Introducing our fantastic 2020 London Marathon #TeamSIA runners!
For 2020, the year that this iconic, world-renowned marathon celebrates its 40th race, SIA are delighted to announce our wonderful team of 14 runners. They are tirelessly training, fundraising and flying the SIA flag, all to help spinal cord injured (SCI) people to live a fulfilled and independent life!
When Emma was offered the chance to represent #TeamSIA, she jumped at it! Emma’s brother-in-law, Chris Fitzjohn was injured in a serious car accident in 2016, and due to the severity of his injuries, spent 6 months in hospital before he could return home to his family. Chris was supported by SIA during his rehabilitation, and – despite running not really being her bag – in a show of solidarity for her sister and in honour of Chris, Emma has thrown herself fully into the challenge. Emma said “I want to make sure that other families going through the same thing continue to have the support of the SIA.” You can read her story here: https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/emma-arlow1
George was one of the guests at The October Club dinner in aid of SIA in October 2019, and he was so moved by what he saw and heard on the night, he decided he’d love to support the cause further by joining our 2020 London Marathon team. He brings with him his good friend Daniel, and they are trying where possible to meet up for training runs, and are pushing a combined effort to raise vital funds for the charity. George has said “All donations are very welcome, and if you spend some time learning about the positive impact of SIA, you will donate as much as you can afford to.” You can find out more about George here: https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/george-fletcher5
Laura’s link to SIA is very personal, her Mum, Allison Whitehorn has been SCI since she developed cauda equina in 2014 and since then has benefitted from the support of SIA. Laura is an experienced runner and triathlete, and is well versed in fundraising, so is ready to take on the ultimate challenge of a full marathon, all in a bid to support other SCI people like her Mum. She is self-employed, with her own successful makeup artist business, and, as well as holding a bake sale, will be using this as a platform to raise much-needed funds and awareness for the charity. Her parents are actively involved in her fundraising activities too, and are very proud of their daughter and her efforts. You can read Laura’s story here: https://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/laura-crowther-SAVMLMBONDS333-2020-222386
Darren first joined us in 2019 as an own-place runner, and, he was so taken by the experience that he has committed to doing it all over again in 2020! Darren holds the cause very close to his heart and has done since he first met his brother-in-law to- be, Edd, who sustained his SCI in a car accident in 2012. Edd attributes his successful rehabilitation in part to support from SIA and so Darren is all-too-happy to help the charity. Alongside the training regime, he is working hard on his fundraising efforts, including a charity party night where his future father-in-law will be DJ’ing a Northern Soul set, and they’ll be holding a raffle and an auction, all in aid of SIA. You can find out more about Darren here: https://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/darren-critcher-SAVMLMBONDS333-2020-222442
Living locally to SIA’s head office in Milton Keynes, Ben became aware of the cause through Steve Blood, a Sports Therapist from Body Limits, a local clinic and long-standing supporter of the charity. Ben is a university student and a keen sportsman, and, having seen the devastating impact that SCI can have on the lives and careers of those injured, is committed to doing all that he can to help. Ben is doing phenomenally with his fundraising efforts, and has already well surpassed his target, putting him in fantastic shape for race day! You can read more about Ben here: https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/ben-roworth
James has run the marathon twice before now and felt compelled to run it again in aid of SIA, after witnessing the hardships faced by his grandparents when his grandfather sustained an SCI from a tripping accident 12 years ago. Not only did his grandmother take on sole caring responsibilities – until his grandfather went into residential care – she tragically sustained her own SCI last year, and sadly passed away a short while afterward. James holds the support offered by SIA in very high regard and wants to do what he can in the wake of the life-changing events that his family has had to come to terms with. You can find out about James’ story here: https://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/JamesSpurr
SCI and its impact is something that Micheala has been all-too-aware of, after seeing the devastating effect it had on her Dad, who sustained his injury in his early 40s, and sadly passed away in 2011. Micheala has committed to doing something big in his memory and has said “He was an amazing Dad and was extremely fit in his years before his injury, often taking me on hikes or long walks; I’ll be proud to run the London Marathon in memory of my Dad.” Micheala has the backing of her whole family and is expecting her daughters to be in London to cheer her along on race day. You can find out more about Micheala here: https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/micheala-sonnen
Jim joins #TeamSIA to represent our lifetime charity partner, Williams F1. Following Sir Frank Williams’ spinal cord injury in 1986, he was helped through his rehabilitation by SIA, and the whole team at Grove continue to offer the charity a phenomenal level of support to this day. He’s waited 49 years to take the plunge but Jim is now taking on his first ever marathon. As the team’s Car Build Manager, finding the time to fit in the training and fundraising, alongside his incredibly busy work schedule to get the cars ready for the 2020 season opener in Melbourne, is a challenge in itself, but certainly one he’s giving his absolute all to! You can read Jim’s story here: https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/james-barker50
Working in the health service Davina and Clare both see the effects that SCI has on their patients and their families through the course of their day-to-day work. Davina works for a London hospital as a Major Trauma Anaesthetist and is often dealing with the immediate and devastating aftermath of things like serious road traffic accidents, one of the leading causes of SCI. Clare works as a GP in Windsor and is supporting a couple of SCI patients with some of their chronic and longer-term health issues resulting from their injuries. The pair are good friends, and although they can’t train together as they live in different parts of the country, they are sharing training and fundraising tips throughout their journeys and hope to at least start together on race day. Davina has run the marathon before and is looking forward to taking up the challenge again. Clare is new to marathon running, having completed shorter distances, including a half marathon, previously. The two of them visited SIA House in Milton Keynes in February and heard more about the work of the charity directly from Peer Support Officers and SCI Nurse Specialists working in our front-line services. Davina’s full story is to follow, and you can read Clare’s story here: https://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/clare-nieland-SIA
After spectated in 2019 whilst cheering on his friend Ryan Montgomery, who pushed the marathon in his wheelchair, Johnny felt that he’d like to take up the challenge himself in 2020. Having entered through the general ballot, he was surprised to get a place, and has said “the gods of probability called my bluff and promptly granted me a place”. He is raising money for two causes dear to him, and we are very fortunate that he has chosen SIA as one of those to benefit from his efforts. You can find further details of Johnny’s story here: https://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/JohnnyHilliardMarathon
In 2019 one of Jeremy’s closest friends, Mark Whitely was seriously injured in a skiing accident, which resulted in an SCI. Mark has received ongoing Peer Support during his time at the National Spinal Injuries Centre in Stoke Mandeville, and so when Jeremy was fortunate enough to land a ballot place for the 2020 London Marathon, he decided to raise vital funds and awareness for SIA, as a show of solidarity for his friend. Jeremy has said “Mark is a super guy, full of character and personality, who is facing his new life with determination and courage, with the love and support of his family and friends. I was fortunate to receive a place in the London 2020 ballot and decided that I wanted to run for a cause that would benefit Mark.” You can read more about Jeremy here: https://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/JeremyRance
In 1992, Natalie’s Dad was spinal cord injured in a road traffic accident, resulting in a C5 injury and tetraplegia. Natalie comments “Our lives changed overnight. Without the help and support of SIA and his treatment at Stoke Mandeville, my Dad wouldn’t be here right now.” She holds SIA very close to her heart, and has decided to take on the ultimate challenge of the iconic London Marathon to raise money and awareness for the charity; she and the rest of her family would love to see the “amazing work that SIA does” continue. You can find details of Natalie’s challenge here: http://www.justgiving.com/Natalie-Arnold92