Sarah Dyce, 34, from South London is stepping up her marathon training as she prepares to run to raise money for Anthony Nolan.
‘I decided to run the marathon in a Batman costume to honour the heroes that live with cancer every day. I set an initial fundraising target of £2,000 and told my colleagues that if I hit it I’d come into work in my Batman outfit. I was delighted to reach my target last week and have now raised my target to £4,000. One of my colleagues has promised that if (hopefully when) we get there he’ll come in dressed as Robin! I’m hoping to make 22 April Dynamic Duo Day in our office.
‘I want to meet my fundraising target but more than that, if half my team were to sign up to the stem cell register or if I could inspire a handful of women to sign up to donate cord blood then that could have an effect on so many lives. I want to support Anthony Nolan by fundraising but I also want to raise awareness that donating isn’t scary.
‘I donated both my children’s cord blood when they were born and I want to encourage more parents to think about doing it. We read up about cord blood donation after a midwife told us about it and it sounded like a fantastic thing to do. The experience itself was so easy I didn’t even notice it was happening, and it didn’t change anything about the way I gave birth.’
My lifesaving donation
Cord blood, which is rich in potentially lifesaving stem cells, is taken after the umbilical cord has been clamped and would normally be thrown away. It is banked and could be used at any point in the future in a stem cell transplant, if it is a match for a patient.
The importance of Sarah’s decision to donate cord blood was brought home in September last year. ‘My friend’s father was diagnosed with leukaemia out of the blue and needed a stem cell transplant – and the fantastic news is that in November he found a match from a cord blood donor. That really reinforced how important it was that we donated mine.’
Now Sarah is fitting in marathon training with work and looking after Lucas, two and Hayden, one. ‘This is the first time I’ve been running since having the boys. Fitting it in round family life has been hard – the tricky thing is balancing early mornings with a full time job but my husband has been amazing and looks after them a lot when I go out running.’
‘Anthony Nolan does fantastic work and I want to use the marathon as an opportunity to raise money but also awareness about the stem cell register.’
How every marathon makes a difference
As it costs £40 to add each new person to the register, Sarah’s fundraising target of £4,000 could pay for 65 new potential donors. For someone with blood cancer, that’s 65 more chances of a cure.
Kirsty Low, head of events at Anthony Nolan, said: ‘We’re so excited to see Sarah run the marathon as Batman – a testament to all the superheroes who make our lifesaving work possible. All our 2016 runners are helping to save lives, mile by mile. The money raised will help us recruit more people onto the donor register to make sure we can find a match for everyone who needs a transplant.’
You can visit Sarah’s fundraising page at:
Anthony Nolan currently collects cord blood in four hospitals: Saint Mary’s, Manchester, King’s College Hospital in London, Leicester Royal Infirmary and Leicester General Hospital. At the moment you can only donate if you’re giving birth at one of these hospitals. Register your interest in donating at one of these hospitals.