On Sunday 1 August, University of Surrey researcher, Natali Bozhilova (pictured) and Farnham resident, Ben Matthews completed the London Landmarks Half Marathon for children’s charity Cerebra, raising £2,000 between them.
This was the first time in two years this half marathon was able to go ahead, with 11,000 runners crossing the start line to raise money for good causes.
One of those causes was Cerebra, the charity, which supports children with a brain condition and their families. This is a cause close to Bozhilova's heart, as her role at the University of Surrey is part of the Cerebra Network for Neurodevelopmental Disorders.
When asked why she decided to run for Cerebra, Bozhilova said, "I am passionate about people having an equal opportunity to live their best life and make their dreams come true. I also believe that the accumulation of small acts of kindness amount to real-world change for the better. In that sense, Cerebra’s ethos resonates with my vision of a better world for families, who include individuals with brain conditions."
The University of Surrey has, for a number of years, worked in collaboration with the charity to develop a world-leading research programme, central to improving the lives of children with severe and complex needs and their families.
Public support is crucial to help fund Cerebra’s research programmes and as Matthews had already run two full marathons and one half marathon, this was the perfect fundraising challenge for him.
"I ran for Cerebra because I wanted to support a charity that provides such valuable support for children and families impacted by brain conditions, especially important in the context of the very challenging year we’ve just seen. The day was great and it was amazing to be with a big group of people again."
Events like the London Landmarks Half Marathon are now starting to go ahead once more, which is great news for charities across the country. Cerebra Communications Manager, Derek Spinks adds, "We’re so grateful to Natali and Ben for choosing to run for Cerebra and also all the time and effort they put into training and fundraising for us. The funds they raised will help fund not only our research, but also the health and social care advice and support we deliver each day. Now that mass participation events are able to take place again, Cerebra, like many other charities, will be hoping more fundraisers like Natali and Ben do something amazing and sign up to a challenge."