Midnight runners Lauren and Andrew smash Macmillan fund-raising target

A Sunderland couple have smashed their charity fund-raising target by running in the dark.

Mother-of-two Lauren Flaxen, 36, and partner Andrew Fowler, both from Fulwell, set out to raise £500 for Macmillan Cancer Support, covering a gruelling 56 miles by running four miles every four hours through the night over two days but brought in more than £3,200.

The couple wanted to show their solidarity with members of their community who had been dealing with the impact of cancer and other personal crisis brought into even sharper focus during the pandemic, and dedicated each four hour slot to a different person.

In all, they ran 14 four-mile segments honouring people including mum-ofithree Kirsty Laing, currently undergoing chemotherapy for breast cancer; four-year-old Lydia Blackburn who has been through many treatments for Rhabdomyosarcoma, a cancer affecting muscles attached to the bone, and and Anne Gibson, who has supported three family members through their cancer journey.

Lauren launches the fund-raising effort

Lauren, a member of the Sunderland Harriers, said: “My family and I are runners and I wanted to do something that would recognise the amazing achievements of a number of people we know and honour the memory of others to highlight what some have been going through over the pandemic and raise money for national charity Macmillan Cancer Support.

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“We raised over £1,000 in the first 24 hours, the people of Fulwell and other members of our amazing community including Fulwell Infant School Academy who got behind our challenge and promoted it to parents should be very proud.

“Andrew isn’t a runner but he was with me every step of the way, all 56 miles and it’s really boosted his confidence. We even had some neighbours appear at their door to support us as we ran past, bashing their pots and pans and cheering us on - it’s been an amazing experience.”


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Lauren and Andrew get in some practice on the seafront

Jane Curry, Fundraising Manager for Macmillan Cancer Support in Sunderland, said: “Lauren and Andrew’s enthusiasm has shone through and it’s been really inspiring to see what a difference two people getting behind a cause can do and we are so grateful for all their efforts and people’s generosity. This will really make a difference at a time when its most needed.”

To donate to Team Flaxen-Fowler, with all proceeds going to Macmillan Cancer Support, click here.

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