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ScottishPower celebrates raising £40million for Cancer Research UK to help beat cancer

13/02/2024

ScottishPower today marks reaching a special £40million fundraising milestone for its long-standing charity partner Cancer Research UK as employees share their stories and call for more to be done to help beat cancer.

The green energy company, its customers and staff have supported Cancer Research UK since 2012 in its mission to help create a world where people can live longer, better lives free from the fear of cancer. Through a wide range of fundraising initiatives, it has been a key backer of the charity’s pioneering research and the work of over 4,000 scientists, doctors and nurses in the UK.

Cancer Research UK is the world’s leading cancer charity, dedicated to saving lives through research. The charity’s work on the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of cancer has helped save millions of lives.

Recent events have shown that cancer can affect anyone. Almost 1 in 2 of us will get cancer in our lifetimes, and Cancer Research UK has been at the heart of the progress that has already seen cancer survival in the UK double in the last 50 years.

One of those people to benefit from research is ScottishPower employee Mark McDowell. Mark’s life changed forever in 2018 when he was diagnosed with stage four cancer in his tonsil and liver.

Mark McDowel

Mark McDowell, Head of IT Architecture at ScottishPower, said: “I was only 41 years old and I had been living a healthy life, so my chances of recovery from tonsil cancer were good. That was until I went for a PET scan and it showed things weren’t as positive as we first thought. The specialist’s face fell when they realised cancer had spread to my liver, and I was told my chance of survival was nearer 20% than 95%.”

Mark was quickly referred to specialists in London and the Beatson West of Scotland Cancer Centre. He was treated with a complex combination of chemotherapy, radiotherapy and keyhole surgery. He was in the Beatson for eight weeks supported by a brilliant team of specialist doctors, nurses and radiographers amongst other medical experts. Thanks to their care, in April Mark plans to celebrate his fifth year without cancer.

“I felt lucky to be alive as I’ve seen so many people lose their lives to cancer – family, friends and colleagues. Cancer can affect anyone, with nearly one in two people in the UK diagnosed with it during their lifetime.

“Cancer is a highly complex disease and in the past it was often a death sentence – that’s why fundraising for life-saving research is so important. The medical advances in radiotherapy, PET and keyhole surgery saved my life but they’re things you don’t think about until you need them.

“We need charities like Cancer Research UK and their super star researchers to have the funding, investment and resources to find new treatments and cures.”

Dr Claire Paterson

Dr Claire Paterson is a clinical oncologist and radiotherapy researcher partly funded by Cancer Research UK. At the Beatson West of Scotland Cancer Centre in Glasgow, she is working on ways to improve radiotherapy for patients with head and neck cancer like Mark’s. To date, Cancer Research UK has invested £42.3 million in RadNet – a network of seven research centres dedicated to radiotherapy research, including the RadNet Glasgow Centre which supports Claire’s research.

She said: “We can target cancer far more precisely now, which makes treatment more effective and kinder for patients than it used to be decades ago. We hope that we can continue to make further improvements with more research.

“Mark’s story shows how painstaking research, conducted over many years, and advances in treatment can save lives. Cancer Research UK can only support large scale research programmes with generous donations and ScottishPower have raised a huge amount of money to support the charity’s vital mission.”

ScottishPower raises money through initiatives including its Help Beat Cancer energy tariff, employee and customer fundraising, as well as sponsorship of Race for Life events across the UK and Stand Up To Cancer campaigns. Every penny raised through these initiatives contributes towards Cancer Research UK's vision for a better future.

Ellie Cook runs Race for Life

ScottishPower employee Ellie Cook has joined hundreds of recent recruits to raise money for the charity. After losing her gran to lung cancer and supporting her dad through skin cancer, Ellie is getting a team together for Cancer Research UK’s Race for Life fundraising event at Glasgow Green in May.

Ellie Cook, a Marketing Graduate at ScottishPower, said: “Fundraising hits differently when it’s so close to home – that’s why I’m getting a 10K team together for Race for Life and challenging myself to train for it. This is something that affects us all. We’re raising money for lifesaving cancer research so family, friends and colleagues are really happy to sponsor us.”

Today, 2 in 4 people survive their cancer for at least 10 years. Cancer Research UK’s ambition is to accelerate progress so that by 2034, 3 in 4 people will survive their cancer for at least 10 years. ScottishPower is helping Cancer Research UK achieve this ambition with its fundraising efforts.

Andrew Ward, CEO of ScottishPower’s customer business, said: “I’m incredibly proud of what we’ve achieved for Cancer Research UK through our long-standing partnership. We started this journey with them in 2012 with the aim of raising £5million in three years and to have our incredible employees, suppliers and customers go on since then to raise £40million for life-saving research is nothing short of phenomenal. It’s clear to us that everybody values the ability to support the charity, all who have been involved should also be proud of their efforts in raising such a fantastic amount of money.

“Knowing the difference our partnership has made since it first began and how it has contributed to creating a world where people can live longer, better lives, free from the fear of cancer personally means so much to me. Both Mark and Ellie really bring the impact of the partnership alive through their own experiences and really show just how vital the funds being raised are.”

For more information on the partnership, visit scottishpower.co.uk/about-us/cancer-research-uk

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