Spotlighting the GOSH families taking on the TCS London Marathon

29 Mar 2023, 4:18 p.m.

Annie Lavanya Suzie and Stephen outside on a running track, looking to camera wearing GOSH Charity vests. Grey rainclouds in the background.

It’s not long to go until the 2023 TCS London Marathon, and we have an incredible Charity of the Year team.

Last month, we introduced you to three very special runners - Lavanya (pictured above, third from the right), Leah and Christian.

Now, it's time to meet three more amazing people who are taking on the challenge.

Suzie, Annie and Stephen are part of a community of runners helping to build the new Children’s Cancer Centre at GOSH to save more children’s lives.

Read their inspirational stories below.

Suzie – running in memory of her son, Max

Suzie’s son, Max, sadly passed away from a malignant rhabdoid tumour (a rare childhood cancer) in 2019, after spending most of his life at GOSH.

Since then, Suzie (pictured above, second from the right) and her family have set up a Brighter Future Fund in memory of Max and have fundraised thousands of pounds for GOSH Charity.

"Every day, so many children and families are transported to GOSH and I’ve seen so many tragic scenarios,” Suzie says. “These families depend on us to help fund the support they need.”

Suzie is gearing up to run the TCS London Marathon for the first time in 2023. She is running for herself, GOSH Charity and her son. "The fundraising helps me feel like I’m still being a mum to Max,” she says.

Suzie is wishing her fellow TeamGOSH runners the best of luck. “You are all phenomenal people. Thank you so much for running for such a special cause.”

Max lying down smiling widely, looking straight ahead

Suzie's son Max

Q&A with Suzie

Q) What advice would you give to other fundraisers?

"I’ve actually found fundraising to be quite fun. We’ve held raffles and set up different fundraisers, like shaving heads. I’d say just keep at it. I flood my social media with my fundraising, and I’ve hit my target, so it’s amazing!”

Q) What are your top training tips?

"My top training tip is to stick to the plan and trust the process. I am following the beginner's marathon plan. This is my first marathon and so far, so good!”

Q) How important is the cheer squad on race day?

“I’m really dependent on the cheer squad. I need all the help I can get to get me through every step!”

Q) What are you most looking forward to about the marathon?

"I’m most looking forward to receiving my medal on race day. I just need to cross the finish line!”

Stephen and Annie – running for their son, Jack

When he was 10 years old, Stephen and Annie’s son, Jack, was diagnosed with a rare type of pancreatic cancer. He underwent pioneering surgery at GOSH, and on Christmas Day in 2010 it was confirmed that Jack was cancer-free.

Annie is now a GOSH Ambassador and the family are passionate about sport and fundraising.

They are taking on the 2023 TCS London Marathon to help raise funds for the new Children’s Cancer Centre at GOSH, to support more parents going through the most challenging times.

"GOSH is an amazing place,” Annie says. “It’s really magical, and it’s absolutely fantastic as a family to experience the facilities, the experts and the school. TeamGOSH all the way!

"From us, and the rest of our family, we’re with you every step of the way. So good luck and lots of love from us all. Together, we can help beat childhood cancer."

Two photos side by side. One shows Stephen and Annie, standing outside on a running track - smiling and wearing GOSH Charity vests. The other photo is a studio, modelling shot of Jack today. He's jumping in the air. The photo is black and white.

Annie and Stephen during training, and a photo of Jack today

Q&A with Stephen and Annie

Q) What fundraising advice do you have?

"Start early, so you’re not panicking about it at the end, and just make sure everyone knows you’re doing it. Don’t be shy!

"I make my fundraising quite loud and bold, and I tell everyone our story. I send it to every single person I know, including customers, clients and friends.”

Q) What are your top training tips?

"Start slowly and build up. Don’t go fast or do lots of mileage early on - stick to gradual steps and you’ll get there.”

Q) What are you most looking forward to on race day?

"It’s all about the environment, the atmosphere, and TeamGOSH’s amazing supporters. Being part of a team is what we’re really looking forward to.”

Q) How important is the cheer squad on race day?

"The cheer squad is absolutely amazing. When you’re getting tired, particularly in mile 18 or 19, and you look up and see the purple crowds, it really makes you dig deep. They lift you up again.”

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