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SCOTLAND’S business leaders have received an award from Cancer Research UK in recognition of their outstanding contribution to the cause.

Cancer research

The charity’s Flame of Hope Awards acknowledge remarkable efforts in fundraising and volunteering made by people from all walks of life. Mactaggart & Mickel director Joanne Casey, Yvonne Brady and Jo Milmine first came up with the idea of launching a Business Beats Cancer dinner in Glasgow which this year marked its fifth anniversary. The annual dinner which attracts around 300 guests has raised more than £350,000 so far to fund vital research in to gentler and more effective treatments for cancer. Now Joanne and the other members of the Business Beats Cancer board have scooped a Flame of Hope pioneer award, beating off stiff competition from across the UK.


They were congratulated at a special online presentation last week. (October 16) This was in place of a ceremony in London hosted by Cancer Research UK’s chairman, Sir Leszek Borysiewicz, which had to be cancelled to protect the country’s health during the COVID-19 outbreak. Joanne Casey, who is stepping down as chair of the Business Beats Cancer board after leading it since 2016, also helped inspire similar Business Beats Cancer event across the UK in cities including Edinburgh, Belfast and Birmingham.


Joanne said: “Covid-19 has made 2020 the toughest of years but through it all cancer continues to hit people of all ages.


“Cancer is indiscriminate. I was 22 when my father aged 49 and brother aged 18 lost their battles with cancer within two weeks of one another, so Cancer Research UK is very close to my heart.


“We’re fortunate in Scotland to have world leading research in to cancer on our doorsteps and I believe research is the way to save lives. We’re very humbled to receive the Flame of Hope award. While the pandemic has knocked things back, there are a lot of talented individuals on the Business Beats Cancer board and I think together they have what it takes to build things back up in the future.”


This year’s Business Beats Cancer dinner held at the Grand Central Hotel in February just weeks before lockdown featured the auction of a painting created by seven-year-old Lydia Yilmaz of Glasgow who had overcome leukaemia. Lydia, a recipient of a Cancer Research UK for Children & Young People star award, was thrilled when her colourful painting raised £10,000. The dinner also included a speech by Dr Seth Coffelt, a researcher in to breast and ovarian cancer at the Cancer Research UK Beatson Institute in Glasgow.


Each year around 32,400* people are diagnosed with cancer and 16,100 people die from cancer in Scotland.*


The pandemic has caused a devastating loss of funding for cancer research. Following the cancellation of fundraising events like Race for Life, Cancer Research UK is expecting a staggering £160 million drop in income in the year ahead. As a result, the charity has made the difficult decision to cut £44 million in research funding.


Michelle Mitchell, Cancer Research UK’s chief executive, said: “The Flame of Hope awards give us the opportunity to celebrate and say thank you to our enormously generous volunteers and supporters for their fantastic work.


“Covid-19 has slowed us down but we will never stop. We are determined to continue our research to create better treatments for tomorrow. Cancer Research UK has continued to work through world wars, recession and other periods of major disruption. We remain as focussed as ever on beating cancer and I want to thank everyone who has supported us through this time.


“Cancer Research UK’s pioneering work in to the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of cancer has helped save millions of lives but that’s only possible thanks to the commitment of our supporters and volunteers, without whom it would not be possible to fund outstanding scientists, doctors and nurses.”


The Business Beats Cancer Glasgow board are among a total of 61 individuals and groups from all across the UK recognised by the Flame of Hope awards. Trophies and certificates will be posted out to homes.


Lisa Adams, Cancer Research UK spokeswoman for Scotland, said: “Every step we make towards beating cancer relies on every pound, every hour and every person.


“These awards are our way of honouring incredible people like the members of the Business Beats Cancer board in Glasgow who give their time freely to raise money for research and promote greater awareness of the disease, and yet ask for nothing in return.


“It’s thanks to the support of the fundraising public and our amazing army of volunteers that we can continue to make a real difference and bring forward the day when all cancers are cured.”


For more information about Cancer Research UK visit cruk.org

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