Saoirse-Monica Jackson, known for portraying the role of Erin Quinn on the Channel 4 sitcom Derry Girls, is making a unique stand against cancer – dressed as Charlie Chaplin.
She joins stars of TV, radio and sport, who have channelled their favourite trailblazers to launch this year’s Stand Up To Cancer, a joint fundraising campaign from Cancer Research UK and Channel 4.
The talented actress transformed into the great comic artist to help highlight the need to support life-saving research.
Trailblazers are relentless, unpredictable and unforgiving in their determination to break boundaries and find new paths, much like Stand Up To Cancer’s scientists and their tireless commitment to developing cutting edge new treatments.
To mark the return of the campaign, Saoirse is calling on people in Derry to get involved in Stand Up To Cancer’s Fortnight of Fundraising from 11 – 25 October.
She is encouraging everyone to take inspiration from her extraordinary makeover, raid their dressing up boxes and transform themselves in a funny, unusual or unexpected way to raise vital funds.
On her trailblazer choice Saoirse-Monica said: “I know every family has been affected by cancer in some form or another, so Stand Up To Cancer is a fundraising campaign that can help everyone. What I love is that it really engages everyone from young to old – I think that’s a great thing. The sad fact is that statistics show it’s going to impact everyone in one way or another – every hour someone in Northern Ireland is diagnosed with cancer.
“Charlie Chaplin was such a trailblazer! He was so innovative, and he really did break the mould. As an actor myself something I really admire about him was his physical talent, he was around in a time of silent movies and painted this whole comical picture that really roped the audience in. He could do that with just his physicality which is something I massively admire.
“No one ever quite knew what Charlie was going to do next and I think that is something we can all learn from. To beat cancer at its own game we need to be a little bit unpredictable. To find new ways to raise funds for lifesaving research and capture people’s imagination, like dressing up as one of your trailblazing heroes!
“Cancer changes lives, but so can we. Money raised through Stand Up To Cancer will help to accelerate new cancer tests and treatments, which will benefit people in Derry and across Northern Ireland.”
Stand Up To Cancer unites scientist, celebrities and communities to generate funds, raise awareness and accelerate progress.
A range of stars have taken on new looks in support of the campaign, dressing up as musical icons, historical figures and fictional characters such as Prince (Maya Jama), Nick Knowles (Joe Lycett), Cleopatra (Sam Thompson) Coco Chanel (Andrea McLean), Michelle Obama (AJ Odudu), Alan Turing (Greg Rutherford), Elton John (Roman Kemp) and Bette Davis (Roisin Conaty),
Saoirse-Monica added: “Cancer affects everyone. The older you get the more you find it goes on around you. It’s an unforgiving disease, it’s indiscriminate. The strides that have been made in research are incredible. It gives you hope for people. It’s going in the right direction, but we obviously need to invest more money so hopefully one day no one has to go through the horror of the disease.
“The figure of one person every hour diagnosed with cancer in Northern Ireland really brings home how important Stand Up To Cancer is to help accelerate new tests and treatments to save more lives.”
Since it was launched in the UK in 2012, Stand Up To Cancer has raised over £62 million to fund 52 pioneering clinical trials and research projects.
Simon Harrison, head of Stand Up To Cancer, said: “It’s been great to have such amazing support to launch Stand Up To Cancer this year. Trailblazers find new avenues, and don’t stop until they achieve their goals. And that is how we feel in our fight against cancer. Our scientists are leading the way, carrying out life-saving work that will change what it means to get a cancer diagnosis, finding new paths and making progress.
“One in two people will get cancer in their lifetime and now, more than ever, we need to do everything we can to fund pioneering research that makes a real difference for people with the disease. We hope people in Derry will be inspired to get involved and stand up to cancer.”
The Stand Up To Cancer campaign will continue throughout September and October and there are lots of easy ways that people can get involved. From dressing up as their own trailblazer, to organising a feast for friends or taking on a gaming challenge, there’s more than one way to make a difference.
And for those who want to help beat cancer in style, there’s also a striking range of clothing and accessories available online.
To get involved visit www.su2c.org.uk.