Posts Tagged 'Macmillan Cancer Support'

Dream Marathon Winner – Sarah Johnson

Blog Image Sarah Johnson

We announced our first winner back in October for the ‘Dream Marathon‘ competition and this month the lucky winner is Sarah Johnson! Sarah has won her dream marathon experience including £100 of Adidas kit, two nights in Central London, upgrade to the Green Start and entry to Virgin Money’s after-party.

Sarah is running the Virgin Money London Marathon for her Brother Chris. He sadly died of Bowel Cancer aged only 30 earlier this year. Sarah says: “Ever since Chris died, running has been super hard.  When you run you are alone with your own thoughts; which at times can be liberating, at others debilitating.” 

Sarah has decided to turn her running into a positive and this is why she’s taking on the challenge of the Marathon distance. She’s running for MacMillan Cancer Support and says that: “Although given a terminal diagnosis, Chris spent much of his time helping others; via social media and raising money himself. I want to remember and celebrate his attitude and resolve”. 

 MacMillan Cancer Support have a motto that Sarah strongly believes and so did Chris ‘no-one should face cancer alone’.

You can show your support and help Sarah achieve her fundraising target here.

5 challenges for 5 charities


To mark Virgin Money Giving’s 5th birthday, today’s fundraiser – Jule Wilson – decided to take on 5 very different personal challenges for 5 different charities, and is hoping lots of others will do the same.

Jule is going Sober for October for Macmillan Cancer Support, doing the Stand Up To Cancer March around central Newcastle-upon-Tyne, walking barefoot over hot coals at the Leeds Firewalk for The Stroke Association, sleeping rough in Sunderland as part of the Centrepoint Sleepout raising money for homeless young people and finally dunking herself in the North Sea as part of the Boxing Day Dip for the mental health charity Sane.

Jule tells us “was determined to do some fundraising this year, but I wanted to find events that were a bit different, and that didn’t require huge amounts of physical training as I have a weak ankle following an injury and am not long back on my feet after illness. ”

All five charities being supported in the challenge mean something to Jule. Since 2003, as well as volunteering for Cancer Research UK, Jule has donated annually to Cancer Research UK and Macmillan on her Grandma’s birthday, after losing two grandparents to cancer. She points out that the care her grandma received from a Macmillan nurse was a great support to her mum. Jule says “Giving up the demon drink for a month was certainly not going to do me any harm, and I loved the idea of the country uniting together for the March.”

Jule says that stroke can happen to anyone at any time and can have a huge affect on families, but with the right treatment and support, available due to orgnisations like The Stroke Association, people can now make amazing strides. Similarly with CentrepointJule knows how easily homelessness can happen to people from all walks of life.

The Firewalk was something I didn’t think many people would try, but I fancied giving it a go, and I’ve roped a friend in tooI’m hoping it’ll be mind over matter, and although the thought of it is a little bit scary, I’m sure the fact it’s for such an important charity will help spur us on on the nightI’ll be able to layer up for the Sleepout, but most homeless people don’t have that luxury, so I feel it’s important to experience just a little of what they go through each winter, to help raise awareness of the issue as well as some funds to help tackle it. 

The final challenge, the Boxing Day Dip, means the most to Jule. “I chose Sane because it is one of the lesser known mental health charities, which offers practical support not just to sufferers but also to those who live and work with them. One in four people will have a mental health issue at some time; myself, several close friends and family members have been and are affected by mental illness – it is a widespread issue, but doesn’t have to be as debilitating as it is assumed to be.”

Jule adds “What would inspire me to keep going even more would be if more people would join me and do 5for5 of their own, using Virgin Money Giving – whether that’s five one-off events like me, for different charities, or five events for the same charity.

You can support Jule via her Virgin Money Giving page and, if you want to start your own fundraising, you can create a page here.

Big Bird’s Charity Challenge

Blog image

We often feature fundraisers taking on an incredible challenge for a charity close to their heart, however Jackie is slightly different. She didn’t just decide to take on a challenge, she gave herself an incredible fundraising target to be divided between four charities, and will continue to fundraise – by any means – until she reaches that target. Jackie told us her story.

Big Bird’s Charity Challenge began in 2010 when I turned 40.  I decided that I wanted to do something different to celebrate my milestone birthday.

BBCC is all about raising £40,000 for four different charities and inspiring friends and family to help raise money towards the target as everyone can do something, no matter how big or small to raise money.  It’s all the little amounts that soon add up to make a big amount.

The money is divided between four different charities that have a personal meaning to me.  The charities are Help the Hospices UK, Macmillan Cancer Support, Diabetes UK and Help For Heroes.

Unfortunately, my mum had cancer and passed away in 1997 when she was 60.  Without the support of Macmillan Cancer Support and St Michael’s Hospice, I am not sure how my family and I would have coped.  In 2007, I lost a dear friend, Graham Goldsmith to a brain tumour and it was the help and support of the Iain Rennie Hospice that helped his family through a very difficult time, which is why I chose Help the Hospices UK as the second charity.  My old pops, now in his 80s, has diabetes and my friend was serving in the RAF and so Diabetes UK and Help For Heroes were chosen as the other two charities.

I started the BBCC fundraising with a 40th birthday party and held a silent auction, raffle and had fun games to play and the evening raised over £4,000, which was a great start.  Since then, I have held various events which have included:  me training and taking part in three half marathons, a team of 16 doing the three peaks challenge,  cake bakes, fancy dress discos, pub quizzes, Christmas fêtes and ‘Come Dine With Me’ evenings.  A friend very generously donated her wedding money and even my godson and his sister iced biscuits and sold them for 50p each!  I have also done numerous car boot sales, sold items on eBay and recycled mobile phones, CDs and DVDs.

As you can see, it really is a case of all the little amounts add up.  I am looking to hold a black tie event in April next year and a possible abseil down the Spinnaker Tower which will take me completely out of my comfort zone as I hate heights!  But to me, what’s a challenge like that against the challenges that my Mum and Graham faced?   

It hasn’t all been easy; having a full-time job, finding time to train for my half marathons and organise events – but it has been fun!  It does all take time but, with the help of my friends and family, I am pleased to say the total now – including gift aid – is over £39,000, so not far from the big £40,000 now!

To help support Jackie reach her incredible target, visit her Virgin Money Giving page.

Hiking in Meggings


Many different things can inspire a fundraiser to take on a challenge and, in some cases, change their lives. Sadly, fundraising challenges often start with a painful event when a friend or family member requires the help of a charity. This is the case of our Fundraiser Friday star, Alex Waddington.

Tomorrow, Alex Waddington will be hiking 56 miles through the Peak District, home to the Bullock Smithy Hike. He was inspired to take on the challenge after his dad died, very suddenly, of cancer in January of this year. He tells us “It was only weeks after my daughter had been born and, sadly, dad never got to meet Aggie. So it was a bad start to the year, but it provided some great motivation for me to do something good. “

And so, Alex decided to take on the Bullock Smithy Hike. A 56 mile trek through the dramatic Peak District which Alex says “takes in some of the finest parts of the Peaks, offers lots of dramatic climbs and descents, and features, among other things, some rather frisky cattle!“.

Alex will be fundraising for two charities, the first of which is Macmillan Cancer Support, a charity who work with those who have cancer, the families of cancer sufferers, as well as health and social care professionals to improve the lives of the 1 in 3 people in the UK who will be diagnosed in their lifetime. He also decided to fundraise for the smaller charity, Strathcarron Hospice in Scotland, who say their aim “is to sustain, develop and deliver a full range of quality services – in-patient, day hospice, community, bereavement, pastoral care, lymphoedema, reasearch and education.”  Alex set himself a £3,000 target for the charities which “both provided some great support and care during [his] Dad’s short illness.”

The challenge which Alex took on doesn’t just involve the hike itself, Alex has undertaken a 6 month training schedule to get himself in shape which he admits has been hard work, but something he has enjoyed and that has been successful in getting him fit. He has also faced challenges in the shape of leggings and cows. Alex tells us more;

To help push my fundraising along in the early days, I offered to wear some garish “meggings” (men’s leggings) on my Monday morning training to the station run if we hit £1,000 by a certain date. My friends and colleagues responded magnificently and sure enough, one morning I ran five miles looking absolutely ridiculous – but with a huge smile on my face! They never got a second airing – they were so tight they ripped in some unfortunate places! As well as keeping my feet and body going across 56 miles of challenging terrain, and through the night, I will have to tackle my fear of cows. I have never trusted them but during my training I have been forced to go through some fields where in previous years the cows have been reported to have charged at walkers! My response has been to take a walking pole and follow advice, which is not to run but face them down and shout at them. It’s worked so far – I still don’t trust the things, but I am less worried about them now!”

So far, including gift aid, Alex has raised over £3,500. His warm-ups have included walking 42 miles across remote North Yorkshire moorland, through the night, as a warm up hike. “I finished in 15 hours and having been awake for 33 hours by the end, promptly laid down and fell asleep in the long grass for an hour.”

Alex concludes by telling us “After such a bad start to the year, things are set to end on a positive note.

To support Alex in his fundraising challenge, visit his Virgin Money Giving page.

Diana’s Boys

Dianas boys Blog

Christian and Adam are Brothers who are doing the Virgin Money London Marathon this year together. They’re running for Macmillan Cancer Support in memory of their dear Mum Diana who sadly passed away from Pancreatic Cancer last January.

Their Mother had been ill for a year or so and after many check-ups she was finally diagnosed with Cancer . This was devastating for her and her family and the worst was still to come. After just a month of being diagnosed Diana sadly lost her battle – on Adam’s birthday. This was a shock for everyone and Christian and Adam said “Macmillan helped us to recognise the warning signs and they provided heartfelt honesty. They told us what to expect.”

Diana’s boys are turning such a shocking event in their life into something positive by training and running the Virgin Money London Marathon together, they’re hoping to run it in under 4 hours and have set a target of raising £5,000 for Macmillan. When asked what they imagine they’ll feel like when they cross the finish line their response was “we hope we made our Mum proud.”

You can show your support for Christian and Adam by donating on their Virgin Money Giving page 

Supporters Join in Le Mans Motor Racing Spectacle

On 11 and 12 June, Martin Rich will be competing at Le Mansto to raise £100,000 for the Macmillan Cancer Support charity in memory of his father, and is encouraging supporters to play their own part in racing’s greatest spectacle.

Racing the Evora GTE for the Lotus Jetalliance team, non-professional racing driver Martin Rich has had the Le Mans car emblazoned with the names of the supporters who have participated in his fundraising efforts by making donations.

Martin Rich

Losing his Dad in 2009 to Sarcoma cancer and having a passion for motor sport, Martin resolved that if he ever managed to race at Le Mans he would use the opportunity to raise money for Macmillan Cancer Support who provided help and support during his Dad’s illness.

The first Lotus to enter the world’s most famous race since the 1990’s, those who donated towards the charity will see their names race around the course on the momentous occasion.

To sponsor Martin Rich and to see how he gets on with the race, go to

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