When my mom passed away suddenly in 2010, the shock and devastation was acute. I felt so far away from my family in India, but I was very grateful for my amazing husband’s support. When I started to get back on my feet again, he said to me, “Why don’t you do something for charity? You can pay tribute to your mom and she would be so proud.”
I loved that idea. I am so thankful to him for starting my affiliation with Cancer Research UK (CRUK). I still remember my first Race for Life so well, and how astonished I was by the scale of cancer’s impact. Babies, young adults, senior citizens. What a wake-up call. I was more determined than ever to do something to help beat cancer!
My first Race for Life in 2012 raised £500 for Cancer Research UK. Every year after that until 2019 I participated in the 5k, and in 2020, on the 10th anniversary of my mom’s passing, my husband and I ran 20 races between the two of us. We did her proud: we raised nearly £7000!
This year, my kids are joining us on our own family challenge to run 61 races between the four of us. We have chosen to raise money for the Ruth Strauss Foundation, a wonderful charity founded by Sir Andrew Strauss (former England cricket captain) in memory of his wife Ruth.
Ruth died at the age of 46 from non-smoking related incurable lung cancer, leaving behind two young boys. Her story is one of so many that drives me to keep doing all I can to help the fight against this horrible disease. As massive cricket fans, in 2021 we were really moved at the sight of the entire Lords Stadium turning red to support #RedForRuth, and by how much the Ruth Strauss Foundation is helping parents and families facing the destruction of cancer.
Here is our family challenge. Saina (age 7) will do ten 2km runs (she’s already done nine!) and Shourya (age 12) will do ten 10km runs (he’s already done four). I ran a 5km every day in March and Satish is going to run ten half marathons – he’s done three, so only seven to go!
It’s been such a great thing to engage the whole family in. It’s raising awareness about an important issue, about helping others, about healthy living and about the benefits of exercise, and just as importantly, it’s time in fresh air and nature and away from our screens!
There have been countless proud moments so far. My son telling his friends about our charity and how important it is to do fundraising and raise awareness about cancer. My daughter winning a race at the Yateley Road races and telling me she ran so fast because she is practising for her Ruth Strauss Foundation runs and wants to raise all the money she can. And my amazing friends from all over the world supporting us. At least ten of my friends walked or jogged along with me on my last 5km to show solidarity, which meant the world to me.
I’ve also been touched by Vodafone’s support for this cause. The Vodafone Foundation has fund-matched everything we raised for Cancer Research UK / Ruth Strauss Foundation, and the Vodafone #WeCan network run by Vodafone employees is a wonderful support resource for anyone in the Vodafone ecosystem affected by cancer.
I’d love to inspire more people to support Ruth Strauss Foundation! If you’d like to support my fundraising efforts, that would be amazing. Here’s the link.
You can also support by simply spreading the word about the foundation, participating in their events throughout the year, becoming a volunteer (register here) or, if you’re part of a sports team or community that runs group activities, contact the foundation to be a part of #RedForRuth.
As I say to everyone: if we can do it, anyone can!