WORLDWIDE Cancer Research employee aims to raise over £2,000 to start cancer cures after the all-clear.
A dad of two from Edinburgh is preparing to run his very first marathon in support of Edinburgh-based charity Worldwide Cancer Research, four years after his own cancer diagnosis.
Neil Woodley, 38, was diagnosed with testicular cancer in January 2017, after getting a lump he was concerned about checked by his GP in December 2016. Treatment involving surgery and a round of chemotherapy followed, and by the summer of 2017, he was given the all-clear.
Neil’s experience made him want to do more to help advance cancer research, resulting in him volunteering for a cancer charity and then joining Worldwide Cancer Research in 2020 as Head of Philanthropy and Partnerships after a ten-year career in recruitment.
With marathon training in full flow, Neil plans to join the charity’s 25-strong team of runners in London in October to help raise thousands to fund new cancer cures and support colleagues in their quest to find new ways to prevent, diagnose and treat cancer.
Speaking of his diagnosis and the time that followed, Neil said:
“I noticed a lump and decided to get it checked out – and I’m glad I did. My GP referred me to a specialist at The Western straight away. It all happened pretty quickly. It was a really scary time, especially as my youngest son, Arlo, was only a baby at the time. I couldn’t help thinking about his future and hoping I’d be there for him.
“I had surgery and one course of chemo as part of my treatment, and I was in the clear by summer the same year. I’m so grateful to the NHS and everyone who looked after me along the way – I really felt I was in the best hands possible.
“When I got the all-clear, I had a bit of an awakening. I asked myself, ‘Am I happy?’, and realised I wanted to make some changes in my life.
“I love being part of the team at Worldwide Cancer Research. Not only am I right at the heart of the charity’s ambitious journey to start cancer cures by funding new and ground-breaking research projects, but I’m helping create a world without cancer – for my family and me but also for society as a whole. It’s an amazing feeling.
“The research we fund now could be the next life-changing – and lifesaving – discovery helping those living with cancer in the future.”
In 2018, a year after his cancer diagnosis, Neil ran the Edinburgh half marathon and since then has been pretty competitive with himself, determined to shave time off his personal best.
Speaking about his running journey, Neil said:
“I hated running for most of my life, but I’ve grown to love it. It’s a real escape – I’ll lose myself in a good podcast or playlist and just go for it.
“My first proper run was a 5k around the Kelpies. I was a complete novice – it was a freezing night, and I showed up in a t-shirt, shorts and really bad trainers while everyone else was wearing full-length thermal gear.
“Running the London Marathon is firmly on my bucket list, so it’s a real milestone for me. And I’m especially proud to join the growing number of Curestarters who are supporting Worldwide Cancer Research with their incredible fundraising efforts.
“Every step along the route means we’re one step closer to helping people that are living with cancer – that’s what will keep me going.”
For more information about Worldwide Cancer Research or to find out how you can help start new cancer cures, please visit: https://www.worldwidecancerresearch.org/support-us/donate/.
To support Neil’s fundraising, go to his Virgin Money Giving page.