A HELENSBURGH family is leading the way for one of Scotland’s best-known cancer charities as a hugely popular annual fund-raising and awareness event goes virtual for the first time.

The Beatson Cancer Charity has decided to host its mass participation charity event online this August, and has changed to a virtual challenge this year to prioritise the health and safety of the community during the public health crisis.

And the Hicks family - mum Donna, dad Aron, children Connor, Ollie and Emily and their pooch Arlo - can’t wait to be taking part in the flagship event, a 10km challenge suitable for all ages and mobility and a guaranteed ‘feel-good’ day out.

Donna said: “I worked in social care for over 22 years, but since my youngest daughter was born I had noticed I was extremely fatigued.

“Turns out after a lot of tests that I was diagnosed with multiple Myeloma.

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“I was devastated. It coincided with the news of my mum passing from lung cancer which came shortly after my father’s death, also from cancer in late 2019.

“I managed to keep my diagnosis secret for a few weeks to prevent any further upset within the family.

“We want to do this as a family, as I have received wonderful support from my consultant Dr Soutar from Beatson West of Scotland Cancer hospital.”

Maisie McCormick, community fund-raising manager, added: “The last six years have seen more than 11,000 participants walk more than 70,000 miles - making it the west of Scotland’s biggest, best and most yellow sponsored walk.

“Each year, one in two people in the west of Scotland are affected by cancer.

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“Proceeds for this event will be dedicated to extension of support services and continued investment in vital research at Beatson Cancer hospital.

“This is our biggest event of the year and we are extremely disappointed not to be able to hold it in the normal format, but I very much hope this virtual experience will be just as much fun and encourage even more supporters to sign up.”

Sign up your friends, family (including pet dogs) and colleagues for the Off the Beatson Track 2020 by visiting beatsoncancercharity.org/otbt.

Everyone taking part will receive a T-shirt and specially designed medal to mark their participation in the event.

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