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Bloodwise scientists taking on Great Birmingham Run to beat blood cancer

The Bloodwise logo. Bloodwise appears in black text against a white background
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11 Oct 2016

A team of six scientists from the University of Birmingham will swap their lab coats for running vests as they take on the Great Birmingham Run on Sunday 16 October to raise money for Bloodwise.

A team of six scientists from the University of Birmingham will swap their lab coats for running vests as they take on the Great Birmingham Run on Sunday 16 October to raise money for Bloodwise.

The researchers all work in the same laboratory at the University’s College of Medical and Dental Sciences. Many of the research projects they are involved in are funded by Bloodwise.

Work in the laboratory, run by Professors Conny Bonifer and Peter Cockerill, uses state of the art technology to study the relationship between the genetic background of leukaemia patients and their disease. Through a better understanding of what drives blood cancer, new treatments can be designed to increase survival rates and improve patients’ quality of life.

Dr Maria Rosaria (Rosie) Imperato, one of the debut runners, said: “The detailed research we carry out needs a lot of resources. We are always moved by the hard work that fundraisers put in to support our research and we wanted to get personally involved in fundraising to show our commitment to Bloodwise.

“The charity has not only been a longstanding supporter of research in our lab, but they also fund a lot of important research elsewhere, as well as directly supporting the people who need it the most – blood cancer patients.  We’ve had a great experience being part of the close-knit Bloodwise research community.  Fundraisers, volunteers and researchers all need to work together to maximise the impact we can have.”

Running experience varies within the team, made up of Rosie Imperato, Sarah Bevington, Beth Gorman, Niall Gilding, Dan Coleman and Chris Middleton. Some of the scientists are keen runners and triathletes and for some, the Great Birmingham Run will be their first ever race.

Niall Gilding, a Bloodwise PhD student and triathlete, said: “All our colleagues have been very enthusiastic and keen to support the six of us on our little adventure, together with our supervisors, who were the first to sponsor us! We’ve all trained to the best of our abilities and we aim to give our best performance, no matter how long we take to finish. We are all looking forward to a well-deserved burger and pint afterwards!”

The University of Birmingham scientists will join 20,000 other runners at the Great Birmingham Run in the city centre. Actor George Rainsford, who plays Dr Ethan Hardy in Casualty, will also be running the race for Bloodwise.

Emma Jones, Fundraising Manager for the Midlands at Bloodwise, said: “Birmingham is home to world leading research in the field of blood cancer that is helping to transform the outlook for patients.  Every penny this dedicated team of researchers raise will help us in our mission to stop people from dying and make patients’ lives better.”

To support the University of Birmingham team go to www.justgiving.com/Bonifer-and-Cockerill-Lab