Running for Skye – how your money makes a difference

Ben Fraser

Fundraising and running go hand in hand. Since 2007, the number of fundraising events has increased by 700% and participant numbers have doubled. Of these, running events remain the most popular kind of event, accounting for 77% of all event fundraising pages [on Just Giving].


Running for Skye, held every Valentine’s, is a small molecular part of this national and international boom. The fun run began in 2015 in aid of the young tot Skye Sutcliffe and has continued in her memory to this day. The event has attracted over 600 people to run a challenging 5k, while raising over £7,500 for the charities Delete Blood Cancer and Candlelighters.


The power of this fundraising was never lost on Skye’s nana – Amelia – who reflected:


Without charities like Delete Blood Cancer who promote bone marrow transplant, we would’ve lost Skye in a matter of weeks if not months. The transplant she had, gave us 2 more years with Skye.


Candlelighters, the Leeds based children’s cancer charity, have been the main beneficiary of this fundraising in the past couple of years, after they became a support mechanism for the Skye and her family, in her most pressing time of need.


To find out more about the work they do I’ve popped in to ‘The Square’ to speak to Chloe Marsh, a community fundraiser for Candlelighters.


On average every year over 150 children are diagnosed with cancer in Yorkshire.


We don’t just have 150 [child cancer patients] each year though – with Leukaemia a typical treatment for a girl lasts 2 years and a boy 3 years – so it does build up.




At Candlelighters, we support families facing children’s cancer in Yorkshire. We get involved in all sorts of different projects to help ordinary families who are facing extraordinary circumstances.


The key here is the projects are led by the families that benefit from them. This is done through constant consultation with the very people that use the services.


Candlelighters funds family support and research. It can be financial grants – we pay for families with children on treatment to go on holiday. It can be funding a social worker. It can be funding a play worker, or even for the Candlelighters Bus.


The wide array of services have been growing since the charity formed in the 1970’s. The most recent additions include a jazzy mobile outreach bus  and The Square – a new relaxing environment where ‘families can unwind and unburden themselves’. In 2015, half a million pounds was put into laboratory research.


The key to the sustainability of providing a consistent service is simple…


We don’t want to lose any services we are already providing – that’s a priority! Last year we launched the Candlelighters Bus and we couldn’t have done that without having more money coming in.


At The Square alone, since it opened in 2015 we have had roughly 184 different families and over 5,000 general visits.


Candlelighters are committed to tackling children’s cancer and its fallout; Families are usually lost within the turmoil of this.


We want families to feel comfortable coming here. A really comfortable environment where they feel they can talk to people and get the support they need.


A charity like Candlelighters represents a blessing to those children and families thrust into extraordinary circumstances. The charity takes care of some of the ‘little things’ that the National Health Service simply cannot.


Typically, a participant at Running for Skye will pay for an event place, a raffle ticket and maybe a slice of cake after the run – this all amounts to no more than a tenner!


If we didn’t have people raising money for us in the community. Whether that was their own event or taking part. We wouldn’t be here because we wouldn’t have the money.


Aside from the fundraising there are also impacts that money can’t buy: raised awareness, collective consciousness (around pressing issues) with an overall greater level of community connectedness.


Events like Running for Skye are so important because not only are they raising money for us but they are spreading awareness of us. They have got their entire community involved, including those that may not have heard of us.


And because of this, youngsters and adults from Middleton to Leeds and across Yorkshire are in a better position for it!


If you’d like to fundraise for Candlelighters, including snapping up one of the few remaining Run For All summer race entries, please contact:


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