Courageous mum Margaret Duffy has been chosen to help launch World Cancer Day in Scotland after overcoming the disease.

She’ll watch with pride as the ScottishPower headquarters building where her daughter Marise Nelson works is lit up in pink and blue this Tuesday February 4th in support of all those with cancer and in memory of loved ones. The illumination of the landmark offices on the corner of St Vincent Street and India Street in Glasgow city centre for 24 hours for World Cancer Day will 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 bespoke, ‘Help Beat Cancer’ energy tariffs.

Every hour, around four people are diagnosed with cancer in Scotland. Retired English teacher Margaret of King’s Park, Glasgow who has nine grandchildren knows exactly how vital the power of research is to give families more tomorrows with their loved ones. She’s been successfully treated for ovarian cancer and breast cancer. Now she’s sharing her remarkable story and urging Scots to wear a Unity band on World Cancer Day to show solidarity with those affected by the disease. The Unity bands come in pink, navy or blue and are available in all Cancer Research UK shops as well as online for a suggested donation of £2. World Cancer Day is an international movement, uniting people around the world on February 4 to beat cancer.

Margaret, 78, said: “Almost a miracle, that’s what it felt like when a scan showed that I was finally clear of ovarian cancer.

“The ovarian tumour had been 5cm in size when it was diagnosed and I had chemotherapy, surgery then when the cancer came back twice more chemotherapy. I have a wonderful family, kind and supportive friends but it felt frightening. My love of life kept me going and it wasn’t until years later when I was told I had breast cancer that for the first time I actually thought I might die from cancer.

“Now I’m through cancer again I feel like I’ve been given a second chance. It’s thanks to research I’m still here today. I want everyone across Scotland to show their support on World Cancer Day and help Cancer Research UK to tackle this devastating disease. Just by wearing a Unity Band we can all make a real difference to people with cancer.”

Margaret who was diagnosed with ovarian cancer in 2009 endured almost three years of treatment. It was a shock in the summer of 2018 when she discovered a lump in her right breast. After tests at the New Victoria hospital in Glasgow, Margaret was told she had breast cancer. She had ten sessions of chemotherapy treatment and was given the breast cancer drug Herceptin every three weeks.

Cancer Research UK funded scientists helped establish the link between some breast cancers and certain proteins on the surface of cells that fuel their growth. Their work was a crucial early step in the development of Herceptin which offers thousands of women a better chance of surviving.

Margaret’s treatment worked so well that by October last year after surgery to remove the flesh around where the tumour had been no remaining cancer cells were discovered. The final step was 15 sessions of radiotherapy treatment which Margaret completed at the Beatson West of Scotland Cancer Centre in Glasgow on January 24 this year.

It was an unforgettable moment as Margaret rang the bell at the hospital to mark the end of treatment. She was cheered on by her children, Frank Duffy, 55, Marise Nelson, 53, and Collette Gowing, 48. And as a surprise they even arranged for Margaret’s younger son, Neil Duffy, 51, to facetime the family live from Canberra, Australia where he now lives.

Margaret said: “It was a lovely, emotional surprise to have all my kids waiting for me when I came out of that final radiotherapy session.

“We have some special family times coming up and I’m off on holiday to France in a few weeks. I’m determined to make every second count.”

In the UK, one in two people will be diagnosed with the disease at some point in their lifetime**. World Cancer Day is an international movement, uniting people around the world on February 4 to beat cancer.

Andrew Ward, CEO UK Retail at ScottishPower, said: “We’re delighted to support World Cancer Day 2020 and Cancer Research UK is so close to our customers’ and employees’ hearts.

“In 2012 we began our partnership with the charity and we’re very proud of what we’ve achieved in supporting their life-saving work. Over the years our employees have taken part in a wide range of fundraising activities including Race for Life events To date, we’ve raised over £25 million – and we’re not stopping there!”

The good news is, thanks to research, more people are surviving cancer than ever before. Survival has doubled in the last 40 years in the UK and Cancer Research UK’s work has been at the heart of that progress.

But there is still so much more work to do. That’s why this World Cancer Day, the charity is calling on everyone to raise money to help accelerate progress and save more lives.

Lisa Adams, Cancer Research UK spokeswoman for Scotland, said: “We’d like to thank Margaret, Marise and family for their support and for showing how important it is for everyone to wear a Unity Band on World Cancer Day.

“Our research has played a role in developing 8 of the world’s top 10 cancer drugs and we’re working every day to find new ways to prevent, diagnose and treat the disease. But we can’t do it alone.

“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 eight years and they should feel immensely proud of this achievement.”

To get a Unity Band and make a donation, visit a Cancer Research UK shop in Scotland or go online at cruk.org/worldcancerday.

Main Photo: (Left to Right) Margaret Duffy with her daughter Marise Nelson