Posted on Saturday 11 July 2020
London school teacher finishes 1000km lockdown fundraising challenge with full marathon
- Alasdair Robertson was inspired to support children and young people’s cancer charity, CLIC Sargent, after Head Boy was diagnosed with osteosarcoma
- Head Boy, Sachin Shah, was there with his family to congratulate his teacher at the finish line on Saturday
On Saturday 11 July, after running 10km a day for almost 100 days, Alasdair Robertson, Assistant Headteacher at Wallington County Grammar School, reached the 1000km mark by running his first ever full marathon. His incredible efforts have so far raised over £19,000 for children’s cancer charity, CLIC Sargent, who have supported pupil Sachin Shah through his cancer treatment.
Alasdair was inspired to take on this incredible challenge after the Head Boy at his school, Sachin Shah, was diagnosed with cancer earlier this year. Over the past few months, Alasdair has juggled continuing to teach throughout a pandemic and running every day to raise money for the charity.
Family, friends, students and colleagues gathered (at a distance) to cheer him on at the starting line in Bushy Park and then again to celebrate the end of his challenge at the 1000km mark, in the grounds of Wallington County Grammar School. His local MP Elliot Colburn also joined the crowd to cheer him on at the finish line.
Head Boy Sachin and his family were cheering him on throughout the day. In December last year, Sachin Shah, 17, had been complaining of a pain on the inside of his right leg. At first, the doctors believed he had a sports injury but after several scans and a biopsy in February, he was diagnosed with osteosarcoma, a type of bone cancer.
Sachin’s Dad, Manoj Shah, said: “He was just off to his ski trip, he’d actually got on the bus and he was at Dover. We got a phone call from Stanmore [hospital] saying ‘our radiologist has looked at [the scan], we don’t like what we see and we would like to do a biopsy.’
“He got off the bus and he got the train back to London, he was ok about it because two radiologists had said it was benign. Then, a week later we went to Stanmore they did a biopsy, and a week after that it came out that it was cancerous.”
Sachin started treatment on 3 March, less than three weeks before the country went into lockdown. He has recently had surgery on his knee and is currently on the fourth cycle of his chemotherapy treatment.
After getting outstanding results in his GCSEs last year, Sachin is working towards studying Mathematics at either Oxford or Cambridge University. Despite currently going through treatment, he has stayed determined to keep up with his school work and makes sure he always catches up with his online lessons throughout lockdown.
Sachin’s teacher Alasdair was there on the bus in Dover when Sachin got the call from his father, telling him he needed to come home from the school trip. Alasdair wanted to do something to raise money for CLIC Sargent, who support young people with cancer and their families. He decided to take on the challenge of running 10km a day for 100 days during lockdown.
Alasdair Roberston says: “Saturday was just incredible. To start the finale of the 1000km, the marathon, with Sachin and his family present was amazing and I felt privileged to be helping Sachin and others in his position. Finishing at school and having around 200 members of our community, staff, students and alumni show up to support me on my final 5km and when I crossed the finish line was so overwhelming and seeing how much it meant to people, especially Sachin was undoubtedly one of the best feelings I have had; to know that what you are doing is making a difference to young boys and girls who are suffering with cancer is tremendously moving and humbling.
“Ultimately however, the best thing about the day was seeing Sachin’s smile as I crossed the line, it made all the effort of running 1000km in 100 days feel more than worth it. I can only thank everyone who showed up and has so generously donated after being inspired by Sachin’s resilience, toughness and positivity.”
CLIC Sargent is the UK’s leading charity for young cancer patients and their families. They provide specialist support, to help limit the damage cancer causes beyond health. Since the start of the pandemic, CLIC Sargent, which relies 100 per cent on voluntary donations, has seen a 60 per cent fall in income. The charity has had to put almost all its fundraising events on hold which is why Alasdair’s support is so important, now more than ever.
Rose Bailey, CLIC Sargent’s Fundraising and Engagement Manager for Surrey, says: “It’s been such a pleasure supporting Ali during this incredible challenge and we are completely in awe of his enthusiasm and determination. We are so grateful to him for raising money for CLIC Sargent, and ensuring we can continue to be there for young people facing cancer. Sachin is clearly a very popular and talented young man and Ali is a much-loved teacher. It was amazing to cheer Ali on as he crossed the finish line, along with his colleagues, friends and family!”
To support Alasdair’s 1000km challenge and find out more about their story, visit his fundraising page here: https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/alasdair-robertson7
Notes to editors
For more information, an interview or images, please contact Emma Gibbons on 07932 666163 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
About cancer in children and young people
Today, 11 more children and young people in the UK will hear the devastating news that they have cancer. Treatment normally starts immediately, is often given many miles from home and can last for up to three years. Although survival rates are over 80%, cancer remains the single largest cause of death from disease in children and young people in the UK.
About CLIC Sargent
When cancer strikes young lives CLIC Sargent helps families limit the damage cancer causes beyond their health. CLIC Sargent is the UK’s leading charity for young cancer patients and their families. We provide specialist support, to help and guide each young cancer patient and their family. We will fight tirelessly for them, individually, locally and nationally. For more information, visit www.clicsargent.org.uk
Note to sub editors
Please note that the name ‘CLIC Sargent’ should not be abbreviated to CLIC, and that the word ‘CLIC’ should always appear in capitals, as above.
CLIC Sargent has announced that approximately 40 staff will be made redundant in the coming weeks and several of its charity shops are remaining closed because of the devastating financial impact of the Coronavirus pandemic.