Flanked by inspirational cancer survivors, the Warriors winger officially launched Cancer Research UK’s night-time walking marathon, Shine, amid a fabulous fireworks display outside the Beatson Laboratories in Bearsden last night.
The charity hopes 5000 men and women will light up the city’s streets on September 10 in a bid to raise £1 million for research into the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of a disease that will affect one-in-three Scots at some stage in their lives.
Max Evans explained: “Glasgow is already a beacon for world-class cancer research and I’m sure that Scotland’s inaugural Shine event is going to be hugely successful and help fund more life-saving work.
“By coming together to put their best feet forward, Glaswegians can prove, once again, that their city is determined to kick cancer into touch.”
Participants in Shine, of which the Evening Times is media partner, can choose a full or half-marathon night-time route, passing by some of the city’s most famous landmarks.
They can decide to support one of 12 different areas of scientific research, including breast cancer, lung cancer, and leukaemia, or simply give their backing to Cancer Research UK’s overall work.
Posing with a giant firework spelling out SHINE, Max was joined by Glasgow skin cancer survivor Caroline Begg, 31, and 22-year-old Calum Elliot, from Paisley, who is being treated for a brain tumour.
Calum said: “About a year and a half ago I started having seizures. There would be a couple of minutes where people would say that I had got really confused.
“I wouldn’t remember it, although I would get an awkward feeling just before it happened. I was given some tablets to stop the seizures but they made no difference. It was very annoying.”
Calum had an MRI scan which showed a mass in his brain.
“My doctors were talking about surgery, but then one night in September last year I had a really sore head and they decided to bring the operation forward.
“The mass was removed from my brain and was sent away for analysis which confirmed it was a tumour. It was devastating news.”
Calum has been receiving pioneering treatment at the city’s Beatson West of Scotland Cancer Centre where he is the first person ever to receive a new vaccine which could help his condition.
He is looking forward to cheering on his mum, Jane Elliot, when she and her friends take part in Shine to raise money for research into brain tumours.
Caroline Begg was diagnosed with skin cancer in 2006. She had previously been a regular sunbed user.
She said: “I never really thought sunbeds were dangerous. When I noticed a mole on my skin looked different, I went to my GP and was stunned to learn I had developed skin cancer.
“It was terrifying. I had to wait for tests to tell me if it had spread to my lungs or elsewhere. Thankfully it was caught early, but I have been left with a large scar on my back where they removed the cancer.
“I wish I had known earlier just how dangerous sunbeds can be and I count myself lucky that I was successfully treated.
“I’m definitely hoping to take part in Shine and raise as much money as possible to help Cancer Research UK advance the understanding of skin cancers like mine.”
Also joining Max Evans for the spectacular launch were leukaemia survivor Jay Hilson, 5, from Bathgate; Jeff Hurst, 62, from Edinburgh, who is fighting bowel and lung cancer; and Brian Stewart, 45, from Bonnybridge who is being treated for testicular cancer.
Every year, around 27,000 people in Scotland are given the devastating news that they have cancer.
By taking part in Shine Glasgow 2011, people across the country will be making a real difference to Scotland’s men, women and children who face the disease.
Olivia McLean, Cancer Research UK Shine Event Manager said: “We are calling on people in Scotland to help light up Glasgow on the night of September 10.
By entering Shine and pledging to raise money for research, they will be helping to bring light to people affected by cancer.”
Cancer Research UK is the largest funder of research into the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of cancer in the UK, with more than 4000 nurses, scientists and doctors working together to beat the disease.
Last year the charity invested more than £33 million on research in Scotland. Much of this funding goes towards the pioneering work at the Beatson.
Find out more and enter at www.cancerresearchuk.org/shine or call 0871 641 1430.