Strictly’s Shirley Ballas to cheer on marathon runnersPublished: 19 Jul 2021
The BBC One Strictly Come Dancing Head Judge is leading the cheer squad for Macmillan Cancer Support – the official charity partner for this Year’s Virgin Money London Marathon – as runners begin training for October
Shirley is supporting Macmillan Cancer Support, the official charity partner of this year’s event, following her mother’s cancer experience and her own cancer scare. Shirley said:
“I’m so delighted to be leading the cheer squad for all the wonderful Team Macmillan runners taking on the Virgin Money London Marathon this year for a charity that is very close to my heart.
“My mother had colon cancer which was such a scary time and I’ve had my own cancer scares recently too. I know that if I ever needed help, Macmillan would be the place for me to go to for support.”
The Covid-19 pandemic has had a devastating impact on cancer care and at the same time Macmillan has faced a significant loss of income due to the pandemic. Shirley continued:
“Macmillan provides such vital support to people from day one of their cancer diagnosis and I can’t wait to see the thousands of runners get out there in October along the iconic London course and virtually around the world to raise vital funds after what has been an incredibly difficult year.
“Whether you’ll be tying up your laces to take on the marathon, or cheering on from the side lines like myself, support for Team Macmillan will help the charity continue to do whatever it takes to be there for everyone living with cancer.”
The legendary ballroom dancer hopes to swap dancing shoes for running trainers herself one day, commenting that taking on the challenge of a marathon “will be on her bucket list” once her ankle has recovered from a recent injury.
Research[i] from Macmillan Cancer Support found that the Covid-19 pandemic has turned us into a nation of ambitious adventurers, with almost one in five of us (18%) determined to tick off or add to the adventures on our bucket list as a result of the pandemic, or to write a bucket list for the very first time.
Furthermore, 6 million people across the UK[ii] (13%) are planning to say ‘yes’ to taking part in an epic physical challenge, inspired by living through the Covid-19 pandemic, with running — from 5km to a marathon — at the top of the list of the challenges people want to take on for the first time (37%).
100,000 people are expected to take part in this year’s Virgin Money London Marathon — the biggest marathon ever staged — with 50,000 people running from Blackheath to The Mall and another 50,000 running the virtual marathon from wherever they are in the world on Sunday 3rd October.
Chris Rose (41) from Suffolk, whose wife Angela died of breast cancer, will be running with Team Macmillan in October after taking on the marathon in 2019 with his wife’s ashes around his wrist. Chris said:
“Angela had always wanted to run the London Marathon but due to her illness that wasn’t going to be possible. I decided I would run it for her and, in doing so, raise as much money as I could for Macmillan who helped support her and who are still supporting myself and our 10-year-old son Jack.
“Sadly, Angela died before the marathon, but I made the decision we would do it together and I ran with her ashes in a wristband to help grant her that last wish of getting over the finish line together.
“Being part of Team Macmillan means a lot to so many people – you can’t help feeling like you’re all in it together – and I’m raring to take on the challenge once again in October.”
Claire Rowney, Executive Director of Fundraising, Marketing and Innovation at Macmillan Cancer Support, said:
“The Covid-19 pandemic has had a devastating impact on our income, at a time when people living with cancer need our support more than ever. That’s why we’re thrilled to be the official charity partner of this year’s event and to have Shirley’s support for our Team Macmillan runners.
“The vital funds raised by runners and supporters will help us continue to do whatever it takes to be there for everyone living with cancer from day one of their diagnosis.”
To donate to Team Macmillan or to join the team visit londonmarathon.macmillan.org.uk. The funds raised by Team Macmillan runners and supporters will help Macmillan continue to provide vital support and do whatever it takes to be there for everyone, from day one of their cancer diagnosis.