The legacy of an inspirational charity fundraiser has now reached more than £28,000 in support of cancer research at the University of Aberdeen.
Former library worker Elaine Shallcross, who spent 24 years at the University, dedicated her final years to raising vital funds to support potential new treatments for the disease.
Elaine passed away on June 10 just four months after she launched the Shuvit Cancer campaign.
Despite undergoing gruelling treatment for breast cancer which had sadly returned after several months in remission, she committed to learning a skateboarding move called a ‘shove it’ (or shuvit) despite never having stood on a board before.
Elaine’s cancer escalated and she never got to perform the stunt, which she had aimed to do by what would have been her 69th birthday on July 10.
To mark the day and all her efforts, skateboarders from around the world have committed to undertake the manoeuvre, which involves a 180 degrees board spin under the feet without it hitting the floor, on what is now being called World Shuvit Cancer Day.
The University’s Development Trust will be ‘cheerleading’ their efforts wearing the Bressie Beanie hats knitted by Elaine as part of an earlier fundraising effort to support the work of the University’s cancer research led by Professor Valerie Speirs.
Catherine Shanks, Community Stewardship Officer, explains: “Elaine’s fundraising began on a fairly small scale, she saw the beanie hats in the Winter Olympics and decided to start knitting and she also took part int the Aberdeen Kiltwalk with her daughter Jenny, raising several thousand pounds.
“But Elaine didn’t stop there, she wanted to do more and despite her own illness, began the Shuvit Cancer campaign.
“Her initial target was to raise £10,000 which she had found out was how much her treatment had cost. On February 11th – the 525th anniversary of the University – she smashed through that target.
“It was truly inspirational to see her attempting to learn this difficult manoeuvre on the skateboard all while undergoing arduous treatment herself.
“Elaine was an absolutely exceptional woman whose kindness enriched the lives of all those who met her. You could not help but be inspired by her commitment and determination to create something good from a situation that was so difficult for her personally.
“She was absolutely passionate about supporting the important breast cancer research underway at the University in the hope that future generations will not have to face the challenges that she did.
“This enthusiasm was infectious and her legacy will live on and inspire many of us in the fight against this horrible disease. We will wear our beanie hats with pride to show she is in all our thoughts.”
Tributes to Elaine, who retired from her post as Information Consultant at the library after 24 years in 2016 but returned on a part-time basis in February, have been made across the University.
Professor Speirs, Chair in Molecular Oncology at the University of Aberdeen, said: “Elaine was such an inspirational lady and her innovative approach to fundraising for cancer research at the University - especially her skateboarding challenge – brought much joy as well as vital donations.
“She always said she wanted to contribute to research that could benefit her daughters and granddaughter in years to come and she has certainly done that. It was always a pleasure to host her visits to my lab. She will be greatly missed and her legacy will live on in the work that we do.”
Professor George Boyne, Principal and Vice-Chancellor of the University of Aberdeen, added: “The University community was deeply saddened to hear that Elaine had passed away on 10 June. It is a privilege to acknowledge Elaine’s contribution to the University of Aberdeen and the wider community. Her incredible #shuvitcancer campaign has reached far and wide and touched the hearts of people around the world. The University will be honoured to play its part in marking the 10th of July – on what would have been Elaine’s 69th birthday - as World Shuvit Cancer Day.
“Elaine was a valued colleague in the University Library and friend to many. She came to know many more colleagues through her tireless dedication for fundraising for breast cancer research at the University. We are very grateful for her relentless efforts and the inspiration she provided to so many people.
“Our thoughts remain with Elaine’s family and friends.”
Rob Donelson, Executive Director of Advancement at the University of Aberdeen, said: “Elaine was a person of great courage and generosity. She had a vision and she was unflinching in her determination to achieve it. Her impact and inspiration were remarkable. We are privileged to have known her and grateful for her support.”
Donations to the Shuvit Cancer campaign can be made at https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/bressie
Elaine’s knitted beanies are also available to purchase by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org