The International Children’s Palliative Care Network (ICPCN), the only global charity advocating for the rights of children with life limiting conditions to receive palliative care, is pleased to announce that Richard Newton, a specialist correspondent with the South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC), will be running the London Marathon to raise funds for their organisation.
The Virgin Money London Marathon is one of the great British sporting events, combining elite athletics, mass participation and record-breaking fundraising in one race. The course is a gruelling 42 kilometre race, passing through the streets of London from Blackheath to the famous finish line at The Mall.
Richard, a global citizen and accomplished runner who has lived and worked in numerous locations worldwide, describes a request from his son four years ago for him to give up smoking as the trigger needed for him to take up a healthier lifestyle. “Thus began a journey that started with a two minute run on a treadmill, that literally took my breath away, until Sunday 25 January this year when I crossed the finish line of the 2015 Ironman 70.3 in East London,” says Richard.
Richard’s connection with children’s palliative care began in 2002 when he covered a story about Sunflower House Children’s Hospice in Bloemfontein and met the founder and then director, Joan Marston. He describes meeting Joan and the children in the hospice and seeing the striking sunflowers painted on the walls of the Sunflower Children’s Hospice, each one bearing the name of a child who had passed away from a life limiting illness, as life changing. Learning of the work done by the Sunflower Children’s Hospice team to ensure the best quality of life possible for the children and families in their care made an indelible impression on him.
Over the years since that first meeting, Richard has continued to support Sunflower Children’s Hospice both in his personal and professional capacity. He also continued to support Joan, who, while still connected to Sunflower Children’s Hospice, moved on to work at the national Hospice and Palliative Care Association (HPCA). While there, she led the development of numerous children’s palliative care programmes in the country and then in 2012 became the first Chief Executive of the International Children’s Palliative Care Network (ICPCN).
In April 2014 the ICPCN held its first international congress in India and again Richard was there as a special correspondent, documenting the event for TV audiences back home in South Africa.
Referring to his run in the London Marathon to raise funds for ICPCN, Richard says, “My family and I are proud to support the ICPCN and the amazing work it does. When Joan asked if I would be prepared to run the London Marathon to raise funds I was more than willing. Compared to the everyday challenges, ups and downs and dealing with pain that the kids, the dedicated staff and families go through, running a marathon seemed like the least I could do!”
Richard can be sponsored through the Virgin Money Giving website that is 100% not for profit. If you would like to add your support please click on the link below to sponsor Richard as he takes on the London Marathon to raise funds for ICPCN.