The first Phoebe Research Fund fun run took place yesterday (Sunday) around the shores of Rutland Water.
More than 350 runners took part in the 5km course, either running, walking or jogging - and the beneficiary of the event, eight-year-old Phoebe Crowson was there to cheer on the participants. Phoebe, now eight, suffers from Recessive Dystrophic Epidermolysis Bullosa, which causes her skin to badly blister. As a result of sore hips and blistered feet, Phoebe wasn’t able to run the race but she proclaimed to being “exhausted” after being pushed around the course in a special needs wheelchair, much to her delight.
Her mum Zoe, of Castor, founded the charity in 2015, to fund research into a cure for RDEB and the profits from the first run will go towards this as well.
Zoe said she was delighted with how well supported the event was and urged all of the participants to return their sponsorship money to ensure the event raises as much money as possible.
She said: “With a first event you never quite know how it’s going to go until the day so I was nervous beforehand but it was a really good day. Considering the forecast, lots of participants took part and there was a really fun atmosphere.
“We have auctions and balls and golf days but this was a great event to get everyone involved - there was lots of kids there which was really nice to see.
“Phoebe absolutely loved every minute of it. There was no way she could have walked it but my mum and a friend pushed her all the way around and she had a great time. She had her arms up in the air the whole time and she was waving.
“As she gets older, she understands more about her condition and why we do these events so she was very proud.”
Ahead of the event, Zoe’s partner Steven Arnold - better known as Coronation Street character Ashley Peacock - called on his former soap colleagues to post videos on social media calling on people to support the charity and Steven was also there on the day to cheer on the participants.
Zoe said raising the profile of the charity and what RDEB is was just as important as raising funds from the event.
“As a result we’ve heard of people looking it up to find out more about it, which can only be a good thing. The awareness is just so important to me,” Zoe added.
Caz Dolby, the founder of Wildcats Theatre School in Stamford, started the event off with a warm-up before the run got underway to the sounds of music from Rutland Radio with the show’s breakfast host Rob Persani also on hand. The route started at Sykes Lane and took in Whitwell and the dam and thankfully the weather held out.
Every competitor received a bespoke Phoebe Research medal, which was sponsored by Pilot Fish, and a bottle of water on the course, thanks to Morrisons of Stamford.
Zoe paid tribute to all the companies and organisations which helped put on the event, including Pilot Fish, PPS Print, Morrisons Stamford, Rutland Radio, the Rutland and Stamford Mercury, Rotary Club Stamford, Anglian Water, H&R Design, Active Magazine, Stamford Living, GL Events, Stamford Striders and Stamford Vehicle Hire.
Among the competitors was Richard Parkinson, managing director of Iliffe Media - the company which owns the Mercury, and the Mercury’s event and sponsorship coordinator Sharron Marriott with her daughter Bella, nine, who even brought along her cuddly dog Rover to compete!
Richard has raised nearly £600 - three times his fundraising target but his sponsorship page is still open at www.justgiving.com/richard-parkinson8 and he’s grateful for any support.
He said: “It was an amazing event and I was delighted to be able to represent the Rutland and Stamford Mercury. I’d personally like to thank everyone who has supported my own efforts so far.”
Zoe added: “It was absolutely fantastic to see the Mercury supporting the event by having Richard and Sharron there.”
Zoe is now looking ahead to organising another similar event next year.
She said: “For me, it was a really big learning curve and there are things we can learn to improve the event for the future.”
To find out more about the charity visit www.phoeberesearch.org.uk