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Mark's story

Mark lives in one of the home counties and visited our offices recently to drop in some funds he had raised for the charity and kindly offered to share his motivating story of how he is supporting his sister who has breast cancer, and how he became involved with raising funds for Against Breast Cancer. Mark has also kindly agreed to tell us about some of his novel fundraising ideas to help motivate and inspire others.

Mark was a runner in the 2010 Abingdon Marathon and the Against Breast Cancer information leaflet in his goody bag caught his eye. At the time he was trying to cope with the sad news that his sister, who had been diagnosed with breast cancer about 7 years ago, had just recently endured months of treatment since the cancer had spread to other parts of her body. She now has what is known as secondary breast cancer as it has spread to her liver and the bone on one of her hips. According to Mark she wears ‘a beautiful wig’.

Mark is acutely aware of the devastating effects of cancer as several members of his family have died of various forms of the disease. He is married and has three children, with one daughter who is engaged to be married later this year.

I invited my sister to the Cream Tea as a guest but she didn’t want anyone to know that the fundraising event was in her honour.

Until recently, Mark hadn’t done any fundraising for about 20 years, but it seems he took a keen interest in Against Breast Cancer and this motivated him to start fundraising for us by holding events and running in this years’ Reading Half Marathon in March. ‘I have been pleasantly surprised by how benevolent everyone has been and this has encouraged me to keep raising more money!’

One successful fundraising event that he is eager to repeat is organising a Cream Tea for his friends and family. Mark and his wife invited a huge group of people they knew and all but one couple made it along. Mark says ‘I was so proud of our children as they have been wholeheartedly supporting these events and bringing their partners along too.’

I invited my sister to the Cream Tea as a guest but she didn’t want anyone to know that the fundraising event was in her honour. ‘Actually, when people came along for the Against Breast Cancer event, some may well have assumed it was because my wife had breast cancer. But we thought it was best just to not say anything for now so that my sister didn’t become the centre of attention.’

As an incentive to encourage sponsorship for Mark’s recent half marathon run, he thought of an innovative way to engage people by asking them to ‘Sponsor a Second’. ‘It was quite simple really. I knew I would finish the run within a 6 minute time frame, so I set up a sheet with a line for each second in the range. Each line had a space for a name and telephone number, then I sold each second for £1.The winner got a percentage of the pot and the remainder went to Against Breast Cancer. I had a great response to Sponsor a Second and would use it again.’

It was incredible to see my sister’s face light up when the doctor gave her the news her tumour had shrunk.

Mark has organised several events and raised £1,370 for Against Breast Cancer so far, with more fundraising planned, and will be taking part in the 2011 Abingdon Marathon.

We’re very grateful to Mark for all of his efforts to raise money for the charity. If you would like to support Against Breast Cancer’s important research to improve detection and survival you can donate via text SMS. Simply text the code PINK03 to 70070 plus the donation amount of £1 to £5, or £10, or donate online at www.againstbreastcancer.org.uk.