A Sutton man is gearing up to take on the London Marathon later this month in a bid to raise money for “pioneering” cancer research.

Mathisha Palehepitiya, whose aunt spent 35 years of her career working at the Institute for Cancer Research (ICR), has been inspired to fundraise for them.

Nina Perusinghe worked in several different research teams and used her expertise in microscopic imaging to help make “crucial discoveries”.

But cancer has also had a major impact on Mathisha’s life, having seen his other aunt pass away from the disease.

Now he is running for the ICR, which has a campus in Sutton, for the second time on a 26-mile route through London.

He has raised more than £400 so far and, with not long left, he hopes to raise even more before the race begins on April 28.

Mr Palehepitiya said: “Too many people in my life have died from cancer – my aunt, close friends and other members of my family.

“My other aunt, Nina, was a senior scientific officer at the ICR for 35 years – she even worked in Professor Paul Workman’s team. He’s now the chief executive of the ICR.

“The progress being made at the ICR gives me such hope for the future and it’s an honour to raise money for them. And living just a stone’s throw away in Sutton, I often run past when training and think about the good work being done. That is so rewarding, running not just for yourself but for so many others.”

Nina said: “During my years at the ICR, I contributed to numerous projects in pathology, cancer genetics and drug discovery with my expertise in electron and confocal microscopy.

“I feel really proud and honoured to have been a part of the ICR, where such great research takes place, and my sincere support will always be there. It’s fantastic that Mathisha is taking on this challenge for the ICR.”

Professor Paul Workman said the ICR “couldn’t be more proud” of all the runners taking part in this year’s London Marathon for it.

He added: “It’s a huge physical effort on their part but their fundraising makes a tremendous difference to our cancer research. In addition to the funding they raise for our research, their efforts and dedication inspire us to work even harder to make discoveries that will improve and save lives.

“We are very grateful to Mathisha – whose aunt Nina worked as a scientist at ICR for 35 years, including for the last few years of her career in my own lab – and to all the other runners in #TeamICR who are working so hard to raise the funds needed to make the discoveries that defeat cancer.”

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