Celebrities are swapping dry land for the waterways around Greater Manchester as they support an epic canoe challenge to raise money for Stand Up To Cancer.
Judge Rinder, Michelle Heaton, Hollyoaks’ Anna Passey and Rory Douglas Speed, One Show presenter Michelle Ackerley and Key 103’s Mike Toolan are among celebrities taking part in the charity fundraising event which sees celebrities teaming up with cancer survivors as part of a five-day, 120-mile canal route across the North West.
They will partner with the paddlers, including Altrincham sports store manager David Sing – who beat testicular cancer – each day to help them reach the finish line.
Judge Rinder and Hollyoaks’ Anna Passey and Rory Douglas Speed will support the paddlers between Middlewich and Warrington on Tuesday (26 September) before passing the oars to TV personality Michelle Heaton, Gogglebox star Nikki Tapper, Alderley Edge TV presenter Michelle Ackerley and Key 103’s Mike Toolan who will take on the Warrington to Worsley leg of the challenge paddling through Sale and along the Bridgwater Canal on Wednesday (27 September).
Supporters will cheer the canoeists on at special Manchester cheer points including at Sale Waterside at midday on Wednesday 27 September.
Michelle Heaton said: “Taking part in the Great Canoe Challenge was a no-brainer for me. When I discovered I was a carrier of a faulty version of the BRCA2 gene, it was devastating. I felt like my world had been turned upside down. I want to do everything I can to help to raise money for research because I know it’s the key to defeating this disease. I hope that everyone across the North West really gets behind us and shows their support. It’s going to be a tough challenge but I’m really looking forward to sharing stories, having some fun along the way and being involved in something I feel so deeply passionate about.”
Altrincham Sports Direct manager David was diagnosed with testicular cancer in 2012 when a scan at Fazakerley Hospital – now Aintree University Hospital found two tumours – the size of a small pebble – in his left testicle.
The 30-year-old said: “It was a shock when I was diagnosed with cancer but thanks to research and treatment I’m still here today.
“I was only 25 at the time and cancer wasn’t really something which was on my radar back then but now I think it’s really important for young men to talk about cancer because although our cancer risk goes up as we get older, it’s not just something which affects older people. For me, my motivation to Stand Up To Cancer is to encourage others to do the same. By taking part in the Great Canoe Challenge I’m helping to turn my cancer experience into a positive. Hopefully it will show people that there can be life after a cancer diagnosis and I want to inspire as many people as possible to support Stand Up To Cancer’s amazing research.”
The challenge is in aid of Stand Up To Cancer, a joint fundraising campaign from Cancer Research UK and Channel 4, which aims to speed up the translation of incredible scientific discoveries into innovative cancer medicine, tests and treatment.
As the countdown starts to the challenge, the celebrities are calling on men and women across the city to show their support by donating online atwww.standuptocancer.org.uk/canoe
Starting in Chester on Monday 25 September, the 120-mile route will take in the waterways of Warrington and Manchester before culminating at Liverpool’s Albert Dock on Friday 29 September.
Alison Barbuti, Cancer Research UK’s spokesperson for the North West, said: “We are delighted that so many celebs are picking up her paddle and supporting such an epic challenge for Stand Up To Cancer. The Great Canoe Challenge aims to inspire people across the North West to join the rebellion against cancer and raise funds for life-saving research. Our team of heroic paddlers and army of celebrity supporters are set to power their canoes towards the finish line. We’re calling on people to show their support and help fund game-changing research. Money raised will fund cutting-edge research that accelerates new cancer treatments and tests to UK patients to ultimately save more lives. One in two of us in the UK will develop cancer in our lifetime, so now is the time to act.”
Since it was launched in the UK in 2012, Stand Up To Cancer has raised more than £38million to fund over 40 clinical trials and research projects.
These include the development of the ‘chemo package’ to deliver treatment at the best time for the patient; testing arsenic as a weapon to make cancer implode and using viruses to seek and destroy cancer cells.
Alison added: “Around 41,700 people are diagnosed with cancer in the North West every year*. Every day, scientists and researchers work tirelessly to beat the disease, and with the support of the people of Manchester, we can continue to fund ground-breaking research to help save more lives, more quickly. There are so many ways to get involved so we’re calling on people across the city to stand up, raise cash and take cancer out.”
Stand Up To Cancer is supported by a host of celebrities from TV, film and radio including Davina McCall, Alan Carr, Bill Bailey, Edith Bowman and Kirstie Allsopp. This autumn Channel 4 will once again bring the brightest stars from show business together in a dedicated season of Stand Up To Cancer programming.
To support Judge Rinder, Michelle and their fellow paddlers on the Great Canoe Challenge and donate £5 or £10, text CANOE5 or CANOE10 to 70404** or donate online at www.standuptocancer.org.uk/canoe