On 27th September Techniquest Glyndŵr hosted two days of a fun-packed awareness-raising cancer event at their Science Discovery Centre in Wrexham in collaboration with the Wales Cancer Partnership.
The event was the first held in North Wales and was designed to spread awareness about cancer and the research being carried out to combat it.
Billed as ‘Cancerquest’ , the event attracted hundreds of visitors over the two days it was running as families explored various facts and information about cancer through an assortment of interactive activities.
The Wales Cancer Partnership brought together 8 organisations to deliver the varied programme to engage children and adults in various ways about the science around the disease and its treatment.
In the lab at Techniquest Glyndwr Tenovus Cancer Care organised three separate activities exploring the properties of DNA and cells. Children were invited to thread a DNA bracelet of different coloured beads representing the various DNA elements that make up the characteristics of living organisms such as butterflies or monkeys. DNA was extracted from strawberries by children in a practical experiment and “Cellfies” were taken which included an image of cells taken from swabs from the inside of visitors’ cheeks taken through a microscope.
Cancer Research Wales brought along a giant inflatable bowel which visitors were able to walk through and find out what the inside of this part of the anatomy looks like whilst in another ‘Zone’ Macmillan Cancer Care invited children to take part in a quiz about cancer whilst encouraging the adult visitors to suggest their ideas about what would be appropriate support to their service users by writing on leaves which were then attached to a tree.
Melissa Van der Bijl from the BetsiCadwallader Health Board had set upclockwork robot races for children which helped to illustrate the way that scientific research is proposed, funded and carried out whilst she was able to talk with parents about the research going on in Wales.
Supporting the organisations involved in the event was a team of volunteers from Bangor University who were helping out with the various activities and helping to explain to families a little more about what each activity was intended to illustrate.
Jodie Bond, spokesperson for the Wales Cancer Partnership said:
“We were delighted to work with Techniquest Glyndwr on this special event. Eight different cancer organisations came together to make this possible. The Wales Cancer Partnership strives to bring organ
isations in Wales together like this and it was really rewarding to see everyone working together to teach visitors about cancer and allow them to get hands on with the science behind our research.
“It was wonderful to see visitors’ faces light up as they looked at their own cheek cells under a microscope, extracted DNA from strawberries, or explored our giant inflatable bowel. I hope that through getting children involved in our work at this event, we have gone some way to inspiring the next generation of cancer researchers.”
Sian Whealanfrom Cardiff and Rachel Hughes from Wrexham are both research nurses with Cancer Research UK and were with the stand showing how treatments are targeted on to cancer cells. Visitors were invited to lob small plastic balls into specially marked plastic cups laid out on an outline of a human figure which demonstrated how some balls inevitably missed their target.
“We have had quite a few families visit us who have had a family member who had been treated for the disease. By having our demonstration here and talking with people we were better able to explain the treatments they may have had and it helped the children understand what was going on.”
“I think events such as this where various organisations get together to raise awareness are really good. It really helps to get the right messages out about cancer and its treatment”