Cambridgeshire mum raises £50,000 for pancreatic cancer research
It’s taken seven years and some huge challenges – including swimming the Channel – but Coton mother-of-two Anna Gomori-Woodcock has hit her fundraising target for pancreatic cancer.
Anna set herself the target in memory of her mum, Gudrun Llewellyn, who taught German at Christ’s College, Cambridge, following her death from the disease in 2006.
Anna, 48, has been relentlessly fundraising for Pancreatic Cancer Research Fund (PCRF) since 2011. Over the years, she has held dozens of events in her village of Coton, bringing the community together for themed discos and zumbathons and organising outdoor adventures with friends and local families.
Anna has also taken on numerous personal challenges, including swimming the English Channel, a tandem skydive and a wing walk. But it was Saturday’s charity disco at Coton Village Hall – held exactly 12 years to the day since her mother’s death – which pushed her over the finish line.
“It’s been seven years of determination, adventure and meeting lots of people while raising money for Pancreatic Cancer Research Fund,” said Anna, who added that the motivation for her endeavours was that pancreatic cancer was very underfunded.
As well as the challenges, discos and zumbathons, Anna has also organised fitness classes, live music and quiz nights.
“It was an unfortunate circumstance for my inspiration because it was my mother’s death,” said Anna. “It’s strange how these things affect people and I guess after seeing what she went through, I just wanted to try to make a difference.
“I researched charities and found this particular one. It was founded by Maggie Blanks and nearly all the money goes purely to research. There is no other charity that does just pure research into pancreatic cancer.”
Anna said that all the challenges she undertook were memorable and all were things she hadn’t done before, apart from the skydive.
“They were all amazing,” she said, “and the wing walk was the last thing I did and I absolutely loved it. It was thrilling and I’d like to do it again for pleasure sometime.”
She added: “The Channel swim was also pretty amazing. I’m not an open-water swimmer and it was a huge challenge for me, but I’m glad I did it because I didn’t think I could.”
Organising all the challenges was another new experience for Anna. “In my profession, I do care work,” she said. “I’m not a natural organiser, or I didn’t think I was anyway.”
Although she will continue to support PCRF, Anna intends to take a step back from all her fundraising exploits.
“I’ve decided that this is the end of the chapter for pancreatic cancer,” she said. “I wanted to raise a substantial amount, and I’ve achieved that goal.
“I’m sure I’ll give to pancreatic cancer now and again, but I think this is the end of this chapter. I’ve decided I’m going to put on a disco once a year for a different charity because it’s nice to give and nice to get the community together.”
November is Pancreatic Cancer Awareness Month. PCRF is the only medical research charity exclusively funding research into pancreatic cancer in the UK and Ireland.
To date, the charity has funded 52 research projects worth more than £8million.