A local Chester man has raised a staggering £10,000 of much needed funds for Cancer Research UK. Find out more from Cancer Research Uk here …
Chester man raises £10k through #lastmiletogether
Chester-based David Wilson has raised £10,000 for Cancer Research UK in just under over a year through a simple rejuvenation of university friendships, triggered by COVID-19, and a shared passion for keeping fit.
David, along with his University friends, Nik Loveridge, Rory Steel, Martin McDermott, John Barlow and Paul Johnson, set up the group to share and encourage one another through the perils of the latest lockdown trend sweeping the nation. Little did they know that this would grow to a larger online community made up of fundraisers from across the country who are selflessly putting their bodies through turmoil in exchange for any sponsorship money anyone is willing to offer them! It is almost a 200+ strong group now celebrating raising a massive £10,000 for Cancer Research UK in just over a year.
The premise is very simple – log as many miles as you can, in whatever way you are able (run, walk, jog, swim, ride – just not by car) for 11 months of the year. During the 12th month, the whole #lastmiletogether group will be invited to meet up in real life (an aspirational target considering this group was formed during the peak of lockdown due to a global pandemic) and walk the LAST MILE TOGETHER.
Since the inception of this part genius/part mad-scientist idea, members have completed a wealth of different activities, ranging from the solo 1km pavement plod, on a dark, cold, wet, grey day in lockdown to the awesome synchronised collaboration of 100+ members in a weekend long marathon! How the miles have been amassed is largely irrelevant; the value comes from the hope and the inspiration that is evidently transpiring from the group effort; with of course, the anticipation of actually physically meeting and developing a connection with all those that have inspired for so long, having no longer to only metaphorically (or digitally) complete the #lastmiletogether but instead make it a physical reality.
Last Mile Together has now grown to 183 facebook page members, who continue to take part in challenges either individually or as a team; whatever is available within their own personal parameters – physical or otherwise. Collectively, #lastmiletogether broke the £10k fundraising milestone in September, just over a year after it was formed.
Although the original intention was always to encourage and inspire hope, #lastmiletogether soon evolved to a much larger cause – to support Cancer Research UK – due to multiple personal connections with the disease. More prominently, this came through one founding-group member, David Wilson,who’s sister is sadly undergoing treatment for Stage 4 lung cancer, and also his close friend living with incurable brain cancer.
David Wilson, co-founder of #lastmiletogether, said, “We never really had a master plan for this movement! We have all, at some point, unfortunately been dealt a rubbish hand from the dealer that is cancer. With this last one, it just felt right that we could and should do more to help – and this is what we came up with.
“We are immensely proud of what we have achieved in such a small period of time, but we sense that this is only the beginning. We would love to extend the invite to anyone and everyone in the UK, and even beyond, to join Last Mile Together the fight against cancer, which would give access to our Facebook and STRAVA groups, where we collectively log all our miles for the year.
“What we have recognised is that there can be extremely difficult challenges during these situations and having a network of people who are having similar experiences and who you can lean on really helps. On top of that, we are also hearing stories of how the physical activity itself is having beneficial impacts on mental health – and that’s really powerful.
“There is even a #lastmiletogether Spotify playlist – so we have you covered! On a more serious note, we would especially like to open that invite to anyone who feels like they have no-one. What we would say to them is that is no longer the case – we are here. We are going through similar experiences and we welcome you. Come walk with us, let’s do that #lastmiletogether”.
Chris Doyle, Relationship Manager for Cancer Research UK in the North West, said: “#lastmiletogether has made a huge contribution to Cancer Research UK’s work already, and they only formed less than a year ago! We are incredibly grateful for the group’s support. I’d especially like to thank all their members for putting in all the hard work to rally that support, and especially David for being a driving force to bring so many people together.
“One in two people in the UK will be diagnosed with cancer at some stage in their lives, but the good news is more people are surviving the disease now than ever before. Cancer survival in the UK has doubled since the early 1970s and Cancer Research UK’s work has been at the heart of that progress.
“However, Cancer Research UK has been hit hard by COVID-19. Almost every way we raise money to fund our research was impacted by the pandemic, with our shops temporarily closed, and events cancelled. We now have a clearer picture of the financial impact of COVID-19, and expect to see a reduction in our fundraising income of £250m over three years (2020-2023) compared with our pre-COVID budget.
“It is thanks to the dedication and commitment volunteers and supporters, like #lastmiletogether, that we are able to fund our life-saving research. They are an amazing example of how people can fundraise as a group in the modern world. At Cancer Research UK, we are incredibly lucky to have supporters who fundraise in a range of ways, from our traditional committees to our corporate sponsors. But this group of individuals prove that people can make a difference no matter where they are in the UK, as long as they are connected by a common thread.”