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Through thick and thin - our fundraising superstars of 2020

2020 was a challenging year for Oracle and like everyone, we had to cancel many of our regular fundraising events. But in amongst the gloom, some incredible members of the head and neck cancer community decided to raise money to keep our research going. This roll call is just a small way for us to say thank you for everything.

Jane Wilkinson and The John Wilkinson Face Cancer Charitable Trust

John sadly passed away on 25th December 2019. During his battle with face cancer, he did a huge amount to raise awareness of head and neck cancer by writing a book “Face Cancer”. He also inspired people to support Oracle Cancer Trust.

Family, friend’s and John’s former employer HSBC, all pulled together. In August family friend Olivia visited the hairdresser to have 15 inches of her hair cut off, donating to Little Princess Trust. She also raised over £1,000 in John’s memory for Oracle.

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NEWFS - A voluntary fundraising group of Newfoundland dog owners (pictured above) created a natural doggy treats recipe book during lockdown, tested by their canine friends. With this ingenious idea they raised over £750 for Oracle Cancer Trust.

On June 25th, six months to the day when John passed away, colleagues from HSBC Thames Valley and friends set out on a series of socially distanced walks from their homes. Friends from France and Spain took part to remember John. The idea was created John’s former colleague Matt Povey just as Lockdown had been lifted and all together, they raised over £7,000.

This Christmas John’s friends and family took part in a “Decembeard” challenge which boosted donations matched by The Big Give Christmas Appeal.

Winners Lesley and Sarah 2PNS (C&MO)

Katrina’s virtual quiz keeps everyone guessing

Quiz supremo Katrina created a virtual “Cranial Conundrums” challenge to replace her postponed annual quiz night. The questions were challenging - and not the kind that could be answered by looking on Google either - lateral thinking and powers of logical deduction were key! The quiz was a great success raising £720 overall. Overall winners were Lesley and Sarah (pictured left).

Katrina hopes this year they will be able to meet up at their village hall to host our fun and informal quiz night as usual.  

Professor Anson Mackay Running into Recovery

Anson Mackay is a Professor based at the Environmental Change Research Centre at UCL and ran the Virtual London Marathon for Oracle in October “I was diagnosed with stage 3 HPV-positive tonsil cancer on my birthday, just a few weeks before lockdown in March. I was just grateful to be able to complete my treatment during the very challenging period when hospitals were on lockdown and dealing with a surge in COVID-19 cases in London.

“I’ve always been a passionate runner and after researching the huge mental and physical benefits of exercise and cancer was more determined than ever to start running again and keeping fit. For the marathon my running buddy Michael joined me and we completed the marathon in under five hours. The running felt so good I decided to carry on alone and run another 10kms to complete my first ultra-marathon. Charities have been so badly hit by the pandemic and COVID-19 losing vital sources of funding and I was delighted to support Oracle’s pioneering research. I was overwhelmed to raise £2,300. My only symptom was a painless neck lump and it’s vital that men, in particular over the age of 45 seek help early.” Professor Anson Mackay. Read more about Anson’s cancer journey at his blog www.ansonmackay.com/blog

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Mount Everest comes to Scotland

Darren Murray took on a huge challenge in memory of his great friend and brother in law, Mikey who died of head and neck cancer just days before his 46th birthday. In his memory Darren decided to take on the challenge of a lifetime - by Everesting Cairngorm Mountain to support Oracle’s research work. With funds raised we can keep advancing research in the hope we can prevent other families losing loved ones.

Darren said: “Everesting is regarded as the most difficult challenge in endurance cycling - simple yet brutal. To complete the challenge, the cyclist repeat climbs a single hill until the combined elevation gain reaches 8848m or in other words - the height of Everest. This means I took on riding 31 laps of Cairngorm and around 176 miles to complete in total.

“I was overwhelmed by the support of family and friends who set up a basecamp to support my challenge - and I’d like to thank Eve Murray, Suzanne Gillespie, Holly Gillespie, Josh Gillespie, Lynn Hankinson, Maria Lawson, Lorraine Buttenshaw, Leigh-Ann Little, Gillian Sutherland, Jennifer Mentiply, Andrea Pittner, Helen and Stevie. Without their bonkerness, baking and un-wavering support none of this would have been possible.

“In addition to the base station crew I’d like to give a huge shout-out to the “Sherpas” that rode with me - Colin, Derek, Craig, Stuart, Neil, George, Alan, Isla, Paul, Craig, Scott and Keith. They each took turns to ensure I never rode a lap up and down alone through the course of the 31 laps. I couldn’t have done it without them or the base station crew. The picture on the right was our final lap on what couldn’t have been a more beautiful day.”

Darren Murray
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Giles Cuthbert: The National ELF Service

Giles is no stranger to challenging himself having completed amongst other feats, the London Classics in 2018 dedicating his 2 mile swim in the Serpentine to Oracle. In 2020, he was inspired to support five good causes, including Oracle by completing 12 half marathons over 24 days in December. He cut a festive figure, dressed as an elf for each run around his village and made it despite injury early on in his mission. Giles wrapped up his challenge successfully on Christmas Eve and said “I was diagnosed 5 years ago this month and I do these challenges as I’m so grateful for the treatment I had and want to give back.

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Have you been inspired?

We’re incredibly grateful to everyone who has kept Oracle going during this incredibly tough year. If this has encouraged you to help Oracle keep research going in 2021 too, visit our challenge event page or drop Teresa an email. We’d love to chat over your ideas and will do all we can to support you in your plans.

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Oracle Cancer Trust is a registered charity in England and Wales (1142037). A company limited by guarantee. Registered company in England and Wales (7125497). Registered address: Liles Morris Accountants, 1st Floor, 80 Coombe Road, New Malden KT3 4QS