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Meet our Virtual Great North Run Fundraisers

On Sunday 13 September, 50,000 people would have been taking to the central motorway in Newcastle Upon Tyne, ready to take part in one of the world’s greatest sporting spectacles, The Great North Run. Sadly, like many events this year, it couldn’t go ahead. But the organisers over at greatrun.org aren’t put off that easily, and neither are our fundraisers. And that’s why this weekend we’ll see two teams taking on the 13.1 miles of the 2020 Virtual Great North Run, all to raise funds that will directly support SCI people.

Meet our fantastic fundraisers …

Jennifer Harris

In 2019, Jennifer, a Human Resources Manager at The Parks Trust in Milton Keynes, was selected to start a fellowship with The Red Thread Partnership, a community initiative bringing together leaders of local organisations and charities that deliver services in those communities. Jennifer chose to work with SIA as part of her fellowship and has been doing so for the past few months.

Jennifer recently hit a 5km training milestone, which was when she had the idea to take part in this year’s Virtual Great North Run to raise money to support SIA’s work with SCI people.

Jennifer said, “It’s been a tough six months for a lot of us, and an even tougher time for charities that continue to provide support to those who need it throughout the pandemic; every penny counts, and even a small donation could make a big difference to somebody’s life.”

You can find out more about Jennifer’s challenge here.

Chris Goldsmith

In December 2019, Chris underwent an operation to remove a section of protruding disc in his lower back (L4/L5). This followed months of debilitating and intense pain, which had left him unable to work in his role as a Business Analyst at The Open University. He also couldn’t play an active part in his daughter’s day-to-day life or mobilise and function in any usual capacity.

During his time trying to navigate the healthcare system and get access to the clinical support he so badly needed, he experienced just a snippet of the physical, emotional, and financial challenges faced by SCI people every day.

To celebrate his story having a happy outcome in the form of restored mobility and being able to discontinue the pain medication he’d come to depend on, Chris has decided to take on the challenge of this year’s Virtual Great North Run, which is certainly a stretch given where he was with his health this time last year. As Chris is still effectively rehabilitating, he has opted to walk the half marathon distance rather than run it and has coined his challenge ‘The Great Milton Keynes Brisk Walk’.

Chris will be joined on the day by his wife of nine years, Reema, and his childhood best friend Emily; the ladies have been supporting him on training walks and getting the message out about his fundraising activities on behalf of SIA.

You can read more of Chris’ story here.

We’d like to wish all of our participants the very best of luck with their challenges on Sunday, and we thank them for their wonderful efforts in raising vital funds and awareness of the issues faced by SCI people in the UK.