Bishopbriggs cancer survivor who lost mum to disease leads walk to raise funds

Caring Andrena Bain of Bishopbriggs who overcame cancer but lost her mum to the disease, led an inspirational night-time walk at the weekend to help save other lives.

PICTURES COURTISEY OF CANCER RESEARCH UK (First use only, no removal of caption). Breast cancer survivor Andrena Bain who lost her mum to cancer is helping to launch the Shine Night Walk Glasgow, a 10k night walk through the city streets for Cancer Research UK It takes place on Saturday September 18.

She joined more than 800 people who lit up the city centre streets of Glasgow in fairy lights and neon on Saturday, September 18 at Cancer Research UK’s Shine Night Walk.

Sponsorship money is still coming in but the 10K which saw people of all ages and abilities uniting through light to help beat cancer has already raised around £80,000 for life saving research.

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Andrena, 53, was heartbroken after her mum Anne Green died from oesophageal cancer aged 73 in 2019.

Cancer survivor Andrena Bain with her mum Anne Green

That’s why she vowed to set up a five-person strong team named, ‘The Jolly Green Giants’ to complete Scotland’s only Shine Night Walk.

Andrena said: “We all have our superheroes, some of them are very much alive and some are the stars that shine brightly from above.

“Taking part in Shine gave us a chance to celebrate them, to walk, laugh, sparkle and shine for all of them.

"My heart broke when I realised my mum was not going to recover from cancer the second time around.

"We had to make the most of the time we had left together. I went in to logical and practical mode to care for her. Losing her was the toughest thing.

"Mum would be proud of what we are doing to help make a difference to the lives of people with cancer today.”

Money raised will help scientists find new ways to treat the disease. Participants could choose to raise money for the area of research closest to their hearts.

These included prostate cancer, breast cancer, lung cancer, brain cancer, children’s cancers and leukaemia. Or they could simply give their backing to Cancer Research UK’s overall work.

Participants set off from the SEC Centre on a route which crossed over Bell’s Bridge, passed BBC Scotland and STV headquarters. Participants then walked back over the River Clyde and along the Broomielaw then passed the Cancer Research UK flagship shop on Queen Street. They passed the landmark Duke of Wellington statue outside the Gallery of Modern Art then along Buchanan Street and Sauchiehall Street. The route then headed up Woodlands Road and along Kelvin Way, Argyll Street and Finnieston before passing The SSE Hydro and on to the finish line.

In 2021 Glasgow was one of 18 locations across the UK selected to host the Shine Night Walk series, in partnership with online fundraising platform Omaze. Andrena said her mum was on her mind every step of the way.

When Andrena was diagnosed with breast cancer in November 2013, her mum Anne was a natural confidant after having overcome breast cancer herself in 2005. Andrena endured chemotherapy, surgery and radiotherapy, at the Beatson West of Scotland Cancer Centre in Glasgow. And only months after completing cancer treatment, Andrena threw herself in to fundraising for cancer charities, supported every step of the way by her son Cameron, 22, and her mum.

It was a hammerblow in November 2018 when Andrena’s mum Anne was diagnosed with oesophageal cancer. Anne had chemotherapy and surgery twice to remove the tumour and make her more comfortable. Anne was well enough to go home in May 2019 but when her condition worsened she had to return to hospital where she died with her daughter Andrena by her side.

Andrena said: “The number of people from the NHS involved in Mum’s care must have been more than 100.

“It was the toughest of times but we were blown away by the quality of care. We knew from the doctors that oesophageal cancer is a difficult cancer to treat. But the NHS staff cared for my mum with the most amazing grace and vigour. It felt too soon to lose my mum but I count my blessings this happened before the pandemic so I was able to be there with her all through the treatment and at the end.

“Mum loved flowers, especially pink and lilac ones. Amazingly, every year the rose bush in my dad's garden blooms on mum's birthday, a beautiful reminder of mum. I send her closest friends flowers on her birthday too. They’re a smile from Annie... I was so lucky to have her as a mum.”

Every year around 32,300 people are diagnosed with cancer in Scotland. Thanks to the generosity of its supporters, Cancer Research UK’s work into the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of cancer has been at the heart of the progress that has seen survival in the UK double in the last 40 years.

The charity was able to spend nearly £30 million in Scotland last year on some of the UK’s leading scientific and clinical research. And money raised through Shine Night Walk Glasgow is crucial to the pioneering work of doctors, nurses and scientists who are fighting cancer on all fronts.

Lisa Adams, Cancer Research UK’s spokeswoman in Scotland, said: “We’re so pleased to bring Cancer Research UK’s Shine Night Walk to Glasgow again.

“We’d like to thank Andrena for sharing her story and to everyone who came along to make this event in Glasgow so special. It was a wonderful opportunity for people to come together to remember loved ones lost to cancer or celebrate the lives of those dear to them who have survived cancer. One in two of us* will get cancer in our lifetime but all of us can support the research that will beat it.”