Widower begins fundraising campaign for lung cancer scholarship at University of York

Posted on 9 February 2018

A widower is set to run two miles every day for a year to help raise money for a lung cancer research scholarship set up in honour of his wife who died from the disease aged just 37.


Chris and Georgie Gatenby. Image credit: Chris Gatenby

Chris Gatenby will don his trainers every day for 365 days as he attempts to raise £25,000 for a Masters research student in the University’s Department of Biology.  The scholarship will be dedicated to Chris’ wife Georgie Gatenby, who died of lung cancer last year.

Higher mortality than breast and ovarian cancer combined

Lung cancer is the biggest cancer killer of women in the UK, with 44 women losing their lives to the disease every day. It has a higher mortality rate than breast and ovarian cancer combined and the number of people affected by the disease continues to rise.

While there is a strong link between lung cancer and smoking, many sufferers, like Georgie, are non-smokers.

The research student, supported by the “Jog For Georgie” fundraising initiative will join the laboratory of Dr Dawn Coverley in the Department of Biology at the University of York for a year. Dr Coverley’s research group looks at how cancer cells form and are trying to understand the earliest changes that occur allowing cells to become dangerous.  

Dr Coverley said: “Progress in cancer research is usually the result of many small steps forward, but having an extra researcher will help us progress a little bit faster towards new ways to treat people with lung cancer.”

An inspiration

Georgina Gatenby worked as a Marketing Manager for Bettys in Harrogate.

Chris Gatenby said: “From the very first day of her diagnosis, Georgie was an inspiration; her inner will and positive attitude were phenomenal. Georgie always wanted to help others who had been given the same devastating news, but the aggressive nature of her illness prevented her from beginning fundraising. In Georgie’s absence I’ll be stepping forward, daily, to make her wish come true”.

Recruitment for the Master’s student will begin later in the year with the successful applicant taking up their place in October. Find out more, or donate to the Georgina Gatenby Scholarship Fund, via Chris’ Just Giving page: www.justgiving.com/fundraising/jog-4-georgie