500,000cm, 5000m, 5km, 15 minutes (if you were the race winner!) or 20-25 minutes (for the rest of us). Whichever way you look at it, neither a great distance nor a great amount of time, but sometimes the magnitude of an event outweighs the simple numbers.
Many people will not know that Great Ormond Street Hospital receives the royalties to JM Barrie’s classic Peter Pan; or, the Boy who Wouldn’t Grow Up – after the author handed over the copyright himself to the hospital. Over 80 years later those royalties still provide significant income to the hospital. But funding is still imperative as Great Ormond Street in partnership with University College London are the biggest researchers into Child Health outside of North America. Over the years Great Ormond Street has provided care and hope to countless children giving them a chance to lead a full life. This is not Peter Pan having the choice to not grow up this is giving a child the chance to grow up.
So the RBC Race for the Kids may appear to be a simple thing, but it goes beyond just helping support the children currently being looked after by Great Ormond Street, it will also help safeguard and protect thousands of children in the future and their families from the trauma of illness and uncertainty.
Great Ormond Street has to raise £50m every year to maintain the extraordinary level of care they provide – including redevelopment, research and patient care. The RBC Race for the Kids raised over £500,000, a pound for each centimetre of the course, covered by the 4000 willing racers. Numbers do little justice…
It is somehow fitting that in this economic recession a bank should sponsor such an event and RBC should be applauded for the sheer weight of their employees that ran. This is not about CSR but showing children that companies and banks can act in the interests of society and teach lessons to children about the importance of competition, charity and good will. For many the race was simply about fundraising; for some, such as eventual winner Matt Gunby, a former GB triathlete, it was also about healthy competition – racing and winning but with a worthwhile cause at the root. It is an ethos that both RBC and add-victor( a company dedicated to helping ex athletes and armed forces officers secure roles in business), whose team Matt was running with, believe to be important – essentially striving to be the best but by doing things the right way.
Hopefully that message can be spread and fostered and embraced by the children of today. As much as we need to give children a chance to live full lives we also need to ensure that the societies and environments they will live in are also looked after.
Great Ormond Street Hospital are looking after our children now and for the future ensuring that every child has a chance to lead a full life in a decent world.