FOR John Doogan and his fiancée Zoë the annual Off The Beatson Track event is a family affair.

Both John and Zoë's lives have been affected by their dads being diagnosed with cancer - and now they take part in the charity walk every year in their honour.

But this year the event has a new twist... due to the impact of the coronavirus crisis, the favourite fundraiser is going virtual.

While the seventh annual Off The Beatson Track will be a virtual challenge this year, John and Zoë are still calling on supporters to turn the town yellow on the weekend of August 22 and 23.

John, fiancée Zoë, and their two daughters Skye, seven, and Daisy, two will be joining in again this year.

John, from Milton-of-Campsie, said: “Like many people, we were aware of the Beatson.

"But many people don’t realise or tend to appreciate the support they offer until sadly one of your family members or friends is diagnosed with cancer and needs to receive life-saving treatment."

In 2017, John’s dad, also John, was diagnosed with bladder, throat and bowel cancer and began treatment at The Beatson West of Scotland Cancer Centre.

He still attends for follow-up checks.

John said his family are thankful to Beatson Cancer Charity. He added: “Our lives and his dramatically changed when my dad became a patient.

"Sitting in the hospital with him, it hit me that even if you are not the one undergoing treatment, you, your family and friends are all still affected by cancer, even after the treatment has been completed.

"That’s where Beatson Cancer Charity made the difference for us.”

This year also marks 11 years since Zoë’s dad, John Allan, passed away from pancreatic cancer.

She and her sister Lynsey said the annual event is significant for her family.

Zoë said: "My dad was also treated at the Beatson and we like to honour him in loving memory by taking part each year.

"Although it is disappointing that it won’t be in city centre Glasgow, seeing all the landmarks while walking with others, we can take time as a family to plan our route close to home.

"I’m encouraging everyone to get involved with this year’s walk and help raise as much money as possible.

"Beatson Cancer Charity and the Beatson carry out vital, incredible work daily to support so many patients and families – but they need our support."

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Glasgow Times:

Off The Beatson Track usually sees supporters walk a scenic route around the centre of Glasgow, taking in some of the city's most famous sites.

The flagship event, a 10k challenge, is suitable for all ages and mobility and is a great feel-good day out.

This year should be no different with Beatson Cancer Charity hoping that supporters will continue their celebration with Off The Beatson Track's 2020 alternative.

It now means many can explore their local area from their doorstep instead of taking part in the usual city loop.

Glasgow Times:

Adult entry fees, with kids going free, will allow participants to gain exclusive access to pre-recorded entertainment, playlist and celebrity commentary via the new Off the Beatson Track podcast.

Maisie McCormick, Community Fundraising Manager, said the event is vital to the charity.

She said: “The last six years has seen more than 11,000 participants walk more than 70,000 miles - making it West of Scotland’s biggest, best and most yellow sponsored walk.

“Each year, one in two people in the West of Scotland are newly diagnosed with cancer.

"Proceeds from this event will be dedicated to extension of support services and continued investment in vital research at the Beatson West of Scotland Cancer Hospital.

"This is our biggest event of the year and we are extremely disappointed not to be able to hold it in the normal format, but I very much hope this virtual experience will be just as much fun and encourage even more supporters to sign up."

To sign up friends, family - including dogs - and colleagues for the Off the Beatson Track 2020, go to

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Glasgow Times:

Everyone who takes part receives a t-shirt and specially designed medal.