A summer walk across Hampstead Heath to raise money for cancer charity

HUNDREDS of people strolling across Hampstead Heath next month will have an extra spring in their step knowing each stride will be raise a bit more money for a charity close to the hearts of thousands.

Macmillan Cancer Support is organising a May 8 walk – which will be an easy three miles or a more challenging six depending on fitness. At least 200 people of all ages will be raising money for the charity.

The walk coincides with the charity’s biggest ever single donation of �10million which will go towards the creation of a specialist cancer centre in north London.

The Macmillan Cancer Centre at University College London Hospital in Euston will cost �100million overall and is due to open in 2012. The �10million donation from Macmillan will go towards the building of the centre and provision of services as well as paying for people to work from the centre and into the community.

The new cancer centre will be the first of its kind in the NHS and redefine the ways patients are treated, using the best diagnostic and treatment techniques to improve survival rates.

Money raised from the walk will also go towards this building, as well as providing vital local services from specialist nurses and doctors, to help and advice for people who have financial problems as a result of their cancer.

Anna Bidmead from Golders Green is doing the six mile walk in memory of her grandmother who died of cancer at Christmas. She said: “I think it’s nice to feel that you can doing something practical to raise money, before my grandma passed away she was really helped a lot by the information centre at the Royal Free Hospital so it was really good to do something local.

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“I’ll sell some cakes and do little bits and bobs to raise money, so many people are affected by it I’m sure people will be generous.

“It’s nice that this event doesn’t avoid any running too – I’m not the most active of people so a walk seemed like the perfect compromise.”

As part of the support for the new development at UCLH, Macmillan will provide a Wellbeing Centre within the building where people affected by cancer can find the best information and support, including advice around coping with personal and financial impact of cancer and returning to work.

The Wellbeing Centre will also provide access to complementary therapies, and services to address the physical and emotional affects of cancer at every stage – from diagnosis until after treatment has ended.