Breast Cancer Now supporter Graham Burns tells us why he's so passionate about fundraising for breast cancer research and talks about his unique approach to the London Marathon - singing karaoke around the course!

Friday 22 April 2016      Challenge events blog
Graham Burns

Several of my family and friends have been affected by breast cancer and because I am a scientist by training, it was important to me that I support a charity funding vital research into breast cancer.

Over the past three years I have taken part in the London Marathon and the Great North Run each year, singing karaoke all the way around both courses. I have a portable karaoke machine strapped to my waist and the unusual nature of the challenge has led to numerous media appearances, including interviews by Denise Lewis and Colin Jackson, as well as an ITV Daybreak appearance. This is all good publicity for Breast Cancer Now and has helped raise £25,000 over the past two years.

Sing when you're running

The runner and spectator participation is fantastic and I often get donations from people who might only have heard a few lines of a song as I run past. That is very touching and is very much appreciated.

During the Great North Run I often end up with a "choir" of people who run the last few miles of this half marathon singing and running with me. People tend not to feel like singing near the end of the London Marathon, but I get lots spectator participation at the end and runner participation on the earlier parts of the course.

All together now

Karaoke nights always go down well of course, but my biggest fundraising event is an auction of promises and dinner. Friends promise things like light aircraft flights to portraits and painting, to cake decorating and baking for special occasions, and much, much more. Everyone is very generous and that kind of event can raise over £4,000 by itself, even before individual donations come in.

Why it’s so important to fundraise

There are such big breakthroughs being made and we need to keep the momentum going to reach the goal of nobody dying from breast cancer by 2050. I think this goal is achievable and I am determined to play my part. A little bit of running, singing and fundraising is the least I can do.


Get involved

Donate to Graham's Virgin Money Giving page

Inspired by Graham's story? Apply for a charity place for the 2017 Virgin London Marathon