A cancer diagnosis is a terrifying prospect for any child and their family. Find out how our staff member Giovanni Odaglia is supporting Children with Cancer UK; and how you can help him and his fundraising campaign!
“I’ve always wanted to try and help others.”
That’s how Les Roches Crans-Montana alumnus, and staff member, Giovanni Odaglia began our conversation.
Giovanni believes he should support others in his own way and provide something that could make a difference. Each year, with his wife, fellow alumna and staff member, Christina Seow, they provide funds to various charities, and support children every month with the hope of making their lives a little better.
Additionally, Giovanni tries to achieve a yearly accomplishment by running marathons and triathlons to raise money to donate to different charities. It is undeniable that such an initiative can change lives, raise awareness and give you a great deal of motivation to do something extraordinary for an honorable cause.
“Every time I can, I try to do the job of raising funds and then bring them to the charities. And that is how usually, once or twice a year, I select the charity organizations, through sports, because it sometimes is a bit easier to at least provide a tangible result to those who donate or to give a reason to that.” – Giovanni Odaglia
In 2019, he traveled to Thailand and ran an Ironman 70.3 triathlon to support Swiss cancer research charity CANSEARCH. Then last year, the alumnus decided to support Red Cross Italy in response to the pandemic affecting the whole world; and was very happy about the fundraising campaign’s success! And now, in 2021, Giovanni wishes to focus, once again, on cancer research; and more specifically children who suffer from it.
“I recently became a father, and it’s like life hits you at that moment.”
Running a marathon for Children with Cancer UK
When it comes to charities, there are two main ways of offering your contribution: you can either become a sponsor and provide a sum of money, or you can choose to help collect the funds. For Giovanni, there were no doubts that he wanted to run for a good cause and raise money.
“I asked myself what can we do for 2021? And I’ve always wanted to be part of an important event like the London Marathon.”
That’s when the adventure started! When someone wishes to run the Virgin Money London Marathon, they are either invited to earn a place via results, to find a sponsor or to enter the ballot hoping their name will be picked. The latter was the option Giovanni wanted to go for until he noticed the list of charity organizations that he could earn a sponsored place with; and he saw that Children with Cancer UK was one of them.
“When I was living in Scotland, I heard a lot about Children with Cancer UK. They do a fantastic job and have run many great initiatives. They are very transparent: they tell you how the money for each and every pound donated to them will be allocated and in which form.”
After the alumnus had provided his information, Children with Cancer UK reached out to him as they saw he shared similar views and interests. After a more in-depth discussion to learn about his reasons behind his will to run for them at the London Marathon, they offered him a spot on their team.
A worldwide team accomplishment
Being sponsored by Children with Cancer UK also means running hand-in-hand with people from all over the world; people with very different backgrounds, but who share one common motivation: support those in need!
“Everybody has a different reason to run for Children with Cancer UK. There are people like me that come from a sports background, who have already run marathons and constantly train. However, there are other people who, sadly, have got a child who is affected by cancer and so they run marathons on their behalf.”
To support their sponsored athletes and to ensure everyone on the team is given the same opportunities to train and get prepared, Children with Cancer UK provides a nutritionist, a trainer and a professional athlete as mentor. Let’s not forget that to run a marathon is both a significant physical and mental effort!
The team, which counts over 1,000 members worldwide, also catches up online regularly and gets to follow the evolution of their training on their dedicated app. Of course, as the event comes closer, they will meet more and more often to make sure everybody is ready for the big day and to make the most of it.
An exciting 2021 edition!
Every year, over 40,000 athletes decide to take on the challenge of running the London Marathon to either reach a personal objective, to collect funds for charities, or simply have fun and enjoy a great and unique moment.
In 2020, 37,966 runners took part in the first virtual Virgin Money London Marathon, achieving the Guinness World Record for the most users to run a remote marathon in 24 hours!
Will the 2021 edition beat the record? Let’s wait until October 3rd to find out!
The support behind every athlete
Running a marathon for a charity is, without a doubt, a true collective effort. From the charity itself and the team you decide to run with, to the support you need from your family and the company you work for, it is a combination of people who are here to back you up! And that is most definitely the case for Giovanni.
“It’s kind of a lifestyle. Nobody thinks about it, but at the end of the day, everybody can run something like this. You need support, though. I leave at 05:00 in the morning and come back and my wife is kind enough to have cooked lunch. Or that Les Roches allows me to take the extra day off so I can train. There are a lot of things happening behind us that are sometimes underestimated. But now, as a family, we think about it and we are extremely thankful to have the support because, otherwise, we would not be able to achieve all of this and what I hope to achieve in the future.”
Help Giovanni and Children with Cancer UK
Today, Giovanni and his Children with Cancer UK team are looking to raise a minimum of £2,500 (€2,900) – and this is your opportunity to contribute to a great initiative and help make a difference!
If you wish to support children who suffer from cancer, visit this page.
- Read more about Giovanni’s sporting exploits, including a grueling Ironman Triathlon that pushed him to his physical limits.