On Thursday night at Haberdashers’ Hall, we held our annual Unstoppable Sports Awards, an evening held to honour our outstanding fundraisers across all sports events in 2013. All of the LLR sports team staff are in agreement that the evening was a thoroughly enjoyable, emotional and uplifting one.
Last year was another hugely successful, record-smashing year for sports fundraising at LLR. We had our highest ever number of people taking part in runs, cycles, swims and triathlons with us, and our sports fundraisers brought in an incredible total of more than £4.3 million. It was fitting that the Sports Awards should reflect this success by going bigger and better than before, and so it proved as more than 200 supporters packed out the hall for a ceremony in which the individual and team fundraisers of the year in each event category were presented with awards to celebrate their achievements.
Almost all of the award winners had a personal connection to blood cancers, whether they had lost someone close to them, or had been a patient themselves and raised funds to show their appreciation of the work carried out over the years that enabled them to survive. Actor Tom Lister, aided by LLR ambassador Geoff Thomas, did a superb job of presenting the awards and kept the overall tone of the evening light-hearted and upbeat, although I’ll admit I nearly welled up on a couple of occasions at some of the heartfelt and humbling speeches given by the winners.
After the presentations there was a chance for the fundraisers to chat and congratulate each other. One of the best things about being part of this LLR sports team, indeed part of the charity in general, is the sense of community that exists among our supporters. Many of those in attendance last night had completed incredible fundraising feats individually, but as a collective their achievement is all the greater, and the feeling of being in a roomful of people inspiring and energising each other to keep working towards a shared goal was pretty special.
For the staff it was a nice opportunity to be reunited with fundraisers we’d previously met at events, as well as finally putting faces to many of the names we’d struck up email rapports with over the year. The act of bringing together so many of our inspirational fundraisers also really brought into focus what we’re all trying to achieve. We know we still have a long way to go, but if the Sports Awards set the tone for 2014 then it promises to be another brilliant year of sports fundraising, taking us a step closer on our journey to beat blood cancers.
At the evening we showed this video, featuring sporting celebrities, patients and fundraisers saying thank you and congratulations to all our unstoppable sports fundraisers: