Northern Ireland news

Dad whose cancer was spotted in family lockdown zoom quiz launches Belfast's Race for Life

Lisburn's Kieran Drinkwater pictured at Sunday's Race for Life event at Stormont with daughters Eliza and Ivy
Paul Ainsworth

A Co Down father who discovered he had skin cancer after taking part in a video call quiz with family during the Covid lockdown helped launch Sunday’s Race for Life event at Stormont.

More than 2,000 runners took part in 5k and 10k runs to raise money for Cancer Research UK, and Lisburn’s Kieran Drinkwater was chosen as the charity’s VIP starter to kick off the event that saw £122,210 in funds collected.

The 35-year-old dad-of-two was diagnosed with malignant melanoma in March of 2021 after taking part in a family Zoom quiz three months earlier in which his mother noticed a mole on his forehead had got bigger.

Kieran said technology “saved his life” as he later sought a medical opinion and received the diagnosis.

“She pointed to a black dot and said she couldn’t remember seeing it before. I just said it was a mole and it had been there for as long as I could remember,” he said, describing the moment when his mother spotted the mole.

“It must have planted a seed of doubt in my mind as a couple of months later I decided to fish out some old photographs to see if it had grown. I found some from when my daughter Eliza was born which was just a few years earlier and the difference was like night and day.

“Back then it was a tiny dot like you would make with a ball point pen and it had grown to about the size of a five pence piece or even a little bigger than that.”

Following an emergency referral, Kieran had the mole removed at a private clinic and endured a three-week wait for test results to see if it was cancerous.

“While I did try to be optimistic, I think I knew in my heart of hearts it was cancer. I’m young; I’m relatively healthy and have had no significant health issues, so it was a shock when I was told it was cancer,” he said.

“I was in shock and I sat in complete silence for a while before I told my wife as I was afraid I wouldn’t be able to tell her without crying.”

Following further surgery, he was given the all-clear in August of 2021.

“My experience has shown me why research is so important. That’s why I am so happy to be launching this year’s Race for Life,” he added.

Cancer Research UK’s Jean Walsh said: “We are incredibly grateful to everyone who took part in Race for Life Belfast.

“Life-saving research is being funded right now thanks to our supporters who fundraise. The atmosphere at Race for Life Belfast was hugely moving - full of emotion, courage, tears and laughter as people celebrated the lives of those dear to them who have survived cancer and remembered loved ones lost to the disease. 

“Now we’re asking everyone who took part to return the money they’re raised as soon as possible. Funds raised - whether it’s £10 or £100 - will help scientists find new ways to prevent, diagnose and treat cancer, helping save more lives.” 


Northern Ireland news