‘Why is it not open to all?’

Sarah Beeston with her son Daniel Beeston who is protesting that he cannot do the race for life with his mum

Sarah Beeston with her son Daniel Beeston who is protesting that he cannot do the race for life with his mum

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A NATIONAL Academy sixth former is challenging organisers of the popular Race for Life to open the event up to all genders.

Traditionally the Cancer Research UK fundraising event, which has been running for 18 years, has only been open to female applicants but 16 year-old Daniel Beeston has set up a petition in a bid to change the rules.

“My mum, who was diagnosed with cancer last year, entered the race and I decided to do it with her but then I found out I couldn’t and neither could my dad,” explained Daniel who lives on Minster Close, Hucknall.

“We wanted it to be a family fundraising event as we had all been affected by my mum’s cancer and by other members of our family who have had cancer as well.

“I looked into the history of the event and discovered that although it was originally set up to raise money for female cancers it now collects for Cancer Research UK, which works towards finding a cure for all cancers, so I don’t understand why it is still just for females.

“Surely the more people who take part the more money will be raised. Cancer affects men and women so everybody should be able to come together and take part.

“It seems wrong that my dad and I will have to wait at the finish line instead of us being able to run as a family.”

Daniel has set up an online petition with Change.org and plans to collect signatures locally too and has enlisted the help and support of friends and family and has even had a retweet from tennis legend Martina Navratilova.

Nicki Embleton, spokesperson for Cancer Research UK, said: Cancer Research UK’s Race for Life, which started in 1994, is a women-only fundraising event series and has remained so due to its huge popularity and non-competitive atmosphere which encourages women of all ages and fitness levels to take part. The money raised is helping to fund research to beat 200 types of cancer.

“We’re sorry that Daniel feels upset that he is unable to take part in Race for Life. However, he is very welcome to come along and support his mum and all the other women taking part on the day. And we’d be delighted if he wanted to get involved by helping give out medals at the finish line and join all the other sons, brothers, dads and grandfathers who cheer on the women and get involved.

“In addition, this year schools are invited to hold their own Race for Life events, known as Race at Your Place. Schools have the freedom to invite boys and girls of all ages, as well as families and teachers, to take part in these unique events. It’s a great opportunity for the whole school community to help raise money for Cancer Research UK’s life-saving research. Schools can register for their kit at www.schools.raceforlife.org

“Boys and their mums can also take part together in a host of other Cancer Research UK fundraising events such as Relay For Life. To find a local event visit www.relayforlife.org.uk Our night-time walking marathon, Shine, is also open to men and women and will be taking place in Manchester and London in 2012.”

For more information visit www.cancerresearch.org.uk or to enter Race for Life visit www.raceforlife.org