Researching the cures


Lottie’s fundraising walk with Grandpa – 300 miles away

They may be 300 miles apart, but that won’t stop Lottie Cooper (12) from joining forces – albeit remotely - with her Grandpa Ray, to complete a fundraising walk together.

Lottie, from Haslemere in West Sussex and her Grandpa, Ray Hall (75), from Hexham in Northumberland, will both set off for a 2-mile walk at 10am on Sunday 03 May to raise funds for the charity Pancreatic Cancer Research Fund.

Lottie will complete her 2-mile walk with her family in the field attached to their house and Ray – who was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in September last year – will complete his 2 miles in stages throughout the day in the back garden. The pair will stay in touch throughout to check on progress.

The idea for the fundraiser came about from a school biology project that Lottie was tasked with choosing and researching herself. Ray had explained to Lottie and her brother Harry that his cancer had been diagnosed too late to be cured, so Lottie chose pancreatic cancer as her project topic. She researched the disease and interviewed Ray so that she could understand more about his illness, ultimately winning a school prize for her project.

She says: “Grandpa is an amazing person and he’s being so brave and positive. We’re all very proud of him. When I was doing my research, I found out that there is no test that can diagnose pancreatic cancer early, and if there was, it would have given Grandpa a chance of being cured. Then I discovered that an early detection test was being developed by Pancreatic Cancer Research Fund. That’s when I decided to raise money to help them because a test will make a big difference in helping other people in the future.”

Says Lottie’s mum Nikki: “Lottie and dad share a birthday – 22 October – so they’ve always had a special connection. She’s a very thoughtful granddaughter and she knows that this fundraiser is not just raising money for research into this devastating disease, it is also helping her Grandma and Grandpa to feel connected to us during this lockdown period.

“The timing of dad’s illness is terribly difficult because we want to spend precious time with him but he has to isolate. It’s given us all something positive we can do together, even though we’re so far away – and it’s really giving dad a boost. Both he and Lottie love seeing the messages on the JustGiving pages from everyone!”

Lottie’s fundraising plans have been supported by her school, Prior’s Field in Surrey, which has been helping to spread the word locally, and Ray’s friends in Hexham are also taking part as well as friends and family in London, Spain, Dubai and Australia.

Lottie originally hoped to raise £200 by asking people to donate a minimum of £2 to join in the walk – wherever they are – but she has already raised over £1100.

Maggie Blanks, CEO of Pancreatic Cancer Research Fund said: “Lottie’s a very smart young lady to realise the importance of early detection for pancreatic cancer! At the moment, surgery to remove the tumour is the only potential cure, and an early detection test would enable many more patients to be eligible for surgery. We’ve loved hearing about Lottie’s fantastic and inventive fundraiser and the money she raises will help us to progress our work to develop a test as quickly as possible.”

If you’d like to help Lottie and Ray’s fundraiser, please go to