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I am running and trekking 1000 km in what would have been my son, Sacha’s 4th year. This will include at least one half marathon (Royal Parks), one marathon (Virgin London Marathon) and Europe’s toughest long-distance hike, the GR20 in Corsica.
In December 2012 my son, Sacha, died suddenly from a brain tumour. He was 2 years old. Our world stopped spinning. He was a lovely playful boy with a gorgeous smile and a fondness for wrestling with his big brother, Oliver. We wanted friends and family to support a World Child Cancer project in Malawi in lieu of flowers at his funeral as we learned that children were dying from some very treatable forms of cancer and that palliative care without the intervention of the charity frequently amounted to little more than paracetamol. We were truly astounded by the generosity of our friends, family and colleagues who donated more than the annual cost of treatment for the 200 children that are typically treated each year at the paediatric oncology unit of the Queen Elizabeth Central Hospital in Balantyre. With the help of WCC we set-up the Sacha Gauci Remembrance Fund which will be a lasting legacy to Sacha and a way of allowing us to continue to support the project in Malawi. £3200 will support the paediatric oncology unit and the twinning partnership established by World Child Cancer for one month. My goal is to support the project for two months as a minimum (idealy I'd like to cover the entire annual cost of the operation!) so that children with survivable cancer can receive curative treatment and so that those sadly dying from cancer can receive the morphine that they need.
To raise this sum I’m going to do something that is entirely outside my comfort zone while being personally symbolic and redolent with Sacha’s memory:
Starting on what would have been Sacha’s 3rd birthday, June 2nd 2013, I will run or trek 1000 km over what would have been Sacha’s 4th year. I will start the challenge with a run in the community we love, Stony Stratford where a ‘Big Lunch’ running festival is being held. I will then run the Royal Parks Half Marathon in early October with a whole team of running friends and family followed in April 2014 with the Virgin London Marathon. Finally, to complete the challenge, I will trek the GR20 long-distance route in Corsica with my brother and Sacha’s uncle, Claude. This is widely regarded as the toughest hike in Europe – 180 km of ascent and descent along 20 peaks forming the spine of Corsica. Many do not complete this trek. Of course these challenges do not individually amount to 1000 km, to reach this target I will log and report each training run I do to include occasional Park Runs where I hope to log progress over the 5km distance.
I can’t, though, do this on my own. I’ll have support from local running friends and family but I really do need to raise the funds so that we can help children with cancer. Surprisingly little goes a very long way when helping children with cancer in Malawi. Here are some examples of how your donation can make a very real difference to these children:
£6 buys pain relief drugs for one child with cancer
£30 buys life-saving chemotherapy drugs for one child with Burkitts lymphoma
£55 buys two hospital meals a day for 6 children for a month
£154 will provide nursing care for 10 children for a month
£308 will pay for awareness raising posters to encourage increased referral and earlier diagnosis
£926 will provide specialist training for a week for 10 healthcare professionals.
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So please dig deep and donate now.