An inspirational woman who faces surgery for brain cancer just days before Christmas has thanked ScottishPower for the life-saving impact employees are making.
Heather Duff, 33, will undergo the nine-hour procedure called a craniotomy at the Western General Hospital, Edinburgh on 9th December. It will be the third brain surgery for Heather who was guest of honour at an event in Glasgow hosted by broadcaster Cat Cubie to mark the partnership between ScottishPower and Cancer Research UK.
ScottishPower has raised over £25 million for Cancer Research UK through a variety of initiatives and events including sponsorship of Race for Life, Stand Up To Cancer, employee and supplier fundraising, as well as creating a bespoke, ‘Help Beat Cancer’ energy tariff.
Photo: Heather post brain surgery September 2018
Heather said: “I hope that one day we will understand more about brain cancer and this will empower scientists and doctors with the knowledge they need to find a cure that will benefit people from all over the world.
“I’d like to thank all at ScottishPower who work relentlessly to raise funds which allows research to continue. Research to help bring forward the day when all cancers are cured is what gives my family, my friends and me the hope we need.”
Former Glasgow Academy pupil Heather who is a fundraising manager for Cancer Research UK was successfully treated for cervical cancer aged 27 but in May 2018 was diagnosed with brain cancer. Heather who now lives in Winchburgh near Edinburgh with her husband Gordon Duff, 38, and pet dogs Parsnip and Pumpkin has also reached out to other people with cancer through her blog, www.fucancer.co.uk.
Every hour, around four people in Scotland hear the news that they have cancer. But cancer survival in the UK has doubled since the early 1970s and Cancer Research UK’s work has been at the heart of that progress.
Photo: (Left to Right) Heather Duff who faces surgery before Christmas for a brain tumour, broadcaster Cat Cubie and cancer scientist Professor Steve Pollard
Photo Credit: Mark Anderson
ScottishPower launched its partnership with Cancer Research UK in 2012.
Heather Smyth, Head of Marketing Communications at ScottishPower said: “We’re delighted to support Cancer Research UK and it’s been a privilege to hear from Heather today.
“In 2012 we began our partnership with Cancer Research UK and since then have been proud to support their life-saving work. Over the years our employees have taken part in sponsored runs, Pretty Muddy events and have been passionate about raising money for an important cause. To date, we have raised over £25 million for the charity- and we’re not stopping there!”
Groundbreaking scientists Professor Steven Pollard and Professor Andrew Biankin who are both based in Scotland were headline speakers at the event yesterday hosted by ScottishPower.
Professor Steve Pollard and a team from the Cancer Research UK Edinburgh Centre were awarded £5.8 million from Cancer Research UK to find new ways to treat brain tumours. Professor Pollard leads a team of scientists from the UK, the US and Canada carrying out pioneering research in ‘glioblastoma’- a fast growing type of brain cancer. Their goal is to uncover new drug targets and strategies that could prevent brain tumours from returning.
Professor Pollard said: “Treating brain tumours remains a real challenge.
“They take the lives of far too many people each year.”
Photo: (Left to Right) Heather Smyth of ScottishPower, Heather Duff, presenter Cat Cubie, Caro Evans of Cancer Research UK & cancer scientist Professor Steve Pollard
Photo Credit: Mark Anderson
Every year in Scotland around 1,000 people are diagnosed with brain tumours and around 470 people in Scotland die from brain tumours every year.
The audience also heard from Professor Biankin who leads PRECISION-Panc, a project which Cancer Research UK is investing £10 million in to develop personalised treatment and improve survival for pancreatic cancer- one of the hardest cancers to treat.
Professor Biankin said: “Pancreatic cancer is an inherently aggressive disease and it’s often diagnosed late, which puts it a step ahead of us when we come to treat it.
“We need to be more ambitious and hit the disease hard and fast with new approaches. We need to diagnose these cancers swiftly so patients can get on to clinical trials which may help them. Not all cancers are the same. Precision medicine is about tailoring treatments to an individual’s cancer. This is about matching people with pancreatic cancer to the trial most likely to work for them.”
Professor Biankin who was recruited from Australia to work at the University of Glasgow in Scotland in 2014 leads a team helping to unearth the genetic and molecular secrets hidden within the biggest collection of pancreatic cancer tumours in the world. His findings could lead to better ways of matching therapies to patients and uncover new treatment.
Last year Cancer Research spent around £38 million in Scotland on some of the UK’s leading scientific and clinical research. Glasgow is home to the Cancer Research UK Beatson Institute where scientists are exploring how cancer cells grow, survive and spread.
Caro Evans, Director of Partnerships at Cancer Research UK said: “We are so grateful to ScottishPower who have raised over £25 million for Cancer Research UK.
“Thanks to their Help Beat Cancer energy tariff and incredible employee and supplier fundraising, ScottishPower has shown absolute dedication to the partnership over the past seven years and they should feel immensely proud of this achievement.”