1. ITV Report

Marathon effort to raise money for cancer charity

Sophie and Elsie Houghton-Hood are taking part in the littlelifts Virtual Marathon Photo: littlelifts

An East Anglia based charity has come up with a new way of raising funds after it had to cancel all its fundraising events over the next four months because of the coronavirus lockdown.

Littlelifts, who support breast cancer patients in Norfolk and Suffolk, has launched a virtual campaign called 'Little Steps' which will run until the end of July.

Aware that the lockdown is causing financial hardship for many, the idea is that people raise small amounts of money over the next few weeks by staging virtual micro events.

The funds will then be used for the charity's signature littlelifts boxes that are given to patients as they begin chemotherapy treatment.

A virtual 'Marathon From Your Own Home' event launched in April has been such a success already it's now been extended until the end of June.

It's hoped that participants can rack up enough steps to span the circumference of the earth nearly 25,000 miles.

So far over 460 people have raised nearly seven thousand pounds.

Speaking about the impact COVID-19 has had on the charity littlelifts founder Oa Hackett said

Oa Hackett, founder littlelifts charity Credit: littlelifts

We understand that money is sparse for many at the moment so we’re just appealing to those still able to help. The emphasis is on raising an amount of money that feels manageable during this time, in hope that we can encourage many people to fundraise small amounts – these small donations will really add up for us and make such a difference.

– Oa Hackett, littlelifts

Ross Lenton a gym instructor at Dynamic Fitness in Norwich has been helping with the Virtual Marathon challenging his clients and anyone else who wants to join in to complete a full marathon distance 26.2 miles over the course of a month.

He is encouraging people to do it however they like- walking around the garden, up and down the stairs or when making the most of their daily escape from the house and walking or running that little bit further than normal.

Gym 'bunny' Ross Lenton who is helping the littlelifts Virtual Marathon Credit: littlelifts

As soon as I heard about the littlelifts Virtual Marathon I knew it would be perfect for our clients.

We have lots of keen walkers and runners so that little extra distance will give them all a good challenge and a positive focus during this tough time.

Exercise makes you feel good, and is so important for everyone’s mental health.

– Ross Lenton, gym instructor

The charity is also asking people to consider hosting small events at home through using technology such as Zoom, Skype and WhatsApp.

Ideas include hosting virtual pub quiz nights or online yogathons among friends or auctioning services or items online to be redeemed at a later date.

Local musicians, entertainers, authors and speakers can organise Facebook Live events in exchange for donations to the charity

Karyn Maier who is doing the littlelifts Virtual Marathon Credit: littlelifts

We’ve had over 450 people sign-up to our virtual marathon so far, which is simply fantastic, and we’re now looking forward to smashing our target by the end of June

A huge thank you to everyone supporting us during this time, including Spacemasks who have generously donated their profits and others like Ross from Dynamic Fitness, who have kindly donated their time supporting our fundraising efforts.”

– Oa Hackett, littlelifts

You can found out more about the littlelifts Virtual Marathon and how to take part here

Oa Hackett founder of littlelifts Credit: littlelifts

About littlelifts

littlelifts was launched in 2017 by Founder Oa Hackett, who at aged 28 was diagnosed with primary breast cancer. Leading up to and during her chemotherapy treatment,

Oa was fortunate to have a support network of friends and family to help her along the way, many of whom lifted those down days with a few little treats to relieve some of the side effects she experienced.

The impact these small tokens had on Oa’s wellbeing was huge, and so the concept of ‘littlelifts’ was born.

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