Meet Ben: Concert Violinist and Challenge Event extraordinaire

This year, Ben Knowles, a talented musician from Kent, set himself the challenge of a lifetime: to raise money for his student being treated for cystic fibrosis (CF) at Great Ormond Street Hospital (GOSH). A “fairly sedentary creature” up until last year, Ben completed a grand total of 10 endurance fundraising events April–September 2018, including a two-mile swim in the Serpentine!

"When I discovered that I automatically got into the Edinburgh Marathon due to being part of London Marathon, I thought that two marathons would make a big difference when it came to raising more money.

“Before I knew it, I had entered eight running and cycling events. I thought: might as well round it up to 10! 

“Lots of people do marathon events every year, but not a lot do 10 long distance endurance events. I hoped that this would make a difference to my fundraising efforts.”

Stepping outside of his comfort zone

"I’m a musician and fairly sedentary creature. I was one of those people at school that the PE teachers never liked – just atrocious at sport! So this was all very much out of my comfort zone – especially running. I used a couch-to-5k app at first and built up gradually until I was running 15–18 miles on each training run.

"The night before the Edinburgh Marathon I was in Brighton conducting an opera. I finished that and drove up with a bowl of pasta! I got to the start line with five minutes to spare."

It’s all for the cause

"I find it easier to motivate myself if I’m doing something for someone else rather than for myself. I had some running and cycling shirts made up with the relevant hashtags that have been used by the CF community and sent them to the mother of my student, who asked whether I would like a photo to put on the shirt. This worked.

"The photo on my training shirt reminded me of why I was doing it. She’s an inspirational kid. She does not let her CF slow her down or hold her up in any way. If I was doing it for my own achievement, I don’t think I would have stayed as motivated."

 Join TeamGOSH

Ben took a tour around GOSH, to see for his own eyes the good work that is done every day to help patients like his student. It had a profound effect on him. 

"Being shown around the hospital really brought it home – why my efforts count and why fundraising is necessary. I was introduced to the respiratory consultant who looks after my student.

“Seeing in action what’s done for children and young people – not just their physical health but keeping them mentally well, stimulated and happy – is surprisingly overwhelming. It’s amazing to also see that my fundraising has already had an effect directly; my student now has the physio equipment that has been funded directly with money raised, so I think this will help motivations for next year."

Ben's top fundraising tips

"Talk to everyone! People are surprisingly generous.

"It’s also good to put together a leaflet about what you’re doing.

"Talk to work colleagues, create a Facebook page, speak to companies to get sponsorship, put their names on your running shirt – people are willing to support a good cause.

"Good luck!”

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