More than 600 people took part in the March on Cancer on Saturday night as part of the national Stand Up To Cancer fundraising campaign
“I’m great now,” said Minkyung Shim, waving her ‘I’m standing up for myself’ placard along with her friends and hundreds of other people outside the Winter Garden.
“I’m in remission and everything is great for me and also for other family members. ‘In March 2012 I was diagnosed with acute myeloid leukaemia. I will beat cancer sooner!!!’ said Min’s placard.
After treatment in the Royal Hallamshire Hospital and back home in Korea, Min has now returned to Sheffield University to complete her international relations and politics degree.
“I want to be here to thank the community and my friends in Sheffield and to show I can be healthier and safe. I have survived and I hope everybody will survive.”
More than 600 people took part in Sheffield’s March on Cancer on Saturday night, the only Yorkshire march in 15 UK events which are part of the national Stand Up To Cancer fundraising campaign organised by Cancer Research UK and Channel 4.
The promotion, supported by animated TV advertising and multiple celebrities, culminates in a TV marathon tomorrow (Friday) and a fundraising campaign for ‘translational research’, which develops laboratory work into new tests and treatments for people with cancer. The first Stand up for Cancer campaign in 2012 raised £8m.
“We want people to go on this emotional, powerful, defiant journey against cancer,” said Laura Taylor of Cancer UK. We’re holding the march in Sheffield because we also want to say ‘thank you’ to Sheffield for all the years we’ve been fund-raising here - like the thousands of women doing the Sheffield Race for Life.”
Cancer Research UK hopes to raise £30,000 from the Sheffield event and subsequent online and collection bucket donations which will continue after Friday’s TV spectacular.
“As well as all the support from Sheffield people, a lot of our scientists are based here at Weston Park Hospital. Cancer Research UK spends around £3.5m on research in this area every year.”
‘Standing up for those we have lost, those who are fighting, those who have survived,’ said Shamila Mudassar’s banner.
“My nan and auntie had breast cancer, and they both went through a lot but both survived and my nan’s now in Canada with her son and my auntie is enjoying weddings in Pakistan,” said Shamila.
Her husband Mudassar added: “We want to encourage Sheffield people to raise funds to help more people survive.”
“It was so emotional and amazing to know that all these people are here,” said Pam Addy, whose son, Kris was proudly brandishing his: ‘I’m Standing up For Brains, Bowels, Bladders, Balls and Boobs’ placard. Pam was diagnosed with breast cancer eight years ago, and after years of treatment and reconstruction she was proud to take part on Saturday.
“It’s overwhelming. I’ve been in tears watching everyone putting their placards up, with everyone so united - myself and all these other people still here. These are people who’ve beaten cancer, that’s how I see it.”
The marchers set off around the city centre, led by Sheffield Pipe Band, joined by bagpipers at Devonshire Street and applauded by the public outside pubs and chip shops in what organisers believe is likely to become an annual event.
Back at Tudor Square, Anne Dawson and Lizzie Sendall had a quick dance as the party began to wind down.
“I’m marching on cancer for my husband Stephen who is fighting myeloma,” said Anne.
Stephen was not well enough to attend, but Anne was accompanied by several family members, including Stephen’s cousin Charlotte Sendall, herself in remission.
“It’s been euphoric,” said Charlotte. “Cancer has always been a frightening word, but the more people talk about it, the more people are not afraid of it.”
Which is very much part of the defiant, battling, orange and black message of the campaign, said Laura Taylor.
Awareness that you really should be prepared to talk to the doctor is part of the idea that cancer is often treatable with early diagnosis, she said.
“It is not a death sentence, and the cure is getting closer. Both my grandmothers were diagnosed with cancer 10 years ago and both survived. Because of the research work we do, I’ve still got my grandmothers.”