Nearly 3,000 raise funds in battle against cancer at Race for Life in Belfast
Two young girls who lost their mum to kidney cancer kick-started yesterday's Race for Life in Belfast.
Six-year-old Genevieve Graham and her sister Harriet (13) from Bangor were joined by dad Peter (45) as they launched the event which saw almost 3,000 running to help cure cancer.
The girls were aged just two and nine when doctors broke the devastating news that their mum Lisa had an incurable form of kidney cancer. She died in 2016 at the age of 39.
Race for Life is an inspiring series of events that raises millions of pounds each year to help fund crucial research.
Yesterday's event saw runners of all abilities compete in the 5k and 10k races at Stormont Estate in east Belfast, marking the first year men could take part.
Many of those who ran have been personally affected by the disease, which sees 25 people diagnosed every day in Northern Ireland.
Gary Crossan (37) from Banbridge ran to mark one year since finishing his treatment after being diagnosed with bowel cancer in October 2017. After undergoing surgery and chemotherapy, Gary took part with his wife Julie (36) and daughters Rowan (4) and two-year-old Reesa.
Also running was Rob Humphreys, a father-of-five from Ballymoney who was recently given the five-year all-clear from cancer.
Rob was diagnosed with stage four testicular cancer in 2013, which spread to his stomach, chest and lungs.
After successful treatment, Rob received the all-clear in December of last year but was advised that he may not be able to have any more children.
Since his diagnosis, he has welcomed three sons with his wife Danielle and took part in the Race for Life yesterday with his two oldest, nine-year-old Alfie and eight-year-old Reuben.
Frances Kippax-Geary, Cancer Research UK's Northern Ireland events manager, said: "We'd like to thank our VIP starters Genevieve and Harriet and everyone who came along to make Race for Life Belfast so special.
"Sadly, most of us know someone whose life has been touched by cancer. But thanks to the huge progress that has been made in the fight against the disease, more people in Northern Ireland are surviving cancer than ever before.
"Our aim is that one day everyone will beat cancer. The more research we can fund, the sooner that day will come."
Research shows that one in two people in the UK will be diagnosed with cancer at some stage in their lives, but more people are surviving as research progresses, with success rates doubling since the early 1970s.
Entries are still open for Cancer Research UK's Pretty Muddy and Pretty Muddy Kids, a 5K obstacle course on September 7 at Ormeau Park.