As you may already know, Mencap is the official charity of the 2020 Virgin Money London Marathon.
I’m so proud to have joined Mencap in such an exciting year, with the chance to put learning disability on the world stage and raise a huge amount of awareness for our cause.
You can probably imagine how much work we’ve all been doing to prepare for race day. And nobody has been working harder than our incredible team of runners with a learning disability. 13 runners in total have been training, fundraising and generally showing the world the amazing things that people with a learning disability can achieve.
One of our runners is the fabulous Charlotte.
Charlotte has Mosaic Down’s syndrome and was a member of the British Gymnastics trampoline squad, hoping to become a Paralympian, when she suffered a broken neck during training. Not one to give up without a fight, Charlotte turned to running to satisfy that same drive and determination and has since run 3 marathons, with 2 more in the pipeline.
She’s raised over £7,000 for Mencap in the past, and she’s looking forward to smashing her targets again this year.
Another of our runners is Aaron – he's only 19, and has cerebral palsy and a learning disability, but that won't stop him running in October and proving everybody wrong about what he can achieve.
Thanks to his incredibly inspirational videos, he’s already raised almost £10,000 – almost ten times his original target!
We’re so impressed and hugely grateful to Aaron for everything he’s doing for us.
All the hard work of Charlotte, Aaron and the rest of the team will continue until the new race date in October, and we can’t wait to see them cross the finish line!
But I wanted to do something to mark the original date and give our team a boost. Even if we can’t all run together on Sunday, their months of preparation and fundraising deserve to be celebrated!
So I’m planning to “run” a Twitter marathon with the help of 26 other CEOs as part of London Marathon's brilliant #TwoPointSixChallenge.
If you haven’t heard of the 2.6 Challenge yet, it’s a fab, accessible fundraising challenge that aims to fill the gap left by the postponement and cancellation of lots of large scale charity events due to coronavirus. Find out more here.
At Mencap, the impact of coronavirus has been huge and twofold. Our frontline support services are being incredible supporting over 5,000 people across the UK as well as our helpline and online support for the 1.5 million people in the UK with a learning disability and their families. And at the same time, many of our fundraising sources have disappeared, leaving us negatively impacted by millions of pounds – just at the time our services are needed the most.
So to raise funds and give a much-deserved boost to our incredible team, I’ll be doing my own 2.6 Challenge on Sunday, the original marathon date. I’ll be tweeting a shout out every 12 minutes - 26 times - to any of my fellow CEOs who want to get involved. All you have to do is donate £26 to Mencap to show your support of our incredible, hardworking team of runners with a learning disability who would have been breaking records on Sunday.
By supporting Team Mencap you will be helping us to tackle stigma and support people with a learning disability to live the life they choose, as well as contributing to the direct support we provide to people with a learning disability at this very difficult time.
There’s still plenty of room on the CEO squad, so please do help me complete this virtual marathon on Sunday - all you have to do is donate £26 to Mencap to show your support for our incredible, hardworking team of runners with a learning disability.