A CLACKS woman led the charge against cancer at the weekend, sounding the horn to release more than 1,000 runners at Scotland’s first Race for Life in Stirling.

Sarah-Jane Burns was chosen as VIP at the Cancer Research UK fundraiser at Stirling University on Sunday, May 13, when the crowd took on one of the 5k and 10k courses.

It was an emotional day for the Dollar woman, who stepped on the stage to share with the crowd the devastation she felt after losing mum Joan Watkins, aged 59, to bowel cancer in 2008.

Marking the 10-year anniversary of the painful loss, the 41-year-old decided to complete 10 fundraising events this year as a special tribute.

She has raised more than £2,000 for the charity since completing her first Race for Life when her mum, who always stayed positive, was still fighting the illness.

The learning assistant, who was cheered on by dad Mike who travelled all the way from home to support her, said: “I was lucky to have such an amazing mum who battled right to the end and was so positive.

“Mum actually bought me my first Race for Life t-shirt.

“Race for Life Stirling was my 10th year of doing Race for Life and my mum was on my mind every step of the way.

“I was part of a group of 10 friends doing Race for Life Stirling and it was an amazing day.

“I don’t want anyone else to have to go through the heartache of losing a loved one to cancer.

“With more research we can hopefully keep families together for longer.”

When Joan was diagnosed at the start of 2008, Sarah-Jane returned home to Porthcawl with doctors giving her mum just six months to live.

Seven years later she married husband Gregor, also 41, and donations were split between Cancer Research UK and Prostate Cancer Scotland, in memory of his father Ronnie who also died of cancer.

Lisa Adams, spokeswoman at Race for Life, thanked the local woman for her involvement as well as everyone else who went along “to make Race for Life Stirling so special”.

She added: “Sadly, most of us know someone whose life has been touched by cancer.

“But thanks to the huge progress that has been made in the fight against the disease, more people in Scotland are surviving cancer than ever before.

“Our aim is that one day everyone will beat cancer.

“The more research we can fund, the sooner that day will come.”