Cancer Research UK’s race for life
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A great idea that puts the oft-repeated ‘it’ll never work here’ firmly in its place. It crossed from the USA to the UK and has continued to evolve and inspire women for many years. Helped by constant innovation they have raised nearly £500 million to beat cancer.
Medium of communication:Event.
Type of charity:Healthcare.
Target audience:Awareness, individuals.
Country of origin:UK.
Imperial Cancer Research Fund/Cancer Research UK
Name of exhibitor:Paul de Gregorio
Date of first appearance:1994.
Race for life is a nationwide fundraising event for women only. They walk, jog, or run five kilometres in return for sponsorship to raise funds for Cancer Research UK.
The original ideal came from the American charity Susan G Komen. They held the first ‘race for the cure’ (as it’s known there), in Dallas in 1983.
In the early 1990s, race for the cure inspired an events manager at Imperial Cancer Research Fund (one of two charities that would later merge to form Cancer Research UK) to try something similar. The first ‘race for life’ took place in Battersea Park in 1994; 650 women took part and it raised £35,000. But more importantly it proved that this concept from across the Atlantic could work in the UK. Over the 19 years since, the event has grown massively.
Race for life has been so successful for so long because innovation is at its heart – it doesn’t stand still. This innovation seeks to make the event as inspiring and supportive for all the women who take part by giving them the opportunity to take their stand against cancer. Examples include:
Race for life has created two very big innovations the whole sector has benefited from.
Since the first race for life in Battersea in 1994:
At its peak in 2009, there were nearly 750,000 participants and still over half a million women take part today.
Race for life is a true inspiration: six million women have come together to achieve a common goal. Every one of them has a personal story to tell. They are taking part because of their personal connection to the cause, to honour the memory of a loved one they have lost to cancer or to celebrate the life of someone who has survived.
Race for life creates the moment for these women to take action against cancer. Helped by constant innovation they have raised nearly £500 million to beat cancer.