ScottishPower’s incredible £40m fundraising milestone has personal significance for inspiring employee – Cancer Research UK

A personal connection 

For one ScottishPower employee, the £40m milestone is particularly meaningful. In 2018, Mark McDowell, Head of IT Architecture at the energy company, began treatment for stage 4 tonsil and liver cancer.

According to Mark, advances in cancer research – like radiotherapy, PET and keyhole surgery – saved his life. He said:

“We need charities like Cancer Research UK and their super-star researchers to have the funding, investment and resources to find new treatments and cures.”  


An unexpected prognosis  

Mark was 41 years old when he was diagnosed with tonsil cancer. His age and healthy lifestyle meant that initially his outlook looked good. However, this changed when he went for a PET scan.

He said: “The specialist’s face fell when they realised cancer had spread to my liver, and I was told my chance of survival was nearer 20% than 95%.”

Mark was quickly referred to specialists in London and the Beatson West of Scotland Cancer Centre. He was treated with a complex combination of chemotherapy, radiotherapy and keyhole surgery.

He was in the Beatson for eight weeks supported by a brilliant team of specialist doctors, nurses and radiographers among other medical experts. Thanks to their care, in April Mark plans to celebrate his fifth year without cancer.


Lucky to be alive

Mark McDowell

Mark said “I felt lucky to be alive as I’ve seen so many people lose their lives to cancer – family, friends and colleagues.

“Cancer can affect anyone, with nearly 1 in 2 people in the UK diagnosed with it during their lifetime.  Cancer is a highly complex disease and in the past it was often a death sentence – that’s why fundraising for life-saving research is so important.

“The medical advances in radiotherapy, PET and keyhole surgery saved my life but they’re things you don’t think about until you need them. “ 


Securing future life-saving research 

Dr Claire Paterson is a clinical oncologist and radiotherapy researcher partly funded by Cancer Research UK. At the Beatson West of Scotland Cancer Centre in Glasgow, she is working on ways to improve radiotherapy for patients with head and neck cancer like Mark’s.

To date, Cancer Research UK has invested £42.3 million in RadNet – a network of seven research centres dedicated to radiotherapy research, including the RadNet Glasgow Centre which supports Claire’s research.

She said: “We can target cancer far more precisely now, which makes treatment more effective and kinder for patients than it used to be decades ago. We hope that we can continue to make further improvements with more research.

“Mark’s story shows how painstaking research, conducted over many years, and advances in treatment can save lives. Cancer Research UK can only support large-scale research programmes with generous donations and ScottishPower have raised a huge amount of money to support the charity’s vital mission.”  


Towards a shared mission 

Cancer Research UK’s mission is to bring about a world where everybody can live longer, better lives, free from the fear of cancer. Step by step, day by day, with generous donations like ScottishPower’s £40m, we’re getting closer to achieving it.   

ScottishPower raised the incredible sum thanks to a variety of initiatives including its Help Beat Cancer energy tariff, employee and customer fundraising, as well as sponsorship of Race for Life events across the UK and Stand Up To Cancer campaigns. 

Thank you to everyone at ScottishPower, we’re so grateful for your incredible efforts. Together we are beating cancer. 

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