The 2.6 Challenge, Sparks-style

Our spirits have been lifted at Team Sparks this week. At a time when many of our usual fundraising activities and events have had be cancelled or postponed, some very special fundraisers took it upon themselves to create their own challenges.

From artists to runners, a huge thank you goes to all those who raised funds for vital child health research by taking part in the 2.6 Challenge for Sparks. Here are some of our favourites...

David didn’t allow the postponement of the London Marathon to put him off, instead taking on a treadmill marathon on Sunday - from the safety of his garage! David reported, “I had family members in a Zoom meeting cheering me on, including my daughter who joined in from Abu Dhabi. I am delighted with the time of 3:34:16 which was better than I expected. This picture (above) is me at the Isle of Dogs! William, my 9 year old son, is logging how far I have got and progress against target.” Our thanks and admiration to David who has raised an incredible £1,500 for vital child health research through Sparks.

In Scotland, a very special Sparks family took on a very special challenge. Colin and Kirsten from Fife, completed the 2.6 Challenge for Sparks in memory of their daughter Eilish, who had Krabbe disease and sadly passed away in 2014. Together with their children Innes, Keir and Lara they ran, walked and cycled 2.6 miles each, socially distanced from others in the local park. A wonderful family effort raising over £500. We love this photo below of Colin, Innes and Keir tackling the cycling segment.

Proving that stay at home heroes don’t always need their trainers on, the Girvan family put a creative spin on their 2.6 Challenge – choosing to work with the 26 letters of the alphabet. Ella, who has Spina Bifida and is treated at GOSH, and her siblings Harry and Dulcie wanted to create all 26 letters using their bodies, with the aim of completing it in 2.6 hours. Mum, Helen told us, “We thought this might be a challenge and it really was - it was so much harder than we anticipated. But we worked really well as a team and we did it. Seeing the money coming in for such an amazing charity gave us all a real buzz - that and the promised chocolate cake we all ate when it was done!”

We're so impressed that they managed to spell out Sparks for us, take a look at their fabulous photo below.

Also turning the disappointment of not being able to take on the London Marathon into a positive was Sparks champion Steve, pictured below.

Steve put his training to good use; donning his trainers and wearing his Sparks vest with pride, he embarked on a socially distanced local run of 30 miles - even more than a marathon - raising an amazing £500 for Sparks.

Not allowing lockdown to get in the way of raising funds, Julia, who works for Sparks Charity, resourcefully found a length of rope in her cellar and create a skipping challenge! Julia explains, “I’ve loved being part of the 2.6 Challenge for Sparks. I decided to skip for 2.6 minutes every day for a week, not only has it helped me with my fitness levels it’s helping fund research for critically-ill children. I’ve just started skipping since being in lockdown so it’s been an enjoyable challenge.”

A very beautiful, creative challenge came from the talented Caroline, who took on a 26.2 hours draw-athon! Caroline’s friends submitted their requests in exchange for donations to Sparks and the artist set to work sketching, painting and collaging on to a (very long) roll of lining paper, pictured below. From 5am on Sunday through to 7am on Monday Caroline created art including geometrics, plants, still-life and... guinea pigs!

We couldn’t end this fundraising round up without a shout out to Tom who created the ‘Middleton Marathon’ - in his own garden in Wiltshire - after the London Marathon was postponed. Running over 210 laps of his garden, Tom had a very personal reason for running his marathon for Sparks. Tom’s nephew, Arlo, has stage 4 kidney disease and his family are so grateful for the medical research that has kept him healthy over the last few years. Incredibly, Tom’s Garden Marathon has raised over £6,000.

We're so proud of all those who raised funds this week, thank you everyone.

For many children and their families, research is their only hope. At Sparks, we’re dedicated to helping children with rare and complex conditions. We do that by funding life-saving child health research across the UK and it’s the dedicated support of superstar fundraisers, like those highlighted here, that allows this to happen.

We always need more fundraising heroes! If you’ve been inspired by the fundraisers there's still time to set up your own Two Point Six Challenge - we'll support you as you raise vital funds for child health research.