Leading University of Birmingham researcher takes on cycling challenge in aid of cancer

Prof Kearns, Director of the Cancer Research UK Clinical Trials Unit at the University of Birmingham and Cancer Research UK’s children’s cancer expert, is taking on a cycle challenge in aid of charity

Leading University of Birmingham researcher Professor Pam Kearns is set to cycle 175 miles across England in just 12 hours to raise cash to help young cancer patients and their families.

Avid cyclist Prof Kearns, Director of the Cancer Research UK Clinical Trials Unit at the University of Birmingham and Cancer Research UK’s children’s cancer expert, is tackling the challenging coast to coast ‘Way of the Roses’ cycle route – which normally takes around four days to complete – in less than 24 hours.

The hilly route between Morecambe in Lancashire and Bridlington in Yorkshire is famous for its spectacular and challenging scenery as it snakes its way through the Lune Valley, Yorkshire Dales, Nidderdale and Yorkshire Wolds.

Prof Kearns, who lives near Penkridge in Staffordshire, has shifted her fundraising up a gear to raise money for two causes close to her heart: Cancer Research UK Kids & Teens, and A Child of Mine.

Prof Kearns said: “This is a major challenge for me. It’s 175 miles and a total climb of nearly 8000 feet so I may be crazy for imagining I can do it in one day, but if I get up early enough I think it is possible.

“I’ve been training really hard to make sure I’m fit enough and I’m hoping people will sponsor me and support these two causes, which do great work and which matter so much to children and their families.

“As a children’s cancer doctor at Birmingham Children’s Hospital I have seen the great progress made in treating this disease in young people, which means more of them survive cancer but there is much more we need to do.

“Cancer Research UK Kids & Teens supports a lot of the research we do here at the University of Birmingham, including the Clinical Trials Unit, which is so crucial to bringing new treatments to the clinic.

“But sadly, not all children survive cancer. The charity A Child of Mine  was set up by the mum of one of my patients who died from neuroblastoma to support parents who have suffered the unimaginable loss of a child to any disease, not just cancer.”

Around 4,500 children and young people 24 and under are diagnosed with cancer every year in the UK*. Survival for this group has improved over the last 40 years in the UK, meaning today, more children and young people are surviving cancer than ever before.

Despite this progress, around 520 children and young people die from cancer every year in the UK, and some of those who survive often experience serious long-term side effects that affect them for the rest of their lives.

Cancer Research UK Kids & Teens is a campaign that raises money to fund research to help find new, better and kinder treatments for children and young people with cancer.

Jane Redman, Cancer Research UK spokeswoman for the West Midlands, said: “Prof Kearns’ mad challenge speaks volumes about her passion for improving cancer treatment and survival for children and young people with cancer. We are very grateful for her commitment and wish her all the best for her amazing bike ride.”

A Child of Mine was set up in 2012 by Staffordshire mum Gayle Routledge to help and support anyone affected by the death of a child. Gayle established the charity after the death of her own son, Lewis, to a type of cancer that affects children called neuroblastoma.

Gayle said: “We are incredibly grateful to Pam for taking on this challenge and for choosing A Child of Mine as one of the beneficiaries. The funds and awareness raised for our charity will make a big difference to us and the work we do.”


Ends

Images are available upon request. Video footage is here

For more information please contact Emma McKinney, Communications Manager (Health Sciences), University of Birmingham, tel: +44 (0) 121 414 6681, or contact the press office on +44 (0) 7789 921 165.

 

Notes to Editors:

  • The University of Birmingham is ranked amongst the world’s top 100 institutions. Its work brings people from across the world to Birmingham, including researchers, teachers and more than 6,500 international students from over 150 countries.
  • To sponsor Professor Kearns on her cycling challenge click here
  • Follow Prof Pam’s progress on Twitter at #PedallingProf

REFERENCES:

*Based on the average annual number of cancer cases (ICD10 C00-C97, D32-D33, D35.2-D35.4, D42-D43 and D44.3-D44.5) diagnosed in children and young people aged 0-24 years in the UK between 2013-2015
**Based on 5-year actuarial survival for children (aged 0-14) in Great Britain diagnosed with cancer between 2006-2010 and 5-year relative survival for young people (aged 15-24) in the UK diagnosed with cancer between 2002-2006.


About Cancer Research UK’s Kids & Teens

  • Cancer Research UK is the world’s leading cancer charity dedicated to saving lives through research.
  • Around 4,500 children and young people (aged 0-24) are diagnosed with cancer every year in the UK; that’s around 370 cases every month and 86 cases per week.
  • More than 8 in 10 children and young people (aged 0-24) diagnosed with cancer in the UK now survive for at least five years.
  • Together with its partners and supporters, Cancer Research UK Kids & Teens’ vision is to find new, better and kinder treatments for children and young people with cancer.
  • Cancer Research UK receives no government funding for its life-saving research. Every step it makes towards beating children’s cancers relies on every donation made.
  • Money raised through Cancer Research UK Kids & Teens will be ring-fenced to fund research into cancers affecting children and young people (aged 0-24). Donations will be used to fund research to help find new, better and kinder treatments for children and young people with cancer