The London Marathon is a major fundraising event and Debbie Fund has had a number of participants raising money through sponsorship. In 2011 Katy Phillips, Debbie’s eldest daughter, ran with her friend, Mohinoor Chatterji; and Helen Porter and Neil Jamieson, both friends of Debbie, also ran. Between them, they raised over £59,000 for Debbie Fund, a phenomenal result.
Anyone able to secure a place in the London Marathon and wishing to raise money for Debbie Fund can apply for a runners vest with the Debbie Fund logo.
“On the night our mum died, as my sister sat recording a beautiful song that would later be released on iTunes and raise thousands for charity, I took a less constructive role and sat in the kitchen eating ice cream ... Although, I’m not sure what I could have done as I'm seriously artistically challenged. And so I'm now going to make up for my lack of creative initiative by running a marathon. Running and exercise in general was one of the most important ways that I coped with the stress of my mum's illness, so it seems an appropriate way for me to try to raise money for the fund. This is despite the fact that, ask any of the PE teachers at my senior school and they will confirm to you, as a 15 year old I virtually died when made to run the 1500 metres; so this is going to be a massive challenge! However, in my eyes it will be more than worth it if it means that UCL can get to work on a drug that might save some mums. Furthermore, a video of me at the finish will probably get more hits than “Autumn”, as I imagine it will be spectacularly amusing for everyone, but me...”
"Sadly, I never had the opportunity to meet Debbie. However, knowing Katy and eventually the rest of her family, I jumped at the opportunity to do something to raise funds for such an important cause and to support Katy in something which means so much to her ... although, it could well be the case that she has to carry me over the finish line. I have always been very in interested in fund raising and, as well as this, have lost grandparents to cancer, and running a marathon is something that I have dreamed of from a young age: I used to be a very rotund youngster, who came last in all school races. Since then, I have slimmed down, got interested in running and am now keen to try one of today’s more physically demanding challenges. I am looking forward to it immensely and I hope to complete the 26 miles in less than four hours."
Helen Porter said:
“I sadly only met Debbie just after she had been diagnosed with cancer, about 4 years before she died. I greatly admired the way in which she and Mark and her whole family coped with her illness. I am also full of admiration for how her family is now creating something positive out of their loss by setting up Debbie Fund to find a cure for cervical cancer. When Mark mentioned this summer that he had a few marathon places through UCL to raise sponsorship for Debbie Fund, I casually said (hoping he wouldn't laugh at me) that if he had no one queuing up for the last place, I would do it. I was probably saying this with my fingers crossed behind my back, hoping that another more suitable applicant was going to take that spot, but seemingly not...
At 54, I am probably the oldest runner for Debbie Fund. But, like Katy, I have been a runner since my own mother's illness from cancer and found it the best way to cope with the stress. I have only done 2 half marathons (many years ago) and recently a 10 mile race, so it is going to be a struggle, but I have always had a feeling that tackling a full marathon was unfinished business for me and I am determined to do it to honour Debbie and her family and to raise as much money as possible for Debbie Fund and the team of researchers at UCL.
PS Good luck to all the other runners for Debbie Fund. I will be thinking of you over the coming months of training!"
Neil Jamieson said:
"Back in 1984 my wife, Kate, had become great friends with Debbie at Law School, and had just been to Debbie and Mark's wedding when we met. By that very happy coincidence I was lucky to enough to drop into Debbie's orbit: you only had to meet Debbie once to know that you were in the company of a very special person - intelligent and engaging in equal measure, with a warmth that put you at ease and most of all that wicked sense of humour which meant an evening with Debbie was always fun. Work, children and different sides of London meant that get-togethers became less frequent, but Kate and Debbie stayed in touch and I would bump into Mark from time to time to hear about news, happy and sad.
I have run the London Marathon twice before and, whatever anyone tells you, the second half is anything but fun. The training also becomes much harder as the years go by and last year I swore I would never do it again. But the opportunity to run in honour of Debbie has made the decision to come out of retirement an easy one and, although it won't be a pleasure, it will certainly be a privilege to line up in Greenwich Park on 17th April 2011 to support Debbie Fund."
Philip Jackson says: I teach at the school attended by both of Debbie Phillips’ daughters, although as chance would have it I have taught neither. In a morning assembly last term, Sarah Phillips gave a very moving account to the whole school of how her mother had died from cervical cancer. Sarah explained that there had been no research any where in the world into cervical cancer, a disease which affects so many women worldwide. She explained how Debbie Fund had been set up to fund much needed research into cervical cancer at the University College London Cancer Institute. As I listened to Sarah I wondered what I could do to contribute to the charity? The obvious answer was to run a marathon. I am relatively new to running; I started running only four years ago, even though I am somewhat older than the other Debbie Fund runners! I have been fortunate to obtain a place to run in the Boston marathon, the longest established of all modern marathons. This is taking place on 18th April 2011 (during school term; thank you Miss Farr for allowing me time off school for the race) and I will be running in aid of Debbie Fund. Please contribute to this vital research into women’s health by sponsoring me.
Charlie Mole says- I got involved with Debbie Fund, the UCL cervical cancer research charity, through Sarah Phillips, whose mother Debbie died last year. I was fortunate enough to know Debbie Phillips for around five years, through a mutual love of watching our sons, Carlo and Jack, play football. It was therefore a great pleasure for me to be able to help Sarah with her wish to record a song for Debbie's funeral. A few days after Debbie died, Sarah approached me and explained she wanted to record a song in memory of her mother for the funeral and needed my assistance. She sang a version of Paulo Nutini's Autumn into her mobile phone and I added a musical arrangement which was then posted on youtube.
There was an immediate worldwide reaction to the song and to date her original video has received 452,000 hits. Autumn reached no 11 on Itunes and Sarah has now released an ep with 3 songs.
I have decided to try and run my 1st Marathon this year and so it seemed perfectly fitting for me to help raise some more for the charity.
On Sunday 16th October 2011 Alistair Hill ran the Amsterdam marathon in aid of debbiefund.