A mother and son from Paignton decided to stage their own Race for Life to unite against cancer - and are now encouraging others to take part in one special day this month.

Jack and his mum SharonJack and his mum Sharon

Just a few weeks before Christmas, Sharon Davis was told her father Les had bowel cancer and both her world and her eight-year-old son Jack’s fell apart as they felt helpless.

Sharon, who works as an online shopper for Sainsbury’s in Torquay, said: “My dad Les has always done a bowel cancer test as he knows it can save lives if cancer is caught early.

“Thankfully, he did the home test kit which was sent to him. Not long afterwards he had further tests and was told he had bowel cancer but as it was caught early they wanted to operate to remove the tumour.

“Both myself and Jack felt stunned and knew we wanted to do something to help. As Race for Life events were cancelled this year, we decided to do our own and we ran from Paignton to Torquay raising over £312 for Cancer Research UK.”

The Exeter Race for Life was among 400 mass participation events which organisers Cancer Research UK cancelled this year to protect the country’s health during the Covid-19 outbreak.

The charity is expecting a staggering £160 million drop in income in the year ahead with a £44 million cut to life-saving research funding already.

Now to help tackle the devastating loss, undeterred women and men are vowing to raise funds by completing their own Race for Life 5K in their nearest green space on Saturday, September 26.

They plan to take part outdoors either alone or in small, socially distanced groups - but all on the same day - to help people with cancer. Supporters can visit raceforlife.org and sign up free for a ‘Very 2020 Race for Life’.

Sharon, 37, is urging people to walk, jog or run 5K on Saturday, September 26, and do their part to support others.

She said: “It was a terrible shock when dad was diagnosed with cancer. Jack wanted to run the 5k for his grandad. We set up a JustGiving page so that people could donate to help us raise funds for the charity. It upset me to hear that vital cancer research has been delayed this year.

“Now as lockdown eases, we wanted to put something back.”

To join in, visit raceforlife.org or call 0300 123 0770.