A WOMAN from Bude has raised over £1,000 for Animal Free Research UK, in memory of her late partner.

Melissa Roberts, from Bude, set herself the challenge at the beginning of the year to run the 5km Tamar Lakes Park Run.

Melissa said: “My loving partner Lawrence lost his battle with leukemia in 2014, and I wanted to raise money for research into this devastating disease in his memory. I chose September 2, which is the day after Lawrence’s birthday, and set about my training, accompanied by my running buddies, Debi and Steph.

“Little did I know quite how life-changing it would be as I dropped five stone and my consultant took me off all my diabetes medication as the weight loss and new diet regime returned my blood sugars to normal. I’ve struggled with injury on the way, but kept going and am delighted to say I have raised over £1,300 plus giftaid, for Animal Free Research UK — previously Dr Hadwen Trust. This is a fantastic sum; thank you to each and every one of my supporters.”

Dr Helen Wheadon, who is heading up the research at Glasgow University, said: “This money will help fund our vital research into leukemia. The summer studentship will enable us to develop a three-dimensional, fully humanised culture system to sustain stem cells derived from leukemia patients, vital for testing new drug combinations.

“It is these stem cells, which reside in the bone marrow niche, that are resistant to treatment. By developing novel approaches, we will ultimately improve treatments for patients with leukemia and other haematological malignancies.

“It is also fantastic for Rachel who is delighted to have this opportunity to gain valuable research experience. This support will help her in her future career, as she is keen to become a cancer research scientist. It is also especially lovely that we are being sponsored by Melissa and the Bude fundraising group, as I’m originally from Devon and spent many a happy day on the beach in Bude. One of my funniest memories is swimming with my friend and commenting about the towels floating by, only to realise they were ours.”

The group smashed their £2,000 target for this leukemia project, and are now turning their attention to an exciting new breast cancer research project soon to be launched by the charity.

Anyone interested in joining Animal Free Research UK Bude Support Group can contact Steph on 07971 454214. The group meet monthly and organise events throughout the year.