Press release 29 March 2022

A charity fundraiser is set to tackle the gruelling staircases of a Manchester skyscraper in memory of his son and wife who both sadly died from cancer.

Gary Pullan, aged 42 who lives in Bury and works as a paramedic in Manchester, will run up the 46 floors of Manchester’s Beetham Tower for his son Matthew, who died from a brain tumour in September last year aged just 18. Gary also lost his first wife Claire to breast cancer in 2012 aged just 36.

The double tragedy has deeply affected Gary and his family, including Matthew’s twin brother Alex and younger son Mark.

Gary said: “Matthew was treated for a brain tumour when he was just three and we thought it was behind us. Unfortunately for our family, lightening struck twice when he was diagnosed with another completely unrelated brain tumour in 2020. Doctors were completely baffled why he should suffer twice, but despite the tough card he was dealt, Matthew carried on trying to achieve his ambitions and he found out he had passed his A levels and got a university place just weeks before he died.
“Claire was first diagnosed in 2007. She had a mastectomy and then received chemotherapy, radiotherapy and other treatments.  The cancer returned in 2012, but it was too extensive to treat.
“To lose both Matthew and Claire has obviously deeply affected our family and I wanted to do something positive to try and help others. I’m not a runner, so this will be an experience, but I’ll give it my best shot.”

Gary, who has since re-married a fellow paramedic also called Claire and has a stepson Samuel, will takes on the 798 steps (ascending 171 meters) in the event on Sunday 10 April.

He added: “The impact the Christie has had on me and my family has been profound. The work they do, day in day out, is outstanding. Both in research into eradicating cancer and the care the staff give to patients and their families.
“The Christie charity supports both these vital areas and I’ve seen first-hand how that money goes towards helping patients in all kinds of ways.”

Josh Hughff, sporting events officer at The Christie charity, said: “We’re so touched that Gary has chosen to support The Christie to celebrate the lives of Matthew and Claire.
“We know it will be very emotional for him to scale the heights with all the other people who are taking part. It is certain to be a great day at one of Manchester’s most iconic landmarks.
“The Tower run is a really great event and is much more challenging than people imagine. However, the views are well worth the effort and it is a great atmosphere on the day.” 

The Christie charity supports the work of The Christie NHS Foundation Trust providing enhanced services over and above what the NHS funds. This includes money for care and treatment, research, education and extra patient services. Gifts from the public make a huge difference to the care and treatment that The Christie is able to provide to patients and their families. 

The Christie NHS Foundation Trust was the first specialist trust to be rated as ‘Outstanding’ twice (in 2016 and 2018) by the health regulator the Care Quality Commission (CQC). It referred to The Christie as ‘a leader in cancer care’ and ‘a pioneer in developing innovative solutions to cancer care.’ The CQC praised the Trust’s staff which it said ‘go the extra mile to meet the needs of patients and their families’ and that they were ‘exceptionally kind and caring.’ In 2017, the CQC rated The Christie as the best specialist trust in the country, and one of the top three trusts overall in England.