A decade ago a small group of Aberdeenshire women came up with an idea to organise a sponsored walk to raise cash for local breast cancer research.
Eight Moonlight Prowls later and £625,717 has been raised which is funding six streams of innovative breast cancer research and has helped kit out a state-of-the-art lab at the University of Aberdeen.
Further areas of University breast cancer research are set to benefit from money raised following the ninth Moonlight Prowl which takes place in Fraserburgh on the night of June 7.
Women can still register to take part in the walk which can either be six or 13 miles long. Registration closes at noon on May 24.
Margaret-Jane Cardno, one of the Prowl organisers, said: “We organised the first walk because we were really keen to raise money for Aberdeen-based research into a disease that affects so many of us and it just took off from there.
“There are many fantastic fundraising events out there but what’s a bit different about our walk is that the whole town really gets behind it making it a real community event.
“People in Fraserburgh who live on the walk route decorate their gardens and are out cheering the walkers on. Businesses in the town also get behind the Moonlight Prowl by putting up decorations too. The colour pink really pops up across the town.
“On top of that we also have an amazing team of ladies who provide an incredible array of home baking for our walkers before and after the Prowl. It really is an occasion that has the backing of the people of Fraserburgh.”
Professor Steve Heys, who heads up the breast cancer programme at the University of Aberdeen, said: “The Moonlight Prowl women and everyone who takes part or sponsors them have made an enormous difference to the research we are conducting here at the University of Aberdeen.
“We have six programmes of work underway thanks to Prowl money. This includes the recruitment of over 2,000 women for an investigation into diet, lifestyle and genes and their role in the development of breast cancer.
“Prowl funds have also helped us buy two pieces of equipment that are absolutely invaluable in helping us look at how cancer cells multiply in the body and how diet and lifestyle choices can lead to genetic changes altering the cells.
“Weight gain is a common and persistent problem for many who have had breast cancer and this is associated with an increased risk of the disease returning and other health problems. One of our earlier studies involving patients saw many saying they would have benefited from information about maintaining a healthy weight following their diagnosis and treatment. Prowl money is helping us develop a weight loss programme for breast cancer patients.
“Walk money is also helping fund our team’s investigations into breast cancer stem cells that live within a tumour and are believed to play a critical role in disease recurrence and spread.
“It is also helping fund research looking at ways in which spirituality, meaning and hopefulness can help ease the fear and loneliness of breast cancer while offering new grounds for healing.
“We can’t thank enough the organisers of the Prowl, the women who take part and all those who support the walkers because without all of their support research into breast cancer would not be so wide-ranging and innovative as it currently is in Aberdeen.”
Notes to Editors:
Professor Steve Heys is available for interview. To arrange, contact Jennifer Phillips on 01224 273174.