CITY workers are being encouraged to don a suit of a different kind next month and join the London Santa Dash for Great Ormond Street Hospital’s Children’s Charity to raise money for seriously ill children and their families.
The third annual fun run sends thousands of Father Christmases of all ages and abilities on a five or 10-kilometre sprint (or stroll) around Clapham Common on 3 December to raise money to support the hospital.
Last year, close to 3,000 ‘Santas’ raised more than £250,000 to fund services across the hospital, and this year organisers are hoping to encourage even more participants to suit up and dig deep in 2017.
All funds raised from this year’s event will go towards the hospital’s play department, a team that uses normal and specialised activities to prepare patients and their families for surgery, help them recover, and bring fun into the hospital.
Their work ranges from using specially designed dolls to take the fear factor out of surgeries to providing parents and families with a much needed distraction.
GOSH Children’s Charity’s head of community fundraising, Laura Savory, said it was the first time funds raised from the event would be directed towards just one funding area, and play seemed like a natural partnership.
“Play is important to every child regardless of whether they’re unwell, and the play therapists do an incredible job of explaining treatments to children and, critically, normalising the everyday experience of hospital.
“It is a really important part of the hospital but also translates really well into the charity’s London Santa Dash event and Christmas.”
All participants will receive a complimentary Santa suit, a medal, a mulled drink, and mince pie at the finish line.
Organisers are hoping professionals will see the appeal of a family day out complete with festive pre-race entertainment or of an office team building exercise for a good cause.
Event sponsors Galliard Homes are currently fielding a team of 40 participants.
Galliard spokesperson Lucille Gibbons said:
“We are delighted to have chosen Great Ormond Street Hospital Children’s Charity as our charitable partner until 2020 and we’re very excited to be sponsoring this year’s London Santa Dash to help raise vital funds for such an important cause.”