UEA student raises funds to say thank for career boost

Lewis Wardale, an undergraduate in Natural Sciences at the UEA, has run 125 miles and a virtual marathon to raise over £2,700 by way of gratitude to a local cancer charity and fundraising group which awarded him a student bursary placement this summer.

Lewis was the recipient of the Lilac Ladies bursary via local cancer charity, Big C, which enabled him to spend eight weeks working with the cancer genetics team at Norwich Medical School under Daniel Brewer and with Sergio Llaneza-Lago, a Big C funded PhD student.

A passionate advocate of fitness, Lewis enjoys exercising at the gym, playing football and Parkrun. At the end of summer, Lewis decided to challenge himself and ran 125 miles, or an estimated 190 miles including the distance covered at football games, to raise vital funds for Big C as a thank for funding his summer placement. Last week, Lewis also ran the virtual London Marathon. Through these activities, he has raised an amazing £2743.00

Lewis said, “My experience with the cancer genetics team was so good, that I wanted to somehow repay the cost of my bursary as I wanted someone else to experience what I have. I am very grateful to those who have donated and helped me raise this and more. I would like to express a massive thank you to the LILAC Ladies and to Big C for the support they have given me. This experience has opened my eyes to what a career in cancer bioinformatics would look like. I absolutely loved it. I was really intrigued by the research that not only I was doing, but also the rest of the team. It has cemented by decision to do this for a career.”

Lewis was inspired into a career in cancer research after his grandmother was diagnosed with stage 4 Lymphoma in 2017. Lewis said, “At first, I was devastated by this diagnosis, but we were soon reassured by the medical professionals that this type of cancer was one that stood the greatest probability of being cured. I was perplexed because by previous preconceptions told me there was no coming back from a stage 4 cancer. Sure enough, modern medicine helped my Grandma into remission. I couldn’t believe this miraculous recovery that she made from such an aggressive type of cancer. With a basic understanding of cancer biology at the time from Biology A-Level, I was eager to learn more about the specific mechanisms and mutations that constitute these stages and subtypes of cancer. I then knew that cancer research was a career pathway I wanted to pursue.”

Gaye Youngman from LILAC said “LILAC were delighted that through our fundraising we were able to give Lewis the opportunity to further his experience via this student bursary. As well as assisting with the work of the cancer genetics team it helped pave the way for his future career choices.”

To visit Lewis’s fundraising page, please go to

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