Sunday brunch for Stand Up To Cancer

Neysa (12), Ariffin (16) and Serena Nik-Zainal
Serena Nik-Zainal, a Cancer Research UK clinician scientist, is calling on people across Cambridgeshire to join her and cook up a fundraising feast for Stand Up To Cancer.

She’s urging foodies and fundraisers alike to create a restaurant-style experience at home by hosting a brunch bonanza for their household – with family or housemates donating the bill to life-saving research.

Serena, who is a member of our Early Detection Programme and was honoured with the Dr Josef Steiner Cancer Research Prize in 2019 for her breakthrough work on cancer genome interpretation, shares her time between conducting research and diagnosing and supporting cancer patients with rare genetic diseases.

Conducting her research at the MRC Cancer Unit and the Dept of Medical Genetics, she said: “Being able to turn academic research for a patient benefit is really appealing to me. It means so much to see the effect that our work has on real people. As well as the value for patients, it’s also important for us as scientists to see that we’re making a difference.”

Stand Up To Cancer is a joint fundraising campaign from Cancer Research UK and Channel 4 which aims to get new cancer tests and treatments to people who need them the most.

As a cancer researcher and clinical genetics specialist, Serena knows the value of research through her work with both patients and scientists.

She added: “My early research looked at the DNA of BRCA1 and BRCA2 breast cancers, as I knew from the clinic that patients who inherited these mutations were more likely to develop aggressive breast cancer at an early age. Comparing the DNA of BRCA-positive breast cancers with other types of breast cancer, I saw they had different patterns of mutations. Even though a cancer cell may have hundreds or thousands of different mutations across its genetic code, I found that particular types of breast cancer had common patterns of mutations, which we call mutational signatures.”

In the East of England, around 35,000 people are diagnosed with cancer every year. That’s why Serena is calling on people across Cambridgeshire to sign up for a free fundraising kit now with everything they need to turn their home into an exclusive brunch spot.

Serena combines her clinical work at Addenbrooke’s Hospital with her medical research and knows first-hand how important new cancer discoveries and research helps to save lives.

She continued: “Working with cancer patients has helped me appreciate just how crucial research is and the difference it makes to people’s lives. I’m determined to help people survive. With charities having been hit so hard by the coronavirus outbreak, it feels more important than ever for everyone to do what they can. So, I’m putting a Sunday brunch for Stand Up To Cancer firmly on the menu.”

Supported by Channel 4 show Sunday Brunch, an array of celebrity chefs – including co-host Simon Rimmer – have donated recipes. From Davina McCall’s kedgeree, to Jamie Oliver’s super spinach pancakes and Asma Khan’s courgette sabzi, there’s something to suit everyone’s taste buds. Or participants can simply choose to conjure up their own culinary creations.

Patrick Keely, Cancer Research UK spokesperson for Cambridgeshire, said: “We’re grateful to Serena and her family for helping us to continue our mission. Cancer doesn’t stop in the face of a pandemic. It can affect anyone’s life, at any time so we only have one option: accelerate life-saving research.

“Thanks to the extra time spent at home lately, many of us now know our way around the kitchen much better than before. So why not put these new-found culinary skills to use while inspiring guests to dish up the dosh for a great cause.

“Cooking a special Sunday brunch for your household is a safe and simple way to show support during these challenging times. By taking part you’ll be rewarded with more than just empty plates. The donations your family or housemates make in support of your efforts really could save lives.”

For added inspiration, during October four special episodes of Sunday Brunch will be shown on Channel 4 showcasing some of the delicious Stand Up To Cancer recipes.

Get a free fundraising kit at A Sunday Brunch mug is also available from Stand Up To Cancer’s online shop.

13 Oct 2020