Marathon legend Paula Radcliffe is urging UK families to get involved in a Christmas fundraising event to support the building of the first children’s cancer hospital in sub-Saharan Africa. On Christmas Eve, along with her daughter Isla, who was diagnosed with cancer last year, Paula will lead a group of runners including the world’s greatest marathoner, Eluid Kipchoge, and reigning 800m Olympic Champion Emmanuel Korir, on a 50-mile relay from the equator to the site of the new hospital. Families and schools everywhere can get involved by teaming up to run 50 miles together between now and 24 December, raising money to help complete the hospital, which will save hundreds of children’s lives in Kenya.
The Shoe4Africa Foundation opened East and Central Africa’s first public children’s hospital in 2015, in Eldoret, and is again working with Moi Teaching and Referral Hospital and the Kenyan government to provide a public institution that will immediately start saving children’s lives in Kenya. To support that, starting at the equator, Paula and Isla Radcliffe will lead the runners on a 50-mile route to the new hospital site. Once there, Isla, who has recovered from cancer after treatment, and a young Kenyan cancer patient, will together break ground to mark the start of the building.
Paula is urging families and schools to join her fundraising campaign and run their own 50-mile relay challenge. Using her own successful Families on Track concept, supporters just need to log on to www.familiesontrack.co.uk and sign up for free as a family or school class, pledging to collectively run 50 miles by 24 December. For each team that raises over £50 on its JustGiving page, Paula will be sending all participants a special Nike t-shirt to say a huge thank you. All of the funds raised will be going to support the new Shoe4Africa Juli Anne Perry Children’s Cancer Hospital.
Paula Radcliffe comments: “I am honoured to work with and help in some small way Shoe4Africa in the amazing and vitally important work that they do. It broke my heart to hear the shocking statistics for paediatric cancers in Africa and that there was not a single specialist children’s cancer hospital. We were beyond fortunate to live in a part of the world where the medical care was excellent for Isla, and we still
found it tough. We want to do all that we can to help any family going through this and to raise awareness and funds, for facilities that give all children the opportunity and medical care that they deserve.”
Recent numbers indicate that nine out of ten children diagnosed with cancers are dying in Kenya, and indeed in sub-Saharan Africa. That statistic is one out of ten in the western world – the exact opposite.
Shoe4africa’s founder and CEO, Toby Tanser, comments: “Paediatric cancers in Kenya is like Aids, Ebola, Malaria, and Covid 19 rolled into one. Nine out of 10 dying is an embarrassment to humankind. Anyone learning of this stat, when numbers are as low as one in 10 in the west, where you can find plenty of children’s cancer hospitals, should be galvanized to help.”
For full details on how to join Paula and Isla virtually in the Equator Relay challenge visit www.familiesontrack.co.uk and follow @familiesontrack Instagram and Facebook.
For further media information please contact Events of the North;
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Shoe4Africa, founded by Toby Tanser, focuses on improving the health, education, and empowerment of people in Africa, enabling them not only to survive, but thrive. Supported by some of the greatest names in not just track and field, but the wider sporting world, Shoe4Africa is making a huge difference to the lives of those in Kenya and East Africa.
Families on Track is a unique concept devised by Paula Radcliffe in 2019 and delivered by Events of the North at several sites across the UK. As a family unit, teams complete a 10km continuous relay by running loops of various distances. Incorporating all ages, it’s truly FUN FAMILY FITNESS! Full details can be found at www.eventsofthenorth.com/families-on-track.