PokerStars women race in aid of Cancer Research UK

"Cancer, we're coming to get you!"

This is the battle cry of the women who run, walk or jog Race for Life to raise money for Cancer Research UK. Since Race for Life started in 1994, six million women have taken part, raising more than £493 million for Cancer Research UK's life-saving work.

PokerStars recently launched a program called Helping Hands, designed to encourage staff and players to make a difference around the world. Giving back to our communities, and supporting our people, has been at the very heart of PokerStars since we began, something we work on through our various charity committees, supporting employee fundraising and larger projects that we have invested in globally.

Helping Hands gives a new framework for expanding this this work, so when PokerStars Women was asked if we'd like to get involved with this new project our answer was, of course. Cancer is a disease that touches many of us personally, and Cancer Research UK's Race for Life is one way to hit cancer where it hurts! Helping Hands and PokerStars Women wanted to support Race for Life.

Liv Boeree Race for Life.jpg

It was all systems go to get a fundraising plan together. This was made easier by the enthusiasm of some fine PokerStars people who were happy to set something up on short notice. One email popped into my inbox saying, "I'm already running Race for Life!" I discovered many PokerStars staff members knew the cause well and even more had personal reasons to try to make this a success.

We have a plan. Through Helping Hands, we will pay the entrance fee for any PokerStars women who'd like to enter Race for Life. We'd also like to offer entrants an extra way to raise money for Cancer Research UK: They can host their own fundraising tournament at PokerStars.

Next up is the important bit. We want all of our players, male or female, wherever in the world you're based, to support our fundraising efforts. The tournaments will run from June 1 to June 9, and they'll each have a $5 + $5 buy-in, which means $5 supports Cancer Research UK, and the other $5 gives you something to play for. We hope you'll have fun, play some poker, and support research to help beat all 200 types of cancer.

Cancer Research UK's work has led to many breakthroughs in cancer treatment and benefited countless people. As just one of many examples, the organization helped shape the use of a drug that the World Health Organisation now lists as an essential drug for the treatment of breast cancer (tamoxifen). Cancer survival rates in the UK have doubled over the last 40 years, thanks to the work of Cancer Research UK. The charity will keep fighting until cures for all 200 types of cancer are found.

When Team Pro Liv Boeree heard about PokerStars fundraising events in aid of Race for Life, she was eager to get involved, despite the fact she has very little time to train before she races off to the WSOP in Las Vegas. So, Liv will run the 10K race at Clapham Common, London, on June 1. Her online tournament will take place that same evening at 15:00 ET. (She may well be a bit tired when she plays!) Play the tournament with Liv and/or donate to Liv's "JustGiving" page here.

Liv Boeree running 1.jpg

I usually only run if I'm about to miss the bus, but like many of my PokerStars colleagues, I'll be running the Race for Life this year. It's just too important.

Here's a recap of all the ways you can get involved:

Take Part in a Race for Life Event

UK women, take part by signing up, sponsoring, cheering, or volunteering at events! It's fun, gets you fit, and, most importantly, it raises money for vital research. Find all of the details about how to claim a free entry on PokerStars on the new home page.

General Race for Life pic 1.jpg

Host a Tournament at PokerStars

It used to be all about passing sponsorship forms to friends and organizing cake bake sales, but poker-playing women now have a better way to raise money. If you're running Race for Life and want a charity tourney to raise money in aid of Cancer Research UK, PokerStars will set one up with your name on it. Simply email PokerStarsWomen@pokerstars.com for details.

Although we hope you'll invite your friends to play, these won't be private tourneys, as making them open to all provides a better opportunity to raise cash. The tourneys will hopefully raise more than a few cupcakes sold for 50p each. (Although we at PokerStars Women are big fans of cupcakes, so feel free to bake away!)

Play a Tournament at PokerStars

Liv Boeree's tournament kicks off a week of online charity tournaments. Hers will take place on June 1 at 15:00 ET for $5+$5. If you miss that one, there will be plenty more opportunities.

Tourneys run from June 1 to 9. Players will each have a $5+$5 buy-in, and they will be listed as "Race for Life" in the tournament lobby. Don't forget that $5 goes to the prize pool and $5 to Cancer Research UK.

Donate to Race for Life from Your PokerStars Account

If you'd like to donate to Cancer Research UK directly, you can do so by using the player transfer feature. Simply go to Requests > Transfer Funds > and enter the account "raceforlife."

To see what Race for Life is all about, watch this video:

There are few words to describe quite how much cancer sucks, but I hope PokerStars players can show cancer a thing or two. Hey cancer, PokerStars players are coming to get you!

Joanne Bartley
@PokerStars in PS Women