Put your lockdown walking to good use and help fight cancer

Over the past year there have been over 125,000 lives lost to coronavirus and at least 166,000 to cancer .

It’s an unimaginable figure, but one that a small charity in the heart of Buckinghamshire is working hard to combat. Called Medical Detection Dogs (MDD), they’re a dedicated team who train dogs to sniff out diseases such as cancer, coronavirus and even neurological conditions including Parkinson’s. In return, their work will give people a better chance of receiving an earlier diagnosis, which in many cases, will have a direct impact on their chances of survival.

However, like any charity, they rely on donations to keep going.

That’s why, in a year that we’ve been rocked by Covid and the horrendous knock-on effect it’s had in the diagnosis and treatment of other life-threatening conditions, we are championing MDD through our 2021 Metro.co.uk Lifeline campaign.
While there’s no doubt lockdown has been a tremendously difficult time, one thing it has given many of us is the opportunity to discover the joy of walking. So we’re asking you to put all those steps to good use and sign up to our Walk and Woof for MDD challenge this June.

For those who love a good long hike there’s a 42k marathon distance route, while if you prefer a slightly shorter walk, there’s a 10k walkon offer, which you can even bring your dog and family on.

The adventure starts and finishes just an hour outside London in the beautiful Oxfordshire village of Goring and takes our trekkers through breathtaking countryside, as well as along the Thames Path.

If you have a hard time brushing your dog's teeth, squeeze some enzymatic doggie toothpaste onto a Nylabone or rope toy and let your pooch go to town on it.

We’ll also have some familiar faces joining us, with The Great Celebrity Bake Off winner Alexandra Burke signing up, as well as TV’s Dr Christian Jessen , presenter Debbie Flint and reality star Pete Wicks. Talking about why she’s taking part, Alexandra explained, ‘When I heard that there are these incredible dogs that can sniff out diseases such as cancer , Parkinson’s, even Covid, and, of course Type 1 diabetes, supporting Medical Detection Dogs through the Metro.o.uk Lifeline campaign immediately became a really important cause for me.’
Alexandra Burke, Debbie Flint, Dr Christian Jessen and Pete Wicks, all pictured with a dog.
Our celeb walkers include (clockwise from top left) Alexandra Burke, Debbie Flint, Pete Wicks and Dr Christian Jessen (Picture: Getty/MDD)
Pete added, ‘I can’t wait to join the MDD team in raising awareness of their groundbreaking research. Dogs have always been and always will be man’s best friend.’ Meanwhile, Debbie, who is an for ambassador the charity alongside Dr Christian, said, ‘What I love about this charity is that it is not just about the dogs, it’s about dogs helping humans. So rather asking people if they want to help me raise money for dogs, it’s the opposite. The money will help dogs to help us.’

Move over Rover! 45% of dogs sleep in their owner’s bed (we’re pretty sure a large percentage also hog the blankets!)

Co-founder of Medical Detection Dogs, Claire Guest had her own breast cancer detected by her trained dog, Daisy, back in 2008 when the charity was just starting out, so knows firsthand how important their work is. ‘The consultant told me that the tumour had been situated so deeply in my chest that had Daisy not spotted it, my prognosis would have been a lot different if we’d had waited for the lump to grow enough for me to notice it,’ she recalled.

There’s no doubt that MDD’s work does saves lives, so why not consider all your lockdown walking as training in progress and sign up (details above) to help raise money and be a part of the amazing difference they make.

We can guarantee it will be a day to remember, full of fresh air, fun and the warm fuzzy feeling of doing some good – what more could you ask for?

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