Alasdair attended Balwearie High School in in Kirkcaldy, Scotland, in the 1980s with his triathlon team mates Alan Choo-Kang and Stephen Teape. They formed the relay team to raise money for Bloodwise, for which Alasdair is now Director of Research.
Alasdair, who will take on the 750 metre open water swimming leg of the triathlon, said: “Bloodwise has made a huge difference to people affected by blood cancer, whether it’s the children with leukaemia that Ian Botham started his walks for when I was a kid, or the many adults I come across in my job with all types of blood cancer, including leukaemia, lymphoma, myeloma, myelodysplastic syndromes, myeloproliferative neoplasms and many more.
“If you're lucky you don't know most of these names and never will. But 40,000 people every year in the UK hear one of them when they are diagnosed - as many people as ran the London Marathon this year. It’s the third biggest cause of cancer death - more than either breast cancer or prostate cancer.”
The three friends were all in the same sixth form chemistry class at Balwearie High School and have all gone on to pursue careers in science. Stephen, who will complete the 5km running leg of the race, is a chemistry teacher in Hampshire, and Alan, who will take on the 20km cycle, is a doctor working in Essex specialising in treating diabetes.
Alasdair said: “That small class of seven people also produced another science teacher, a medicinal chemist who found new ways to make cancer drugs to work better, a medical director for a pharmaceutical company and an explosives engineer, which is what every chemistry student really wants to be. We all know how vital research is to helping the people who need it most, and we also know that we wouldn’t be doing the jobs we do now without fantastic teachers at a great school – and I've always wanted to do something together to show that.”
Bloodwise’s research is targeted at understanding more about blood cancer, finding causes, improving diagnosis and treatments, and running ground-breaking clinical trials for patients. The team are hoping to raise £1,000 and have already raised over £700.