Find out how to take on the TCS London Marathon for charity 
Alex's football team holds a charity fundraiser

Fundraising through grief

Runners who will be joining you on the Start Line share their fundraising journey and three tips to help you hit your target before Event Day. 

Fundraiser of the Week, Alex Staines, on giving back to the charities that prolong life.

Alex’s mother was living with stage four breast cancer when he decided he wanted to raise money for a cancer charity. Sadly, two weeks after she passed away, he got the call from Breast Cancer Now asking if he wanted to run the 2024 TCS London Marathon.

Alex wasn’t a runner prior to signing up, but he wanted to do something to push himself mentally and physically and to give back to the charities that gave him ten more years with his mum.

His mother was first diagnosed with breast cancer in 2012, when he was 17. She got the all clear a year later, but the cancer returned in 2021 and, this time, it spread to her bones and was incurable.

“Many would have caved at the news, but not mum,” Alex says. “She endured rounds of radiotherapy and hormone treatment, but after 18 months the treatment stopped working. Mum sadly passed away aged 60 on 28 July 2023. I’ll treasure the extra years and I’m grateful for the opportunity to help others.”

Initially daunted by the prospect of fundraising £2,500, Alex is almost at £6,000 and now has his sights set on £10,000. Here are his top fundraising tips.

Alex and his mum Alison

Support Alex and Breast Cancer Now

Keep updated on his 2024 TCS London Marathon journey

1. Give back to a cause close to your heart

Alex said the marathon has grounded him through a challenging time, and the fundraising and training has given him focus.

“I struggled for a long time to find the right words to explain my story and how I felt,” he says. “In the end I just wrote honestly, which I think is why it has resonated with so many.”

“I will forever be grateful for that extra time we had because the reality is if my mum had it 30 or 40 years ago, the treatment might not have been available, and I might have lost her at 17.”

Event Day is the week after what would have been Alex’s mum’s 61st birthday, so he is aware that completing those 26.2 miles comes with an extra challenge for him.

“I’ve been told it’s a pretty emotional day anyway, so to have all my friends and family there and running in my mum’s memory is going to be a tough day in itself. But I can’t wait to get over the Finish Line and give back to the breast cancer charities that are doing such great work.”

2. Use your network, and don’t forget LinkedIn!

Once your Enthuse page is set up, you have no excuse not to share it far and wide. Post it on your social media channels, and, don’t forget, a WhatsApp broadcast list can be a game changer. This is a way to send a message to multiple contacts at once without creating a group chat.

This year, many runners have found LinkedIn a great source of donations. Sharing your Enthuse page close to payday might help someone donate, and don't be afraid of posting the link a few times. Update your story as you go and bring others on your journey.

Alex says: “When I signed up for the marathon, I was worried about fundraising £2,500. I was trying to figure out how many people I would need to donate £20.

“I’ve been touched by the response. Within 48 hours of putting it on LinkedIn, I had fundraised £2,500, so I upped my target to £5,000. I achieved that just before Christmas, so I now have £10,000 in my sights.”

3. Reach out to local businesses 

As Alex says, the "worst they can do is say no!" so reach out to your immediate friends and family, but don't forget to spread your story further. Local businesses might be able to help you. It might not be a financial donation. It could even be a raffle prize, as Alex found out.

Alex contacted his local golf club and asked if they could promote his TCS London Marathon story. They said they wouldn’t be able to, but they could give him a raffle voucher. Shortly after, an event was born.

“A few glasses of red wine later with my friends, and we came up with the idea of a big fundraising event to bring everyone together. We’ve sold over 100 tickets, so it should be a good night,” Alex says. There will be live music as well as the raffle prizes, which include tickets to see the Philharmonic Orchestra at the Royal Albert Hall.

Alex also raised £800 thanks to his football club, which hosted a charity match. If you have the capacity, events can be an amazing way to bring people together, and raise money for your cause.

A Participant wearing a fancy dress costume celebrates as they run down The Mall

Want more fundraising resources?

Enthuse's Fundraising hub has all the information to make your marathon a success.