Belfast Telegraph

Tuesday 22 July 2014

Schoolgirl Stands Up To Cancer

A schoolgirl has staged a fundraising event to help her mother, who is suffering from breast cancer

A 10-year-old girl has spent an entire school day on her feet as a tribute to her mum who is battling terminal breast cancer.

Abbi Blair rallied five friends to join in the challenge for Cancer Research UK's national Stand Up To Cancer campaign.

No one was prouder than her mother Claire who was given two weeks to live seven years ago and is still undergoing tough treatment for the cancer doctors say cannot be beaten.

"I think it's absolutely fantastic Abbi's chose to do this entirely on her own," said Claire, from Stowmarket, Suffolk.

"She's already raised £250. I'm so proud of her."

Abbi, who attends Bacton Community Middle School in Bacton, Suffolk, said: "A lot of people start fundraising in memory of others when it's already too late.

"I don't want to do this in memory of anyone, I want to do it to help people living with cancer like my mum. It's about making a difference now."

Last year, Cancer Research UK and Channel 4 joined forces to launch Stand Up To Cancer for the first time in the UK and raised £8 million for research, and this year people of all ages were urged to literally stand up again and get sponsored to help beat cancer sooner.

Abbi chose to complete her entire school day standing up but supporters can choose exactly how, when and where they make their stand.

Claire says she owes the last seven years to research after being prescribed the drug Herceptin shortly after being diagnosed with advanced breast cancer in 2006.

Cancer Research UK's work is behind many important drugs including herceptin, tamoxifen and carboplatin which have saved the lives of thousands of cancer patients.

"Herceptin is the reason I'm still here," said Claire. "That's why I'm passionate about research - without it people like me wouldn't stand a chance."

Since her diagnosis in 2006 Claire has undergone chemotherapy five times but incredibly, the first time she found a lump in her breast was in December 2011.

Now she is part of a new research study which involves having a new chemotherapy drug once every three weeks to try and stop the cancer spreading further.

Paula Young, Cancer Research UK's spokeswoman for Suffolk, said: "Abbi is a true inspiration and a credit to her family.

"Claire has been battling metastatic breast cancer most of Abbi's life and the family always support Race for Life.

"For Abbi to then rally her friends and Stand Up to Cancer all day at school shows exceptional maturity and determination. We wish her the very best of luck with her challenge."

Abbi's headteacher Ian Belham added: "This fundraiser has been entirely driven by Abbi and her friends. I think it's fantastic and their motivation makes it all the more powerful."

This year there are lots of ways to get involved and Stand Up To Cancer. A free fundraising kit is available with great ideas on how to raise money at home or at work.

For more information about Stand Up To Cancer visit: www.standuptocancer.org.uk

To sponsor Abbi visit: www.justgiving.com/abbi-blair1

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