ship will begin later this year, and the successful student will begin their research in October.