It is estimated that 35,000 people are currently living with secondary breast cancer
Worldwide Cancer Research is marking Breast Cancer Awareness Month by thanking supporters for funding over 1,618 hours of research to end cancer
The charity is marking the end of the month by thanking a family from Glasgow for helping to raise £38,841.81 towards lifesaving research in memory of their sister, daughter, mum, and friend, Cathrin.
Mother of two Cathrin was just 34 when she was diagnosed with an aggressive form of breast cancer – HER2 positive – in 2016. In a matter of months, Cathrin received chemotherapy, radiotherapy, had a mastectomy, and was offered a new drug as part of a clinical trial. But whilst the drug was treating the cancer in her chest, an onset of new symptoms were not side effects of the drug, but in fact three tumours in her brain (secondary breast cancer), and in May 2020, Cathrin passed away.
It is estimated that 35,000 people are currently living with secondary breast cancer – breast cancer that has spread to other parts of the body – in the UK.
Fronting the charity’s spring appeal earlier this year, Cathrin’s mother, friends, and family bravely opened up about the family’s experience, and how cancer research gives them hope for the future, resulting in £32,841.81 in donations.
Anne Logue was devastated when she lost her daughter Cathrin in May last year. Just two months after Cathrin’s passing, Anne and an army of others raised over £6,000 in fundraising donations for Worldwide Cancer Research by taking on a 200km walk around their hometown, Paisley.
The 200km fundraiser that the family embarked on is equivalent to an old family-favourite walk in Spain – the Camino de Santiago – the same location of the Worldwide Cancer Research funded Valiente lab, where Dr Manual Valiente and his team are dedicated to researching secondary breast cancer.
Anne said: “Cat was incredibly driven, intelligent, and hilariously funny. She had such a strong personality, which made it even more difficult to watch her lose that as time went on. It was three years into the journey when we knew for sure that we were out of options. Then my beautiful, bubbly and bright Cat passed away on 7 May 2020. It felt like I lost a part of myself that day; it’s been the most terrifying and lonely time of my life.
“When a friend of Cathrin’s suggested we get in touch with Worldwide Cancer Research after reading about them in a newspaper, the charity was quick to tell us about Dr Manuel Valiente’s research project. It’s exactly the kind of research that could maybe have helped Cathrin, and it’s so important that people continue to donate to cancer research so that projects like this one can continue.
“Being able to support Worldwide Cancer Research this year has given me a glimmer of hope for the future. Hope that researchers will continue to make breakthroughs that will lead to desperately needed new treatment options.
“People don’t know what to do or say when you go through something like this but supporting cancer research gives everyone something they can do to help. I encourage people to give what they can to cancer research; it’s the only thing that will end cancer and stop families like mine from experiencing the pain and devastation that we’ve felt.”
Moved by the family’s fundraising and bravery, Dr Manuel Valiente said: “For us, as researchers, to see that we are getting support for our research directly from families like Cathrin’s is very special because, in the end, we exist for everyone who’s affected by cancer. To have their trust is very inspiring.”
“Cancers that spread to the brain can be very difficult to treat; their location makes surgery challenging, and there is a distinct lack of drugs available. Whilst radiation therapy is an option, it sadly doesn’t benefit every patient. That’s why my team and I are investigating a particular protein in cancer cells that resists radiotherapy and looking for ways to ‘switch-off’ the cancer’s resistance and improve survival.”
All of the money raised by the family will go towards funding the Edinburgh-based charity’s research, backing the brightest minds around the world in their quest to find new ways to prevent, diagnose and treat cancer. The fundraising total 0f £38,841.81 – from the appeal and fundraising combined – will support over 1,618 hours of lifesaving research.
Since it was established in 1979, Worldwide Cancer Research has funded over £200million of research in over 30 countries to start new cancer cures. The charity is currently funding three secondary breast cancer research projects, including Dr Manuel Valiente’s, worth £629,637 in funding. One in Italy is trying to identify ways to kill dormant breast cancer cells which may remain after successful treatment, and the other, in Israel, hoping to find a way to stop breast cancer spreading to the bone.
Dr Helen Rippon, chief executive of Worldwide Cancer Research, said: “Devastatingly, stories like Cathrin’s are far too common. Around 165,000 people still die from cancer in the UK every year. That’s over 450 a day. And although we’re making huge strides forward, there’s still so much to be done. But we can’t do it alone.
“We’d like to say a massive thank you to Cathrin’s family for fronting this campaign, for raising over £38,000 towards cancer research and helping us continue to make our ground-breaking research possible. I know that with your support, we will keep starting new cancer cures that will one day end cancer.”
For more information about Worldwide Cancer Research or to make a find out how you can help to start new cancer cures, visit the charity's website.