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The University of Southampton
Southampton Clinical Trials Unit

Walking All Over Cancer for CRUK

Keira Fines

Keira Fines is a pharmacovigilance manager at the Southampton Clinical Trials Unit (SCTU), monitoring and ensuring the safety of our trials.

This March, Keira is taking part in Cancer Research UK’s Walk All Over Cancer campaign to raise vital funds for the charity which provides core funding for the SCTU. 


Why did you decide to get involved in Walk All Over Cancer? 

I was listening to the radio and there was an advert for Walk All Over Cancer and my honest thought was ‘I have no reason not to do this’! A lot of fundraising activities you see involve running or swimming or doing something that I'm not very good at. But walking I can do, and I thought this would be a great opportunity to raise some money for the charity that funds much of our work. 
I’m also really interested in the mental health benefits of getting outside and exercising. I’m a mental health first aider for the SCTU, meaning I have been trained to help people who may be struggling with their mental health at any point. Particularly during lockdown when we’ve all been inside more and working from home, getting out in the fresh air is so good for making us feel better. And I don’t want to be a hypocrite, telling people to make sure they take a lunch break and have a good work-life balance if I don’t as well. This challenge will make sure that I am outside and exercising every day and reinforces how important it is to have a good healthy outlook and look after yourself mentally as well as physically.

Will it be challenge? Is 10k steps a day normal for you? 

I do walk everywhere because I don’t have a car, so walking is something I’m very comfortable with. However, this will definitely be a challenge. I don’t do that many steps every day even out of lockdown, as much as I know it’s a target many people try to meet. I think it’s good to have the motivation to get out every single day. On a cold Sunday morning when it’s pouring with rain, I will still be making sure I get out there and walk. And knowing I’m doing it for a good cause and raising money for charity is really motivating. 

This year’s Walk All Over Cancer is happening during the COVID-19 pandemic. How does this change the way you will do the challenge? 

I did check the Government website before signing up to make sure it would be safe to do. I will be trying to restrict myself to just one outing a day rather than splitting my steps across multiple outings and I will primarily be walking by myself, or sometimes with my partner. It’s getting lighter now which means there’s also more time to walk after I finish work. But of course, I will keep up to date with the guidelines and I am aware that there’s a chance I could need to change my plans if the restrictions change. But I still plan to do my 10,000 steps every day, even if that is doing laps of my flat! I live on the first floor with 13 steps up, so I was working out how many times I’d need to walk up and down them if I can’t go out. I may just need to be a little bit more creative…. and perhaps the scenery won’t be so good!

Walk All Over Cancer logo

How important is it for you to be raising money for CRUK? 

Working in the SCTU means I understand how much work goes into research and how important fundraising is. We are all aware that funding for research has fallen because charities like CRUK have seen their income drop dramatically during the pandemic as so many of their large events like Race for Life were cancelled last year.  
My grandad had bowel cancer but was thankfully well following surgery, and I’m lucky that my immediate family has otherwise not been badly affected by cancer. But CRUK is very close to home for me working in a CTU that is funded by the charity. My job involves constantly hearing about people who have cancer, and that is always hard-hitting. Even though we don’t know any personal details about the individual patients and trial participants, who are completely anonymous to us, there’s still something very impactful about hearing about people who are so poorly and knowing what we are doing to help. 

What are you most looking forward to about WAOC, and what are you dreading?

I’m looking forward to finishing work at the end of the day and knowing that I’m still being helpful and doing something positive for people affected by cancer. But I am dreading days when it’s pouring with rain or I’m feeling a bit under the weather, sitting on the sofa and not wanting to go out. But I think getting a ping on my phone and seeing that someone has sponsored me will help me get over that and really motivate me to get out and walk! 

You can sponsor Keira via her Walk All Over Cancer fundraising page.

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