A WEE COUNTY school teacher kickstarted an emotional afternoon at Stirling's Race for Life last weekend,

Samantha Currie was diagnosed with the disease just after her 40th birthday and was chosen as the VIP to kick off the event at the university on Sunday.

She sounded the horn to send hundreds of people off on the 5k and 10k courses, including her own husband John and Daughter Emma, 12. Samantha's young son Tom, 2, was also there to show his support.

More than £51,500 was raised in total at Race for Life Stirling, including £2,500 from John and Emma, with all the money going to support scientists in their bid to find new ways to prevent, diagnose and treat cancer.

Samantha, a teacher at Alva PS, said: "My children mean the world to me and have kept a smile on my face even in the tough times.

"Tom is too young to know what cancer is but my daughter Emma has been so strong. There are dark moments but there are also days when I can smile.

"When my daughter saw me bald for the first time she just hugged me and told me I looked beautiful. I'm so proud of her completing the 10k and grateful to everyone who has supported us.

"[Sunday was] an uplifting day. I'm glad to support Race for Life and play my part to fund research which I hope will also help beat cancer for future generations."

Samantha, of Menstrie, was diagnosed with triple negative breast cancer on October 14 last year, just the day before her best friend Kara Rollo's wedding.

But fearing she would ruin bride to be Kara's big day Samantha, who was bridesmaid at the ceremony, kept the news a secret.

The friends made up for lost time after the Perthshire wedding when Samantha finally shared the truth about her cancer treatment. And Kara, 39, has supported Samantha every step of the way since.

Samantha who has already had chemotherapy and lumpectomy surgery will begin radiotherapy sessions later this spring. She's started a Facebook group where people check in to find out how treatment is going.

Cancer Research UK's Race for Life, in partnership with Tesco, is an inspiring series of 3k, 5k, 10k, Pretty Muddy and Pretty Muddy Kids events which raise millions of pounds every year to help beat cancer by funding crucial research. 

Zac Mooney, 20, was first home in the 10k, completing the course in 38 minutes. He was part of a group of family and friends fundraising in memory of former Celtic and Stenhouse striker John Sludden who died aged 56 from cancer last year.

And Alva Academy pupil Robyn McKerracher, 15, was first home in the 5k event, finishing in 22 minutes 27 seconds in memory of her grandad Mike Mangan and aunt Theresa Weldon who both died from the disease.

Every year around 33,200 people are diagnosed with cancer in Scotland and one in two people in the UK born after 1960 will get cancer in their lifetime.

Lisa Adams, Cancer Research UK's spokeswoman in Scotland, said: "We are incredibly grateful to everyone who took part in Race for Life Stirling.

"Life-saving research is being funded right now thanks to our supporters who fundraise. The atmosphere at Race for Life Stirling 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."