Big run to fund cancer scans

Paul Strickland Scanner Centre
Paul Strickland Scanner Centre

An accountant from Bedford is running the London Marathon in aid of a cancer charity after his partner was diagnosed with a rare type of cancer.

Matt Curtis, 46, committed to the challenge after his partner Julie developed enlarged lymph nodes in her neck, which led to a diagnosis of cancer of unknown primary (CUP). CUP means that although cancer is found somewhere in the body, doctors aren’t able to determine where it started.

Julie’s doctor referred her to the Paul Strickland Scanner Centre, an independent medical charity who produce very high quality scans to diagnose and monitor cancer and other serious diseases using the latest in scanning equipment and specialist staff.

The charity is named after the late Mount Vernon Cancer Centre director and oncologist Dr Paul Strickland, who introduced the first CT scanner to the hospital in 1983 following a successful fundraising drive because NHS funds weren’t available at the time.

Matt said: “Paul Strickland Scanner Centre helped Julie’s doctors identify that the primary cancer was in her tonsils. She successfully underwent surgery and chemotherapy and she is now doing well, with no signs of anything lurking currently. Julie finished her treatment about 13 months ago.

“Paul Strickland inspired me because he was a bit of a maverick who wanted to save lives using early detection. He knew what needed to be done and went and did it and people are alive today because of his determination.

Matt has been training since autumn last year, despite a problem in his left knee caused by osteoarthritis.

He said: “During my lifetime I’ve done two half marathons. This time I’ve basically taken the Hal Hidgon training plan and have tweaked it for my needs, gradually building up my fitness and endurance until marathon day.”

To support Matt, go to