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Why I’m running my first (and possibly only) Marathon for Lumos

Children belong in families,
not orphanages
Lumos voices

Why I’m running my first (and possibly only) Marathon for Lumos

I’ve worked for the Lumos Communications Team in London for nearly three years. During this time, I’ve worked on numerous campaigns, but when a London Marathon place came up and I was given the opportunity to run for Lumos it felt very different to the work I'd done before. The objective was the same - to help some of the world’s most vulnerable children and families - but the challenge was very different. It was a personal one.

My aim is to raise funds to help Lumos’ work in Haiti where we are working with the government and others to close abusive orphanages, reunite children with families and put in place safe, alternative care within families. The money I raise will be used to:

  • Provide health and education support for children
  • Trace children’s families
  • Provide support so that families can care for their children at home
  • Provide trained staff and carers to support children on their journey back to family life
  • Raise awareness of the harm caused by orphanages.
  • I’m also hoping that my work may inspire more people to do the same and join Lumos in helping these vulnerable children. So far my efforts have given me an opportunity to start conversations with friends and family about Lumos’ mission, and how any contributions they can make will genuinely help to reunite vulnerable families. It would be amazing if these conversations spread even further.

    I’m a keen runner (by that I mean I enjoy it; I wouldn’t say I was very good), but I had to take a couple of months off at the end of last year for various reasons. Signing up to the marathon this year has given me the chance to focus on my training and get in to shape(ish) again.

    Lumos’ mission is simple, but as a Londoner with friends and family from a similar area, some aspects of the organisation’s work are very far removed from my own personal experience and I imagine this is the case for many other people too.

    It is unbearable to think that a child could be taken from their family and placed in an orphanage or institution, simply because their parents cannot afford to look after them at home. It is especially unbearable that after natural disaster, like Hurricane Matthew in Haiti, children are greater risk of being separated from their families and then trafficked or otherwise being harmed.

    When I think of these circumstances, I think of friends and family who have recently had children, and how the threat of having to send them to live elsewhere would barely cross their minds.

    Practically, I’m preparing for the marathon with a very minor change to my diet (which is currently somewhere between fine and OK) and I’m running longer distances each week to help me build up my resistance.

    Emotionally, I’m also thinking of all of my brilliant friends and family who have run this exact same course over the years, and I’m taking some comfort from knowing that they finished the race - and still seem to think it’s a good idea for me to run it as well!

    But most importantly I’m thinking of the estimated eight million children around the world who are living in institutions and orphanages, and who could be reunited with their family if they had the right support.

    I will keep a blog so people can follow my journey (and aches and pains) along the way and I would love to hear from anyone who is thinking of running, walking or doing any other activity to raise funds for Lumos this year.

    If you would like to make a donation and help children return to family life, please visit my page here: https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/lourunsforlumos

    Thanks, Louise

    Thanks to the generous support of J.K. Rowling and others, 100% of the money you give to Lumos will go directly to Lumos projects and not to overhead or administrative costs.

    Thank you - and if you'd like to get in touch about raising funds for Lumos you can email my colleague Joe and me at fundraising@wearelumos.org