A much-loved Birmingham hospice is urging the local community to get behind the 2.6 Challenge this month, as a way of showing support for its doctors, nurses and frontline staff.

Birmingham St Mary’s Hospice is joining forces with other not-for-profit organisations to take part in the national campaign, which is set to be the world’s biggest one-day fundraising event – potentially raising over £67m for UK charities.

The 2.6 Challenge will be taking place on Sunday 26 April – the day that the 40th London Marathon was due to happen. An iconic fundraising event, the London Marathon would have seen over 40,000 runners run 26.2 miles across the capital, many of whom would be raising funds for national and local charities.

As an alternative, the 2.6 Challenge is asking people to dream up their own fundraising initiative, so long as it is based around the numbers 2.6 or 26. Challenges could include running 2.6 miles, cycling 26km, flipping 26 pancakes, juggling for 2.6 minutes, hosting a virtual quiz with 26 mates or many other ingenious ideas. The only rule is that participants follow government guidelines on exercise and social distancing.

The Covid-19 pandemic has had a catastrophic effect on UK charities, with many having to cancel fundraising events. Birmingham St Mary’s Hospice has seen its income significantly drop, despite seeing a huge increase in demand for its services. Not only has the Hospice had to postpone all events, community activities and corporate partnerships, it’s also had to temporarily close its 17 charity shops.

The Hospice, which cares for people with a life-limiting illness, is still providing urgent care on its Inpatient Unit and in people’s homes – including caring for patients with Covid-19. Its expert team of doctors, nurses, bereavement counsellors and more are also offering digital consultations and phone support to patients and their loved ones during the crisis.

Laura Nash, events manager at Birmingham St Mary’s Hospice, said: “Like many other UK charities, Birmingham St Mary’s has felt the effects of Covid-19. It’s heart-breaking because at a time when people desperately need our care and support, we’re losing out on vital funding and therefore, at risk of having to cut back services.

“That’s why we’re proudly joining forces with other charities to take part in the 2.6 Challenge. What’s great about this initiative is that you can do anything that works for you – the choices really are endless. You could keep it sporty and run 2.6 miles, keep it kid-friendly and tell 26 jokes, or keep it social and enjoy a 26-minute dance party with friends via Zoom – whatever you choose, please know that you will be helping people get the expert care they need during this crisis.”

The 2.6 Challenge is open to anyone of any age. All participants need to do is:

  1. Dream up your 2.6 Challenge
  2. Set up a fundraising page or make a one-off donation of £26 to the Hospice
  3. Ask friends and family to sponsor you or encourage them to do their own 2.6 Challenge
  4. Complete your challenge
  5. Share you challenge on social media using the hashtag #TwoPointSixChallenge and tagging @brumshospice

To find out more or to sign up, visit here.

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