Tomorrow marks the first ever St Andrews Cancer Awareness Day. I had a quick chat with committee member Will Beattie to find all about what promises to be a phenomenal day. Read on to find out more about the incredible work the Cancer Awareness Day committee is doing, and how you can get involved!
So can you tell us a bit about what’s happening on the day?
Well first and foremost, the idea is that we really want to have everyone wear the tartan ribbons to show support. So that’s the main thing really, we want to have everybody in the community wearing the ribbons and have a massive show of solidarity for those who may be suffering from cancer, as well as their families and friends.
We’ve got a bake sale going on inside the Rule from 12-4 tomorrow, where we’ll be selling ribbons and raffle tickets. We’ve got some awesome prizes!
Ribbons and raffle tickets will also be sold in front of the library from 12-4. Raffle tickets are £1 each or 5 for £4, and ribbons are by donation; every little bit helps!
Ribbons are also availabe at Con Panna cafe and Scaramanga.
Can you reveal what any of the raffle prizes are?
I can unveil a couple… we’ll be raffling off a bottle of whiskey, a satchel from Scaramanga, 2 Dr Noodles Boxes, a meal at the Grange Inn…
Are there any specific charities you’re working with or promoting?
We’re working primarily with CoppaFeel! Society. We’ve had support from Macmillan and the Marrow Society, and we’re making care baskets for Maggie’s, which are centres across the UK that provide free practical, emotional, and social support to people with cancer, their families, and their friends.
However our focus has really been more about the families here in St Andrews who have been affected by the disease. The event is about bringing town and gown together to show them that they have the support of the entire community. So we’ve been doing all we can to provide them with things they might need, like food and petrol vouchers, things like that that we normally take for granted, but make a big difference to them.
Why was the event created?
Our founder Sarah lost her mother to cancer last year, and the experience was very isolating; cancer is a really isolating illness for everyone affected by it. It can make you feel quite alone. She wanted to show people that even though it feels like you’re alone and can’t talk to anyone, actually there are people you can talk to and there are people who will support you. So the event was created in the spirit of encouraging solidarity with people who are suffering and giving them the support they need. On committee many of us have been affected by cancer, or just have been lucky enough to avoid it, and we simply want to help.
Where are you hoping to take Cancer Awareness Day in the future?
We certainly want to continue with the work we’ve been doing. A lot of us are 4th years, so we’ll be leaving it to our 3rd years to take up, but we would love for it to become an annual event. We’ve had an incredible response from the community, so there’s a great chance of that happening.
What’s been the most rewarding part about planning?
I think seeing just how many people have been keen to get involved, and then watching them all come together as a community. We approached businesses around town asking if they’d like to be involved and they all came forward. All these shops and pubs and places all stepped up and said they wanted to be a part of it. Even before that, it was inspiring to just seeing the number of people who had already got in contact with members of the committee explaining what they were going through something, or might be in the future. They realized that there are people who they can talk to. Seeing so many people come together in support of one another has been really rewarding.
What do you hope the St Andrews community will take away from Cancer Awareness Day?
I hope that we’re able to open up a dialogue about cancer. It’s the first step in starting what we hope will become a wider conversation about the disease and what we can all do to support those who are suffering. Cancer is misunderstood as a condition, and people can be hesitant or even unwilling to talk it. We want them to know that they can, and they should.
In wrapping up our interview, Will offered a flood of heartfelt thanks to those who have donated, bought tickets, and shown their support thus far. The committee would also like to thank the Rule for all their help, for giving them a space to sell tickets, and for hosting their highly successful pub quiz on Monday evening, attended by 20 teams!
One more massive thank you to Will for agreeing to chat with us, and to the entire committee for your incredible hard work and dedication. The St Andrews community is a better place for your efforts.
See you all at the Rule tomorrow, and don’t forget to wear your ribbons!