A NORTH EAST NURSE is calling on men and women to sign up to Cancer Research UK’s latest fundraising campaign, Walk All Over Cancer.

Ben Hood works as a Senior Cancer Research UK nurse with patients on clinical trials for the Newcastle Upon Tyne Hospitals Trust.

He’s urging people to sign up to Walk All Over Cancer and get sponsored to walk 10,000 steps a day in March because he’s seen, first-hand, the impact research can make.

In the North East, more than a quarter (28 per cent) of people are getting less than 30 minutes of physical activity a week*.

In his role, Ben looks after patients who have cancer and are taking part in a trial. Often, they’re trying new forms of treatment.

He also facilitates the Perspectives in Cancer Research Patient and Public Involvement Group. The group is made up of cancer patients, those caring for people with cancer, or people who have come through cancer treatment. The volunteers meet every two months to share their experiences of cancer to help nurses, researchers, doctors and students bring about better, kinder treatments and care for cancer patients.

Ben said: “As a nurse, I know how important research is to cancer patients being treated now, and to make better, kinder treatments available for future generations.

“I’ve had personal losses from the disease – my mother-in-law passed away from stomach cancer last year, when I was having a hip replacement. Eight months after my operation, I walked the length of Hadrian’s Wall, raising funds for Cancer Research UK in my mother-in-law’s memory. It took us four days to do the walk. I’ve carried this tradition on, taking on sponsored walks or hikes across the region to raise money for life-saving research.

“Any money raised from Walk All Over Cancer gives hope to people going through cancer treatment, especially those who don’t have other treatment options available.

“That’s why I’m calling on people in the North East to sign up to Walk All Over Cancer. I’m encouraging supporters to go the distance with us to help beat the disease.”

He added: “Everyone knows nurses can walk miles and miles every day, going up and down the wards or from one clinic to another. When you sign up to Walk All Over Cancer, you can choose how, where and when you take you 10,000 steps. You can take on the challenge on your own or with family, friends and colleagues.”

Keeping check on the number of steps taken each day has never been easier, with many smartphone apps, pedometers and wearable activity trackers.

Jaelithe Leigh-Brown, Cancer Research UK’s spokesperson for the North East, said: “Signing up to Walk All Over Cancer is a great way to kick-start a healthier lifestyle, now that Spring is just around the corner.

She added: “Walking 10,000 steps is equal to about five miles, based on the average person’s strides. That’s quite a challenge for many people.  But adopting small lifestyle changes – from walking to work or taking the stairs instead of the lift – can help make the goal feel achievable.

“And for anyone who wants to be inspired by Ben and push themselves further, there’s the opportunity to commit to 20,000 steps a day.”

Not only will taking on the challenge help raise money, it has health benefits as well. Moderate exercise can help build stamina, burn excess calories and protect against a range of diseases including cancer.

Walking 10,000 steps at a brisk pace could burn roughly 500 calories* – the same as 5 slices of margherita pizza.**

Jaelithe continued: “By signing up now, there’s time to plan ways to fit in some extra steps in March. Everyone who gets sponsored to go those extra miles will be making a real difference to around 2 people diagnosed with cancer every hour in the North East.***

“Cancer survival has doubled since the early 1970s and Cancer Research UK’s work has been at the heart of that progress – but every step our doctors, nurses and scientists take relies on donations from the public and the tireless fundraising of our supporters.”

To sign up now, visit www.cruk.org/walkallover