Honouring Mum in beautiful Kew: why I ran a 10k for cancer prevention

Raffaella Masselli, our Health Information Officer, shares what inspired her to run a 10,000m race to raise money for our cancer prevention and survival work.

Raffaella MasselliI have always been passionate about the work we do at World Cancer Research Fund and the impact we make on people’s lives. However, I wanted to do more than just my job and show my personal commitment to the cause. That’s why I decided to take part in the Kew Gardens 10k, not only to raise money but also to raise awareness of cancer prevention and promote healthy living.

A personal and a professional choice

My journey with World Cancer Research Fund started in November 2022, when I joined the Health Information team. As a Registered Associate Nutritionist, I was drawn to the charity’s mission of funding innovative research into how diet, physical activity and body weight can affect cancer risk and survival. But my connection to the cause goes beyond a professional interest; it’s personal too.

My Mum was diagnosed with stage 4 lung cancer in 2020 and she sadly passed away early in 2022. My Mum was a beautiful South African woman who loved art, particularly botanical art, and was a member of Kew Gardens, where she attended weekly art classes, painting exotic flowers and bulbs from around the gardens. When she was diagnosed, she had to let her art go because the cancer treatment made her tired and frail. After she passed, we honoured her memory with a beautiful bench in the quiet Mediterranean gardens in Kew – one of her favourite places to sit and paint. It’s a beautiful reminder of my Mum’s love of art and nature.

Running for a cause

When I heard about the Kew Gardens 10k run, I saw it as an opportunity to combine my desire to support the charity I work for and honour my Mum’s memory. Although I’m not a regular runner, running around Kew Gardens alongside my brother where my Mum used to paint felt like a fitting tribute. The run itself was fantastic and I thoroughly enjoyed the challenge. It was also encouraging having supporters cheering us on along the entire route – especially when I was feeling a bit tired and needed an extra boost to keep going. On the route, the spring leaves and flowers provided a beautiful backdrop for the run.

Whether you are a regular runner or just starting out, there are many training programmes and resources available, including World Cancer Research Fund’s Intro to running guide, which we give out free to all our runners. If you choose to run for World Cancer Research Fund, you’ll also get:

  • A welcome pack full of fundraising ideas, information about our work and sponsorship forms.
  • Your own personalised running vest.
  • A dedicated fundraising team on hand to answer any questions and support you every step of the way.
  • The rewarding feeling of knowing you are helping to prevent cancer.

Why not give it a try and sign up for a run near you? Not only will you improve your own health and fitness, but you’ll have the opportunity to fundraise towards a worthy cause and make a lasting impact on cancer prevention.