The London Marathon, which is just over a month away, is more than a challenge to finish. It’s also about charity. Since the London Marathon’s first run in 1981, over £600 million has been raised for noble humanitarian causes. Last year, 77% of all participants were able to run for the charities of their choice although the official charity partner was Anthony Nolan which means you can choose from a list of charities accredited by the London Marathon. Here are a few of these charitable organizations that have been doing amazing work for humanity.
The Anthony Nolan Trust
The Anthony Nolan Trust was named after a young boy born in 1971 with Wiskott-Alrich syndrome died at age 8 because he could not get the bone marrow transplant needed to save his life. His family and relatives were not a match and at the time, there was no system in place to find donors. If Anthony Nolan survived had that bone marrow transplant, he would be around 43 today. The sad part of this story is that 2 years after Anthony was born another young boy, Simon Bostic, was able to undergo a successful bone marrow transplant from an unrelated donor. This gave Anthony’s mom, Shirley, the idea of setting up an organization to help young children in need of bone marrow donors. She put up the Anthony Nolan Bone Marrow Register Trust and in 1994 was successful with their 1,000th bone marrow transplant from a donor registry that grew to over 200,000.
Shirley passed away in 2002 but the organization remains active and visible. They are now working with overseas donors and patients and have gone on to gathering stem cells for transplants. In 2001, they shifted from bone marrow to Peripheral Blood Stem Cell (PBSC) collection and became known as the Anthony Nolan Trust. Today, there are over half a million potential donors on the registry although the charity relies on donations to keep the register and research ongoing. They also earn income from donor fees, tissue-typing, and molecular analysis.
The North London Hospice
The North London Hospice has been around since 1984. They care for patients with life-limiting illness like cancer, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and congestive heart failure (CHF), among others. This multi-faith facility aims to offer emotional, physical, and spiritual care treating every patient with dignity and respect in spite of their illness. Their services are free for both patient and family members and they have an excellent roster of social workers, doctors, nurses, therapists, physiotherapists, councillors, and even spiritual advisers. Their annual costs in running the hospice is 7 million pounds and they rely almost completely on donations since they are only 23% NHS-funded.
The North London Hospice grew out of a need for a medical facility after the only long-stay hospital in the area closed down in 1981. North London has a population of about 5 million and not having a medical facility for patients with life-limiting illness was intolerable. This prompted Dr. Chris Hindley to organise a group to set up the North London Hospice – the first multi-faith hospice in the UK.
Sense is a national charity focused on the deafblind, and those with sensory disabilities. The goal of this group is to help the deafblind children and adults to live independent, normal-as-possible lives. Sense has been around for the past 60 years and started by a group of families with deafblind children who were born this way after being affected by rubella while in their mom’s womb.
Deafblindness is a condition that affects hearing and sight. This condition leads to problems with communications, mobility, social acceptance, and access to information. At Sense, people with this condition and those with single sensory impairments are taught to communicate, learn life skills, and pursue their dreams. There are also housing support and opportunities for education and leisure. In short, this organisation helps those with sensory impairments adjust to their situation and join the mainstream community with confidence and a sense of entitlement. Many of those who join Sense have gone on to be successful in their chosen field.
Cancer Research UK
Cancer Research UK is the official charity for this year’s London Marathon. This charity relies 100% on donations. They conduct clinical trials and had over 35,000 cancer patients volunteer for their clinical trials last year. From the research of Cancer Research UK, survival rates have doubled compared to 40 years ago. One example of the work of this charitable organisation was a clinical trial called Aphinity which uses a combination of drugs to treat breast cancer. It started in 2011 and ended in 2013. One of its clinical patients was Cara McCormick who is now in remission.
This organisation has been able to fund 4,000 doctors, researchers and nurses from the UK to study all kinds of cancer in the hopes of finding a cure or better treatment.
How Charities Are Funded By Events Like the London Marathon
These 3 and other charities apply for spaces in the London Marathon. Once approved, they are given charity entry places which they can offer to anyone interested in supporting their cause. The people who are awarded the charity entry places are asked to raise funds for the charity. The amount differs per organisation but all groups promise to help the runner reach the pre-determined fund goal. Some are pegged at 1,500 pounds, others are higher.
Everyone who gets a charity entry ticket will be given a special marathon kit from the charity which would include t-shirt, training plan, first aid kit, goody bag, and information about the charity. They will also get a special cheering squad from the charity’s office to help them finish the run successfully. After finishing, most charities give massages and a post-race package.
The best part about running for a charity is the immense sense of accomplishment you will feel before, during, and after the race.
Emily from London says it all, “Thank you for organising such enthusiastic support! Every time I ran past an NSPCC cheering point there was a roar of encouragement and shouting of my name – it felt so good, it helped me no end. That was my first ever marathon and it was the most amazing experience. Thank you for enabling me to do it and give my support to such a worthy charity. Thank you!”