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October 17, 2023

The son of a nurse from Chiswick who has been diagnosed with cancer has been preparing for a gruelling challenge to help raise funds for unit that has supported her.

Will Harris’s mother Liz is an NHS nurse practitioner who worked through the pandemic at her GP surgery but also did many extra hours helping out at Covid-19 vaccination clinics.

Shortly after the crisis ended in November 2021, she was diagnosed with invasive breast cancer. She has been treated at the McMillan Centre University College London Hospital (UCLH) Cancer Unit, who are reputed to be one of the best in their field and partially funded by the UCLH Cancer Fund. She has a further operation coming up in November, having already had two operations, six months of chemotherapy and three weeks of radiotherapy. She returned to work in April and is as busy as ever, despite having to take life affecting drugs.

The UCLH Cancer Fund relies on donations to help the unit deliver a higher standard of care and Liz’s son, Will Harris, has decided to take part in the Polar Bear Arctic Marathon in Greenland on 28 October, followed by a half marathon the following day to raise funds for it. The event is often referred to as "the coolest marathon on Earth''.

As a trial run, to help with his training, the 27-year-old geography teacher and DOE co-ordinator and his friend Louis did the Three Peaks challenge a few weeks ago – Snowdon, Scafell, and Ben Nevis in 21 hours with no support and drove themselves all the way in-between.

Will also had his hair shaved by his former pupils at Richmond Upon Thames School which they all found rather amusing and the proceeds raised also went to the fund.

Will says, “Throughout the process, my mum has been a solid rock maintaining her positive, helpful and kind demeanour, supported and helped hugely by The McMillan Cancer Centre at University College London Hospital. On numerous occasions, mum has stressed the fantastic support, skill, professionalism and dedication shown by the consultants, nurses and staff in the many different wards and departments where she has been treated.”

You can support Will’s efforts on his JustGiving page. All donations will go towards supporting University College Hospital Cancer Fund in delivering top-quality patient care, excellent education and world-class research. He says any donations, no matter how small, will be greatly appreciated.

At the time of writing Will had raised just over £1,800 towards his target of £4,000.


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