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Donations instead of Wedding Gifts

At a time when many students are counting the pennies and facing the possibility of rising fees,
two graduates have passed up on the gifts which could have eased their new married life together, in favour of helping research into diseases affecting both their families.

Language teacher Helen Leigh (30) and cancer researcher, Dr Kenny MacLeod (29) were married in the Chevin Country Park Hotel in Otley, near Leeds on Saturday, October 9, 2010.

Kenny, from Invergowrie near Dundee, and Helen, from Leeds, met while studying at Glasgow University. He works at Ninewells Hospital and Medical School in Dundee. She teaches French and Spanish at Mearns Academy in Laurencekirk.

Six years ago, Kenny lost his dad, Dr Tom MacLeod, who worked in the Photobiology unit in Ninewells Hospital in Dundee, to cancer. Two years later, Helen's mum, Norma, was diagnosed with early-onset dementia at the age of just 55.

The couple, who live in Dundee, do all they can to help research into the devastating diseases. Instead of placing a wedding wish list in a department store, they invited friends and family to give a donation to the Alzheimer's Research Trust and the St Andrews-based Association for International Cancer Research (AICR).

Kenny's studied for his PhD at Ninewells with leading scientist Professor John Hayes, who has received an incredible 10 AICR grants over the last 12 years.

This week, student finances have topped the news agenda following a landmark report recommending lifting the cap on tuition fees in England. As education is a devolved matter, Scottish university funding is determined in Scotland. Already, however, questions are being asked about how higher education will be paid for in future, north of the border.

The vice-chancellor of Kenny and Helen's alma mater, Glasgow University, Professor Anton Muscatelli, recently made headlines when he suggested graduates should be "giving something back".

As far as vital research is concerned, that is exactly what Kenny and Helen have done. Their generous idea raised a total of more than £1000 for their chosen charities.


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