Prospect Park is Pretty in Pink and raises £180,000 for charity

Reading’s Prospect Park turned into a sea of pink earlier today as 3,000 people from all age ranges took part in Cancer Research UK’s “Race For Life”, a 5-kilometre course which weaved around the Berkshire parkland. Pre-event warm-up and entertainment was provided courtesy of Heart FM to get everyone in the mood and fired up ready to take part.

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Merchandise stalls, face painting, food, confectionery outlets and more lined the field at Prospect Park and made for a fun family day out, in addition to raising vital funds for research into cancer cure and treatment. A one-minute silence was impeccably observed by all who attended before the event got underway with a burst of purple confetti streamers which festooned across the crowds.

Michelle Giles from Burghfield Common was at the event today. She raced for herself, her mum, grandmother and family friend called Maureen. Michelle said: “I’ve raised £180 for today. It’s my second ‘Race For Life’; I did it last year too. I found a lump last year and was treated. Only yesterday I found another lump, so I’m hopeful this too can be treated.”

Heart FM breakfast DJ Michelle Jordan was also at the event, hosting the entertainment ahead of the race. She was also taking part and commented: “This is my sixth – and final – ‘Race For Life’. It all started as a bit of a joke really when my co-host Matt set me up to do races all across the Thames Valley. Before I knew it, Matt had Lea Blake from Cancer Research UK on the phone whilst we were live on air, so I couldn’t really say no!”

Cancer has profoundly affected Michelle over the years by the deaths of family and friends, and she is deeply passionate about fund-raising for cancer research. She added: “My Aunty Judy and Uncle John have passed with cancer, and I lost my grandmother to breast cancer two years ago. When I was younger I used to play netball; even my former netball coach has had cancer and died from it. It seems that anyone I’ve ever really liked and loved has been cruelly snatched away from me before their time because of cancer. I’m sick of it and something needs to be done!” Doing six ‘Race For Life’ events is no easy achievement and Michelle concluded: “All in all, I’ve run about 40k. I’m now tired, so this is my last event, but I’ve done my bit. If someone said ‘eat 40 cakes’ I’d have said ‘yeah!’, but this has been a hard task to do. I’m glad I’ve done it though!”

Pictures: Lynda Bowyer

A team by the name of “Riz United” were running today in memory of their relative Rizwan Khan from Reading. Rizwan was just 27 years of age when he passed away from a very aggressive form of cancer called sarcoma on July 31, 2012. His cousin, Ambreen Hussain said: “Riz was a brilliant family member. His life was cut so short so soon by cancer, so me and my relatives are out here as we have been since he died to raise money in Race For Life events. Riz was here at the 2012 event barely a week before he died. We’ve done last year’s and this year’s event in his memory and today have raised £800 for Cancer Research UK.”

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Race For Life is a series of fund-raising events for women only and is organised by Cancer Research UK. The events involve running, jogging or walking a 5-kilometre or 10-kilometre course and raising sponsorship, and all monies raised fund cancer research into 200 types of cancer. Area Event Manager Lea Blake said: “Race For Life has been taking place here in Reading since the start of this millennium. Over the years it’s grown to the event you see here today. It’s just one of the many things we do at Cancer Research UK to raise funds and awareness for our charity, as we do not receive any governmental funding in order to operate.”

To find out more about Race For Life and discover events taking place near you, contact or telephone Cancer Research UK on 0300 123 0770 during office hours.

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