2.6 Challenge

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Thousands of you should no doubt have been running in the London Marathon tomorrow, Sunday, 26th April, and aside from the personal disappointment, charities large and small will miss out on the millions the annual event raises.

The Virgin Money London Marathon is the world’s biggest one-day fundraising event, raising more than £66.4 million for thousands of charities in 2019.

Many of these charities have had to reduce or stop services at a time when vulnerable members of society need them most; thousands of staff have been placed on furlough and many charities will not survive the next few months.

The 2.6 Challenge has been set up to help save the UK’s charities and you don’t need to be a runner to take part.

All you need to do is dream up an activity based around the numbers 2.6 or 26 that suits your skills and complete it on Sunday, 26th April – when the 40th London Marathon would have taken place.

The 2.6 Challenge can be any activity you like – from running 2.6 miles to holding an online workout with 26 of your friends.

Whatever your age or ability, you can take part – it’s not just for superheroes but for home heroes.

Choose your #TwoPointSixChallenge, head to the ‘donate or fundraise’ buttons on the website to save your chosen charity, then complete your challenge.

Whether you’re running around the balcony for 2.6 miles, doing 26 press-ups with the dog on your back or bench-pressing 26 kilos with your grandchildren, your help to save the UK’s charities which have all been affected by the impact of the coronavirus.

Do your bit

Help to inspire the nation by sharing pictures or videos of your challenge on social media using the official hashtag #TwoPointSixChallenge to be part of the campaign.

Pacific row

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Picture: From left, Emma Rogers, Jess Shuman, Kat Butler, Anna Campbell

Girls dreaming big: Crew preparing for 4,000km row across Pacific aim to inspire others

Kat is one of four ordinary girls bidding to do something extraordinary to try to encourage girls to dream dare do.

She and three others, Emma, Jess and Anna, are part of the Girls Who Dare crew who will be rowing in the Great Pacific Race in May 2020.
Described as the “world’s toughest endurance challenge”, the girls will row 24 hours a day, living on a 24ft boat as they row the 4,000km across the Pacific from California to Hawaii, with the aim of breaking the world record which stands at 50 days.

Kat who rows at Wallingford Rowing Club, has been rowing for about six years having taken it up after being inspired by the 2012 London Olympics.

She works as a trauma and orthopaedic registrar and admits it has been hard fitting in the training around 14 hour days/nights but says it has been going well, but added: “Jess has just had an appendectomy (better now than half way across the Pacific!) so her training is a little stilted at the moment but she’s getting back into it.”

The four girls had not met until Emma put the idea of the challenge out on Facebook, where Kat admits she “jumped at the chance”.
She said: “For me it’s the mental and physical challenge, and such an amazing once in a lifetime opportunity. We then further advertised on social media and found Jess and Anna.”

The girls will sleep in cabins at either end of the boat with rowing space in the middle. The cabins are the size of a single bed, although there is no bed or mattress, the floors are padded and sleeping bags will keep the girls warm during their rest periods.

They’ll spend two hours rowing and two hours sleeping; food will be mostly freeze-dried meals and energy bars; a change into less wet clothing; quick wash with a baby wipe and into the sleeping bag.
Kat admits the physical side does not particularly worry her but that the mental challenge will be tough.

She says: “I have no idea how I will respond to the fear of a 40ft wave and being so sleep deprived all I want to do is cry, having sores on my hands and bottom that cause unresolving pain and to top it off the potential for being hit in the head by flying fish! Who knows how you will respond to that?”

But it the team work and the aim of inspiring others that will drive Kat and her crewmates on, “I am hoping as a team we can work together, supporting each other and driving each other on to complete this amazing challenge and hopefully setting a new world record as we go. Dream big!”

For more information and to support the girls, visit Girls who dare

Moonwalk London

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Thousands of people will take part in the iconic MoonWalk London to improve the lives of those with cancer.

Frances Flaxington from Lambeth is preparing to take on her 11th MoonWalk London, organised by breast cancer charity Walk the Walk.

At Midnight on Saturday, 11th May, she will join thousands of women and men wearing decorated bras walking either a Half Moon (13.1 + 2 miles) or a Full Moon (26.2 miles) through the streets of London, to raise money and awareness for breast cancer. Both distances start and finish at Walk the Walk’s huge pink tent on Clapham Common.

Frances first heard about The MoonWalk from a friend who had taken part – she had always loved walking and wanted to do something in memory of her mum who passed away from breast cancer. She has now completed an incredible 10 Full Moons, with the first back in 2005. Since then, Frances has been treated for ovarian and stomach cancer, and underwent a preventative double mastectomy because of the very high risk of developing breast cancer herself.

She says: “I am lucky my flat is on The MoonWalk route, so every year I pop home to go to the toilet, rather than having to use the portaloos! Every year, when you are walking along The Thames, it is so emotional as you watch the stream of people all doing The MoonWalk for the same purpose. It is great that cancer is no longer the ‘Big C’ scary word it once was. Life does go on after a cancer diagnosis. You don’t ever forget that you’ve had cancer, but life changes, in a good way – it makes it more valuable.

“I would encourage anyone to sign up to take part in The MoonWalk – it is a great cause, a personal challenge, and brilliant fun!”

The MoonWalk London is the flagship event organised by breast cancer charity Walk the Walk and has helped the charity raise an incredible £128 million for vital breast cancer causes over the last 22 years. The MoonWalk is a unique, fun night out – this year’s theme is Disco Inferno, so think Saturday Night Fever, glitterballs and all things disco! Sign up on your own or maybe get a team of friends and family together to celebrate a special occasion.

The minimum age for taking part in the MoonWalk London is 13 and hundreds of men take part every year – did you know that men get breast cancer too?

Photos from The Moonwalk London 2018

Raise money, raise awareness, get fit and have fun. Please sign up for The MoonWalk London now or donate here

Halow250 bike ride

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Halow riders out to shine with 250-mile charity cycle in Guildford

Say halo to the young people from the halow project at the end of the week as they attempt to ride 250 miles in Guildford.

They will be taking to the saddle on static bikes outside Waitrose from Friday, 3rd May to Sunday, 5th May for a 250-mile cycling challenge, partnering with halow’s biggest fundraiser of the year, the halow250 bike ride.

The young people will be attempting to mirror the ride, which takes place on the same days and covers 250 miles from London to France in just 48 hours, led by the charity’s patron, Damon Hill OBE.

The super static bike ride will feature two exercise bikes with halow young people rotating throughout the weekend and giving it everything they have got!

The event is led by the Building Futures Group, who are currently in training for their upcoming cycling challenge and hope to reach their goal of £1,500 for the halow project.

The halow project aims to create opportunities and support young people aged 16-35 with a learning disability enabling them to live independent, meaningful, fulfiled lives and become more involved in their local community.

The charity based in Guildford believes the young people it helps should have the same life experiences and chances as any other young person.
All money raised will support young people with a learning disability by providing a range of services to enable independence including social activities, a 1:1 buddy service and supported living.

Help the young people reach their fundraising by donating to their Justgiving page.

The London to France ride starts in Putney with cyclists going 80 miles through Surrey and Hampshire to Portsmouth to catch the ferry to St Malo. They will then ride towards Mont St Michel on roads used for a Tour de France route before boarding the ferry again and the final leg from Portsmouth to Guildford, having completed the 250 miles.

For more information about the halow project and the halow250, visit www.halowproject.org.uk  

Against Breast Cancer

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Join Against Breast Cancer (ABC) for a full or half marathon or a 10km sponsored walk alongside the beautiful River Thames on Sunday, 5th May.

Breast Walk Ever Berkshire is suitable for all and dogs are welcome too. So why not sign up and help the ABC team in their mission to prevent secondary spread, the main cause of breast-cancer related deaths.

In joining the team of Breast Walkers you will be provided with a training plan and fundraising support as well as the promise of a free post walk massage! Alison Bone – a volunteer for Against Breast Cancer – is doing just that having helped with marshalling Breast Walk Ever in 2018. Ali, like so many has her personal reason to walk having been affected by breast cancer.

Ali discovered a lump in her left breast in early 2000 and was diagnosed with grade 3 breast cancer. This came as a complete shock to Ali as there was no history of breast cancer in her family.

Ali has two children who were aged just 11 and nine at the time and she speaks of the heartbreak in telling them and her father. Ali was thankfully able to participate in a trial to see if her cancer had spread instead of removing all her lymph nodes. As a keen tennis player, Ali was very relieved in not having to have her lymph nodes removed. She had already asked her son’s tennis coach to teach her to play right handed which was fortunately now not necessary!

Ali had six rounds of a combination of two chemotherapy drugs three weeks apart and after her fifth round she required a blood transfusion. In July that year Ali had three more weeks of daily radiotherapy and regular checks concluded that Ali was now clear of cancer.

It was however during a routine mammogram 12 years later that a lump was found, this time in Ali’s right breast and the cancer was ER Positive. It was then that Ali decided to seek clarity as to whether there was a genetic link. In August 2012 Ali had another lumpectomy, and a further six rounds of chemotherapy and four weeks of daily radiotherapy. In March 2013 Ali received confirmation that she had the BRCA2 gene mutation.

By 2014, Ali’s daughter was tested. Ali and her daughter were both so very delighted and relieved to find that there was no genetic risk.

After seeking advice from a number of sources, Ali herself had a double mastectomy two years after learning of the BRCA2 gene mutation and is now participating in a study to try and understand why the mutation tends to occur often in those with a family history.

Ali is planning to walk the Breast Walk Ever Berks alongside her team of friends this year. “I have found walking a great way to get my fitness back after surgery. Walking as part of a group is a great way to help motivate each other”.

Why not join Alison with your own team on May 5th safe in the knowledge that you are helping to bring a vaccine Against Breast Cancer ever closer.

Entry to Breast Walk Ever Berks ranges from £10-£26 depending on distance and Concessions are available for senior citizens and students. We ask all participants to try and raise £50 towards our research.

We look forward to welcoming you to the banks of the Thames this Spring.

Marathon in May

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Can you take on PACT’s Marathon in May challenge?

If you’re a runner who’s been inspired by today’s London Marathon to give the 26.2miles a go then how about trying PACT’s Marathon in May challenge.

Complete the distance on your own or as a group of friends or colleagues or with your family and support the work of Parents and Children Together.

The charity advertises it as “your challenge, your way” and that’s because it doesn’t have to be done as a run you can choose to walk, cycle or swim the distance if you prefer.

Why not walk a mile every day for 26 days in May – yes it doesn’t have to be all in one day –  or how about going out for a six and a half mile bike ride each weekend in the month?

PACT’s Marathon in May costs just £14 to take part in and you’ll get a medal and a colour-in chart to track your progress. Extra medals can be ordered too for any children taking part, for just £2.50 each.

All proceeds from the registration fees will be used to support PACT’s work building and strengthening and families.

The Reading-based charity has been helping families since 1911 and as well as being one of the UK’s leading independent adoption agencies, it offers counselling, therapy and life story work helping children to overcome difficulties in childhood, teenage years and in early adulthood.

PACT also runs community projects helping vulnerable children and adults facing issues such as domestic abuse, homelessness and debt.

  For more about PACT and Marathon in May and how to take part please visit www.pactcharity.org