Organisers Cancer Research UK were forced to cancel all 400 mass participation events in 2020 to protect the country’s health during the COVID-19 outbreak. This included Race for Life events in Brighton, Worthing, Crawley, Horsham, Eastbourne and Hastings.
The charity is expecting a staggering £160 million drop in income in the year ahead and has had to make a £44 million cut to life-saving research funding already in 2020.
To help tackle the devastating loss, women and men are being asked to raise funds by completing their own Race for Life 5K in their nearest green space on Saturday September 26.
They can take part outdoors alone or in small, socially distanced groups - but all on the same day - to help people with cancer. Supporters can visit www.raceforlife.org and sign up free for a Very 2020 Race for Life.
Lynn Daly, Cancer Research UK’s spokesperson for Sussex, said: “COVID-19 has made the fight against cancer even harder.
“With around 51,400 people diagnosed with the disease every year in the South East, we will never stop striving to create better treatments and to ensure people affected by cancer get the support we need. But we can’t do it alone. That’s why we need people to join us for a Very 2020 Race for Life.
“Vital cancer research has been delayed this year. Even though we have to Race for Life differently in 2020, nothing’s going to stop us running, walking and jogging to raise money and help beat cancer.
“Whatever the hurdle, we’ll keep going and we’d urge as many people as possible to join in on September 26th. People can set off from their home to complete 5k their way that day. Things haven’t gone to plan for any of us in 2020. This is going to be a very 2020 Race for Life but together we will still beat cancer.”
Cancer Research UK’s Race for Life, in partnership with Tesco, is an inspiring series of 5K, 10K, Pretty Muddy and Pretty Muddy Kids events which raise millions of pounds every year to help beat cancer by funding crucial research.
Last year Sussex Race for Life participants raised £1,256,881 to support vital research to develop gentler and more effective treatments for cancer – a disease that will affect one-in-two people in the UK at some stage in their lives.
A live broadcast on the Cancer Research UK Race for Life Facebook page at 9.30am on Saturday September 26 will include an energiser from a fitness expert as well as inspirational messages of support from people who have been through cancer. Participants are then invited to set off on their own Race for Life. Organisers are also inviting participants to share photos and videos on social media using the hashtag, #Very2020RaceForLife.
Cancer Research UK’s work in to the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of cancer has been at the heart of progress that has seen survival in the UK double in the last 40 years. Thanks to the generosity of its supporters, the charity currently funds around 50 per cent of all publicly funded cancer research in the UK. However, as a direct result of the coronavirus pandemic, promising projects which could have the big answers to cancer are being held up.
Lynn added: “Cancer is still happening right now and we won’t let 2020 stop us.
“Whether people are taking part in a park or their back garden, they’ll be united by a determination to beat cancer together. At a time when we’re having to keep apart from each other, there is still a way to unite. We’re urging everyone who has got behind Race for Life in the past to please continue supporting us.
“Sadly, cancer touches almost every family at some time and we want to do everything we can to help give people more tomorrows with their loved ones.”
Cancer Research UK’s life-saving work relies entirely on the public’s generous support. The charity was able to spend over £34 million last year in the South East on some of the UK’s leading scientific and clinical research.
Visit raceforlife.org or call 0300 123 0770. Join in and share with #Very2020RaceForLife