Few families in Clydesdale will have been left unscathed by cancer.
And it’s for that reason staff at Woodstock Medical Centre in Lanark set themselves a staggering challenge this month.
Every day during March, the five partner GPs, three locums, three advanced nurse practitioners, two practice nurses, all the admin and pharmacy staff and the NHS Lanarkshire treatment nurses agreed to walk 10,000 steps daily.
Their aim was to achieve a massive two million steps collectively per week.
But rather than simply improving their own health, Team Woodstock decided to set another challenge too.
With help from family, friends, patients and the local community, they decided to Walk All Over Cancer – by aiming to raise at least £1000.
Now in the final week of the challenge, that target looks set to be reached, with Team Woodstock’s tally sitting at £713.83 on Monday.
With just a few days left to reach their goal, practice manager Gayle Wylie hopes Gazette readers will help them over the line.
She said: “We are so close to our target now and, as this is our last week, we are all giving that little bit more to get extra steps in.
“We are extremely grateful to our patients who have already donated via the JustGiving page and to the collection bucket in the surgery. Now we’re on the last push, we hope the people of Lanark will rally to help.”
Team Woodstock’s Walk All Over Cancer campaign was dreamed up by partner GP, Dr Stacey Vettraino.
Gayle explained: “A couple of years ago the practice took on a pedometer challenge. At that time, they just did it to get fit but the team very much enjoyed it.
“Since then, the practice has recruited a number of advanced nurse practitioners and practice nurses who are very good at promoting healthy lifestyles and living to our patients.
“So the step challenge raised its head again!
“Everyone felt that if we were going to do it, we should take the challenge on for a charity this time round.
“All the staff signed up and agreed that we should raise funds for Cancer Research UK.
“It’s a charity that hits close to home for most of us as a significant number of people have either lost a loved one to the disease or survived it themselves.
“We all know someone who has had or has cancer.
“We want to help beat cancer while also raising awareness of the anti-cancer benefits of exercise. The step challenge offered us the chance to do both.
“Lesley Moor, one of our ANPs, has a friend who runs a printing business so she got Team Woodstock T-shirts made for us all.
“And Dr Vettraino brought her treadmill in from home so everyone could get extra steps in at lunchtime.
“Patients have been watching our progress and have been very generous in donating to our collection bucket in reception.
“In the first week, we’d raised £443 – £88 from the collection bucket alone.
“We’re overwhelmed by the support we’ve received from patients.”
Five Team Woodstock members also took on the 5K Lanark Moor Park Run earlier this month, namely Tracey Forrest, Lesley Moor, Dr Linsey Allison, Joan Waddell and Jan Warren.
Despite getting extra steps in, they were still unable to beat patient administrator Gillian McGregor who notched up the most steps in week one – an amazing 104,927.
Jan Warren, reception manager, won the step challenge in week two with 105,723 steps and Gillian McGregor won again in week three with 101,048 steps.
Gayle added: “Every penny we raise in sponsorshop will be donated to Cancer Research UK.
“However, the partners are giving the weekly step winners a £20 voucher, with another voucher for the overall winner.
“So there’s a lot of internal competitions going on, with Team Nurse adamant they’re going to beat Team GP!
“There are around 30 of us taking part and everyone has been up for the challenge but a real competitive edge is coming out in people too!”
Of course, it’s all good-natured fun as Team Woodstock’s main aim is to raise as much as possible for Cancer Research UK.
Gayle added: “It’s a massive team effort and we’re having fun doing it.
“But all the sponsorship money raised from patients, family, friends and well-wishers will help to fund important research to save more lives.
“So please help us Walk All Over Cancer by sponsoring us.”
Visit fundraise.cancerresearchuk.org/page/woodstock-walks-all-over-cancer to support the team.