British readers may have heard the sad news of Claire Squires, who collapsed and died on the final bend of last weekend’s London Marathon. She was running for two reasons - publicly, to raise money for the Samaritans, her favourite charity; and personally, in memory of her brother, who died 10 years ago under tragic circumstances.
While I will not cast myself as a very close relative, Claire was still my cousin, and it is impossible to put into words the kind of pain that this side of my family has gone through.
These events, now a headline story in the national British media, have led to something unexpected and positive. Claire’s charity fundraising attempts have multiplied, and her JustGiving page total (at the time of writing) sits at just over £750,000.
But Claire will be remembered for the inspiration that she has now become to a huge number of people. She was an individual, someone just like you and me, acting with selflessness and dedication in the hope of changing a few lives for the better.
She has reminded us that we all, in whatever small way, have the chance to make our own such contribution to the world. And — more poignantly — that none of us knows when the chance might pass.
The family hopes that Claire’s fundraising total will reach £1 million. Please make a donation here, no matter how small.