Kayla Doohan from Livingston sounded the airhorn to set the 5K runners on their way in the Cancer Research UK Race for Life in Holyrood Park earlier today.

 

Around 2,000 people took part in the race with men joining the sea of pink for the first time.

Kayla (32) has had two experiences of cancer, first at the age of 20 and also more recently. Happily she went on to have a daughter now aged 3 even though she was fearful that her 2005 treatment might have affected her fertility. She is now cancer free and gave an inspiring speech to those about to run. She also thanked them for raising vital funds for the charity.

The young mum said : “Cancer can be scary and we all go through days when it feels like life will never get back to normal again.

“But time is a great help and you get there. When I was diagnosed with breast cancer for the second time, it was a relief to hear that it hadn’t spread. I knew then that I could get through the treatment as I’d done it before.”

Cancer scientist Dr Evropi Theodoratou, who is based at the Edinburgh Cancer Research UK centre, was chosen as VIP starter for the Race for Life Edinburgh 10K event. Originally from Athens, Greece, Dr Theodoratou now lives in Edinburgh with her husband and two daughters, Rea, five, and Electra, two.

Dr Theodoratou has just been awarded a £1.58 million Career Development Fellowship by Cancer Research UK. She’ll lead a team based at the University of Edinburgh and the Western General Hospital who are researching bowel cancer.

Finding a way to beat cancer through early diagnosis is what drives her.

Dr Theodoratou said: “Cancer is a horrible disease. It’s the leading cause of death in the UK and is responsible for far more deaths than any other disease, including chronic heart disease and Alzheimer’s.

“Even though more people are surviving cancer than ever before, more people are getting the disease. It’s becoming an even greater challenge.

“Among the best ways to tackle cancer is to detect it earlier and identify who is at a higher risk of developing the disease. By knowing that we can look in to new and better ways to help people.”

Race for Life spokeswoman, Linda Summerhayes, said:  “We’d like to thank our VIP starters and everyone who came along to make Race for Life Edinburgh so special.

“Sadly, most of us know someone whose life has been touched by cancer. But thanks to the huge progress that has been made in the fight against the disease, more people in Scotland are surviving cancer than ever before.

“Our aim is that one day everyone will beat cancer. The more research we can fund, the sooner that day will come.”

There are two more Race for Life events in Scotland later this summer:

Saturday September 16: Pretty Muddy 5K and Pretty Muddy Kids, Bellahouston Park, Glasgow. Pretty Muddy 5K and 10K, Royal Highland Centre, Edinburgh.

Saturday September 30: Pretty Muddy Ayr 5K, Ayr Racecourse, Ayr.

To enter Race for Life visit raceforlife.org or call 0300 123 0770.