Beating bowel cancer together

Lucy Buckley organises a virtual parkrun to complete her fundraising challenge

Lucy Buckley, 41 from Sheffield, was diagnosed with bowel cancer in May 2018. She set herself a challenge to complete 40 parkruns before her 41st birthday. This was put on hold due to the coronavirus pandemic, but that didn’t stop her completing the challenge. She shares with us how she’s organised a virtual event. 

On Saturday 28 March, I was meant to be running my 40th parkrun and then having a slap up brunch with friends to celebrate my birthday. It was meant to be a big celebration and finale of both a charity challenge to run 40 parkruns before my 41st birthday. (Parkrun is an organised free 5k race completed in local parks across the world and takes place every Saturday at 9am.)

All that was cancelled, no big deal as it was because of the coronavirus pandemic.

But it got me thinking I could do with a bit of fun, definitely some activity and I always prefer doing things with other people. Therefore I decided I'd organise a virtual event and throw it open to family and friends.

One benefit of virtual gatherings is you don't need to restrict numbers and for once I genuinely could actually invite everyone I know.

Here's how it worked:

Friends and family from around the country tuned into our Facebook live event: ‘Not the parkrun’, briefing at 9am.  

First, I thanked them for all their fundraising support and reminded them what this was all about. We have raised £715.40 to be split between Bowel Cancer UK and The Cavendish Centre in Sheffield.

Both charities have become very important to us. The Cavendish Centre offered therapy sessions for both me and my son. Whereas Bowel Cancer UK has been a great source of information, personal support via their forum and of course does lots to promote and support vital advances in treatment of bowel cancer, something we are fully behind.

I asked them to set their timers for 13mins and 48 seconds; this is the record time for completing a parkrun.

Then I sent them on their way to exercise for that length of time around their house or garden. Running, dancing, flossing, basketball, anything was allowed as long as it was in and around the house.

Our family ran round and round (and round and round!) the garden, as well as a bit of flossing. Afterwards we organised another Facebook Live and shared the messages and photos of people trampolining, walking, running, doing yoga and aerobics. Such a great encouragement!

Finally, and just as importantly, we needed to eat brunch! People sent us pictures of their food as we tucked into our sausages and egg, with some of the friends joining us on a live video chat.

What a wonderful way to celebrate my birthday, the challenge and a brilliant amount of money raised. I feel so encouraged and loved today, when I thought I was just going to be disappointed.

Feeling inspired? Organise your own virtual event to raise money to help stop people dying of bowel cancer.

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