Health

‘I owe my life to research. I’ve done really well and I have two beautiful daughters’

By Ian Marland at

A cancer survivor who feared he would never have children is inspiring others to raise badly-needed money for research.

Matt Sinclair, 42, was diagnosed with chronic myeloid leukaemia in 2005, and has lived with the disease ever since.

The sales executive will be running his Race For Life 5K for Cancer Research UK later this month.

He has teamed up with cancer scientist Dr Vignir Helgason for the event.

The two men have been good friends since they got involved in fundraising at around the time Matt was diagnosed.

Matt and friend

Matt Sinclair (left) and his friend Dr Vignir Helgason.

Matt, 42, from Milngavie, said: “I owe my life to research. I’m fitter than I’ve ever been, I’ve done really well in my career, and I have two beautiful daughters.

“That’s why I want to give something back, and I’ve signed up with Vignir to take part in A Very 2020 Race For Life.

“Even though we’re having to do it differently in 2020, nothing is going to stop us raising money to help beat cancer.

“I want to reach out to people going through cancer right now, to show that while we may all still be apart, we can unite with a common goal to fund life-saving research.”

Scotland’s biggest Race for Life was due to take place on Glasgow Green on Sunday, May 17.

Devastated

But the event was among 400 mass participation events which organisers Cancer Research UK cancelled this year to protect the country’s health during the COVID-19 outbreak.

Fundraising has been devastated by the pandemic which is why this year’s event is more important than ever.

The charity is expecting a staggering £160 million drop in income in the year ahead with a £44 million cut to life-saving research funding already.

Now to help tackle the devastating loss, women and men will complete their own Race for Life 5K in their nearest green space on Saturday September 26th.

They plan to take part outdoors either alone or in small, socially distanced groups – but all on the same day – to help people with cancer.

Matt Sinclair

Matt Sinclair and the family he thought he would never have.

Supporters can visit raceforlife.org<http://www.raceforlife.org> and sign up free for a “Very 2020 Race for Life.”

Vignir, who lives in Hillhead, heads a team of researchers at the Cancer Research UK Glasgow Centre at the University of Glasgow working to find new and better ways to treat chronic myeloid leukaemia, a type of cancer that affects the blood and bone marrow.

Vignir said: “We are looking at two different ways to try and overcome resistance to the cancer drugs – how the leukaemic stem cells use a self-recycling process to survive, and how they generate energy to survive.

“Our hope is that, if we can find drugs that interfere with these processes in the stem cells, more people can live with chronic myeloid leukaemia in the future without relapsing.”

 

‘Even though we’re having to do it differently in 2020, nothing is going to stop us raising money to help beat cancer.

‘I want to reach out to people going through cancer right now, to show that while we may all still be apart, we can unite with a common goal to fund life-saving research’

Matt Sinclair 

 

Vignir knows well the real-life impact of chronic myeloid leukaemia through his friendship with Matt, who has lived with the disease since he was 27 years old.

Dr Victoria Steven, Cancer Research UK’s spokesperson in Scotland, said: “Cancer is still happening right now and we won’t let 2020 stop us.

“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 or jogging to raise money and help beat cancer.

“Whatever the hurdle, we’ll keep going and we’d urge as many people as possible in Glasgow to join us for a Very 2020 Race for Life on September 26.”

* Visit raceforlife.org or call 0300 123 0770. Join in and share with #Very2020RaceForLife