28-year-old Jess Daly from Burbage in Leicestershire had planned to run the Virgin Money London Marathon on April 26th this year for Cure Leukaemia before COVID-19 struck the UK. Jess, a member of Hinckley Running Club in Leicestershire, had never run a marathon before but was inspired to take on the 26.2 miles for Cure Leukaemia in support of her teenage neighbour who is battling acute lymphoblastic leukaemia (ALL) and being treated at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham.
Her fundraising target was £1,000 which she had surpassed; and her training was going well until the country went into lockdown and the event was postponed until October 4th. Like all participants in this great event, this was a big blow for Jess. She said:
“Of course I understood that the event could not go ahead in April; but it was so disappointing. I was ready, I had reached my fundraising target and my training had gone well but it wasn’t to be and so I had to resign myself, like everyone else, to looking ahead to October.”
So how, in the last month, has Jess’ JustGiving page jumped from £1,000 to over £15,300?
Jess’ father Steve Daly saw his work dry up considerably when lockdown began so he was left with a lot of time on his hands. Being a practical person who has always enjoyed cycling and fixing bikes, he decided to offer bike services in the local area in return for donations to Jess’ fundraising page.
Jess continued; “Dad posted on the village Facebook page and the response was incredible. People from all over the area were bringing their family’s bikes for service so they could go out for bike rides in the fantastic weather we have had recently.
Then he asked people if they had spare or unused bikes that could be donated for him to refurbish and sell on and, once again, we could not believe the response! Since mid-May we have had over 70 bikes donated and we have sold more than 45 in return for donations!”
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Steve, a 63-year-old school exam invigilator and ground support crew for hot air balloons, never imagined his idea would ‘take-off’ as it has. He added:
“It is remarkable. I initially hoped to raise £100 towards Jess’ total but the reaction from our community here has been staggering. It has become so busy that Jess’ boyfriend Max, an engineer, has spent many evenings and weekends servicing and repairing bikes with me to keep up with the flow.
We have had queues down the road, and we have had to implement social-distancing measures down the drive! People are rediscovering cycling during this bizarre time and the great weather has encouraged so many people to start riding again or take it up for the first time.
“I am just so pleased that I have been able to put my spare time to good use, ensuring families are safe on their bikes and raising funds for a fantastic charity in support of our neighbour who has been so brave since being diagnosed with blood cancer.
“Whilst the demand is there I will keep going because I know how important every penny raised for Cure Leukaemia is during this pandemic to ensure patients continue to receive potentially life-saving treatments for blood cancer.”
As a result of Steve’s amazing efforts, Cure Leukaemia have offered him a place on their 500km, closed-road London to Paris bike ride which was postponed from June this summer to 24-28 September as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Steve continued: “It was such a kind offer from the charity, and I am really excited to take part in what sounds an amazing event with closed-roads throughout France all the way to Paris. The fact that it takes place in Blood Cancer Awareness Month gives me added determination to continue raising as many funds as possible for Jess’ JustGiving page.”
“I really hope Jess gets to complete her London marathon challenge in October as well so, as a family, we can celebrate two great achievements in such a difficult year.”
With their JustGiving page continuing to rise by the day, Cure Leukaemia CEO James McLaughlin asked Jessica if she would like to join her dad and boyfriend Max on the London 2 Paris event in September. The video below shows her answer....
To sponsor Jess & Steve click HERE
To join Steve & Jess on London 2 Paris from 24-28 September click HERE
How funds raised for Cure Leukaemia help save lives