Do Something Extraordinary
If the past seven days have taught us anything it's that out of tragedy sometimes something extraordinary comes out.
It was the story of the week that has got everyone thinking and giving.
A fit young healthy girl losing her life suddenly whilst running the London Marathon.
The death of Claire Squires, the runner who collapsed during the final mile of the marathon on Sunday, was an unspeakable tragedy. And yet, in the three days since her death, something amazing has occurred.
Donations on Claire’s website spiked when the world saw her photograph. Not because of her appearance – she was, undoubtedly, beautiful – but because her smile and sparkling eyes made a connection with everyone who saw her.
The first pictures of Claire emerged hours after she collapsed in front of spectators on Birdcage Walk, near London's St James’s Park. There she was, grinning in her blue and green Samaritans vest, thumbs up as she posed in her kitchen in North Kilworth, Leicestershire, the day before the race
At the time of writing @jaynecartwright tweeted: "Claire Squires has raised over £650k for Samaritans so far. Now (charity) JustGiving waived its 5% admin fee. Good move JG"
When Claire started her marathon she had raised her target of £500 which she was donating to The Samaritans.
Aside with friends and family members, most of the donations have come from strangers who had never met Claire. Tens of thousands of anonymous donors have pledged between £2 and £250 in her memory, identifying themselves only as “fellow runner” or by their race number. “You are an inspiration,” wrote one. “My medal is for you.”
Let me take you back to Sunday morning. I could barely muster the energy to jump out of bed and switch the TV to watch the event, let alone let train, diet and arrange sponsors to do something amazing.
I sat there in my pyjamas and smiled at the sight. The sea of colours, people from every walk of life, from every corner of the nation giving up their time to run the gruelling 26.2 miles.
It all seemed so positive and such a fun occasion if you are not lazy like me.
Little did I think that a day later I would be online with my credit card sponsoring someone I'd never met and joining in grieving for someone I didn't even know!
It seems i wasn't the only one. As soon as her Just Giving page started to appear on Facebook and on Twitter being retweeted - everyone started doing the same.
Social media has played a huge part of this unfolding story this week.
Karen Brookes commented on her Facebook page: "Wow, what a legacy. No-one would go into the marathon expecting it to end so tragically, her poor family and friends."
Arianne Merry said "It just cheers me up when people pull together like that!
Jullietta Arden-Taylor added: "This is so sad & amazing response that must be overwhelming for her family & close friends.
As her family waits for answers about her death, this is Claire’s legacy. The devastating loss of this healthy 30-year-old woman has touched the hearts of millions – not just in Britain but across the globe – who have expressed their sorrow in the only way they can.
As far as i can make out there is no book of remembrance or place to leave flowers. Instead, Claire’s fundraising page has become the focus for a shared outpouring of emotion that goes to the root of charitable giving.
So during a week of horrid weather,news that once again the country is plunging back into the recession and of course Claire's untimely death, we can look at back and acknowledge that not everything is bad.
Sometimes the very worst situations bring out the very best in human nature. We can only now hope that Claire would have approved and been thoroughly chuffed at what she has managed to achieve.
And it's not over yet. Fellow Marathon runner and tweeter @Char_lee 50 just posted "I've #justsponsored Claire Squires on @JustGiving. Let's try and make it a million for a charity angel!
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