The charity has taken the difficult decision to withdraw all 400 Race for Life events across the UK this year to protect the country’s health as restrictions on mass gatherings caused by the COVID-19 pandemic continue.
This includes events in Brighton, Worthing, Crawley, Horsham, Eastbourne and Hastings. Participants who have already signed up will be contacted directly by the charity.
Cancer Research UK expects to see its fundraising income decline by up to 25 per cent in the next financial year as a direct result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Lynn Daly, Cancer Research UK spokesperson for Sussex, said: “We remain completely committed to making progress for people affected by cancer but now more than ever, support from the public will be vital. We simply will not be able to continue funding our life-saving work without it.
“Since it began in 1994, Race for Life has raised more than £890m for Cancer Research UK’s life-saving work. We’re incredibly grateful to everyone who has taken part and hope their support will continue.
“We know Race for Life is such a treasured part of the UK’s events calendar and it is with a heavy heart that for the first time in 27 years we have to announce that it won’t be taking place. The safety of our supporters, volunteers, suppliers and staff is however essential.
“We hope the Race for Life event series will be back bigger and stronger than ever in 2021. In the meantime, we’d love to invite as many people as possible to join us by taking part in Race for Life at Home in these challenging times.”
Undeterred, women and men across Sussex are already vowing to carry on and complete a Race for Life at Home challenge, in their garden or their nearest green space. People can visit raceforlife.org and sign up free for ideas on how they can create their own special challenge. Organisers are also inviting participants to join the Race for Life at Home community by sharing photos and videos on social media using the hashtag, #RaceForLifeAtHome
Lynn added: “Cancer hasn’t stopped and people affected by cancer need our support more than ever.
“From a run or 5K walk around the garden or local park to limbo in the living room, there is no wrong way to Race for Life at Home. With no entry fee, people might choose to twerk, star jump, squat, skip, dance, trampoline, or come up with their own novel way of taking part and share it with friends. We’re urging everyone – men women and children – to join our community and help raise vital funds.”
Around 51,400 people are diagnosed with cancer every year in the South East of England.
But the good news is more people are surviving the disease now than ever before. Cancer survival in the UK has doubled since the early 1970s and Cancer Research UK’s work has been at the heart of that progress.
Cancer Research UK’s life-saving work relies entirely on the public’s generous support. The charity was able to spend more than £34 million last year in the South East on some of the UK’s leading scientific and clinical research.
Cancer Research UK’s Race for Life, in partnership with Tesco, is an inspiring series of 5k, 10k and Pretty Muddy events which raise millions of pounds every year to find new ways to tackle cancer.
Most of the Sussex events had already been rescheduled for late summer. The decision to cancel the entire series is a major blow to the charity.
Money raised through Race for Life helps to make long-term research and pioneering trials possible, leading to new tests and kinder treatments that help save the lives of more men, women and children across the South East.
For more information, visit raceforlife.org or call 0300 123 0770.