THE chief executive of Cure Leukaemia James McLaughlin will be swapping his suit and tie for running gear as he sets out to run the equivalent of four marathons next month.
James, 46, is running 104 miles to raise funds for 12 UK blood cancer centres in completing his ‘Tour of the TAP’ challenge after the a national blood cancer charity faces a £1.5million shortfall as a result of the pandemic.
TAP, which stands for the Trials Acceleration Programme, consists of a network of specialist research nurses based in 12 of the UK’s biggest cities and a facilitatory Hub at the Centre for Clinical Haematology (CCH) in Birmingham.
TAP, which Cure Leukaemia made a 3-year £3million commitment to funding in January 2020, enables the accelerated setup and delivery of pioneering and potentially life-saving blood cancer clinical trials. The research nurses across the UK and the co-ordinating Hub allow these trials to run, giving patients from a catchment area of over 20 million people access to potentially life-saving treatments not currently available through standard care.
James will begin his challenge by running 14 km from the CCH in Birmingham on Thursday November 12 raising funds for Cure Leukaemia in support of client manager for Player PA, Kate Winning, who is currently battling blood cancer at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital.
And on the first leg of his run James will be joined in person or virtually by the CEO of the Greater Birmingham Chambers of Commerce Paul Faulkner who has also pledged £250 sponsorship from the chamber to support his fundraising efforts.
James said: “The Covid-19 pandemic has decimated the fundraising plans of charities across the world with the cancellation of key events. Whilst this is clearly a challenging time for us all I wanted to do something positive to help blood cancer patients across the UK. A person is diagnosed with blood cancer every 14 minutes in the UK so that is why I have decided to run 14km for patients at each of the 12 blood cancer locations we fund as part of the TAP.
“I’m very grateful for Paul’s support to join me for the start of the challenge which will begin at the Centre for Clinical Haematology in Birmingham. Whilst I won’t be able to run in each of the 12 cities, I hope that others will be able to join me by doing their own 14km runs or think of different ways to raise funds on those days.”
Paul Faulkner, who is also a trustee of Cure Leukaemia, said: “Cure Leukaemia’s ethos as a charity is positivity and, by taking on this challenge, James is highlighting exactly this by turning the most testing of years into a positive.
“While we can’t take part in traditional mass participation marathons or half marathons at the moment, there is nothing stopping us from setting our own challenges. 14km will be the furthest I’ve ever run in one go as far as I can recall; but given the wider challenge that James is undertaking I’m all too happy to join him for the first 14km and sponsor the cause. I hope many others follow our lead across all 12 TAP centre locations.”
James continued: “Patients are the driving force for everything we do at Cure Leukaemia and people like Kate are battling this disease during a global pandemic. I will have her and all patients across the West Midlands in my mind throughout my Birmingham run and look forward to connecting with other patients being treated at centres across the TAP in the coming weeks.
“I’ve run a marathon before but never 4 marathons in a short space of time so this will be a big challenge for me, and I hope people will either join me or help me raise funds during my ‘Tour of the TAP’.”
To sponsor James go to: https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/JamesMc-Tour-of-TAP-2020