Race for Life 2013

written by Guest Angel

It’s not often that our blogs make us emotional, but when we asked Angel Johanna to write about her experience working as a Brand Ambassador at various Race for Lifes around the country this summer, we knew that it was going to be powerful.

It was a huge honour to work with such a great cause. As the event is extremely emotional for many of it’s competitors, our Angels needed to be energetic, warm, empathetic and fantastic listeners. We’ll let the piece speak for itself.


Written by Johanna

I was offered to hop on board with probably the most challenging Hel’s Angels job this summer. Cancer Research UK has been organising Race for Life events nearly twenty years now, raising money to find cures to all 200 different types of cancer as well as to raise awareness especially of women’s cancers. As someone who lost her mum to both breast and ovarian cancer last year, I did not think twice to take this opportunity. Needless to say it was harder than I could have ever imagined.

The real emotional challenge began at the client’s office when we were given the cold statistics and shown this year’s campaign video. However, after few tears and a comforting pain au chocolate there was something bittersweet about realising how this terrible disease connects us all, how so many of us are directly or indirectly affected by it and, as a cliché as it sounds, none of us need to face it alone. And this was exactly my discovery ‘on the field’ from my first Race for Life event in Tatton Park onwards.

The job itself was wonderful! We had a retro photo booth set up for participants to get a little photo souvenir from the event, a massive message board where the participants could pin post-it notes to their loved ones with their photo attached and a tablet to encourage people to sign up for next year’s Race for Life events.

It was heart breaking reading the messages on the backs of participants’ t-shirts; how small children were racing for their parents accompanied by their aunties and uncles; how the only daughter in the family was running for her parents, grandparents and brothers; how a group of 50+ women were walking for their husbands… I think all of our staff needed a little moment for themselves at some point; there was at least one of the three of us in every event who had lost a friend or a relative to cancer.

But then again there was the real flip side to it that I found very empowering: I spoke to a lady who had battled with cancer for 20 years and she was going strong! There was another lady who had beaten FIVE different types of cancer and, according, to her own words she was ready to kill five more if needed. There was little Oliver, 6 years old, who had been ill for four long years of his six years on this planet and he’d got the all clear on Friday, two days before the race. His parents had signed up and he joined them to celebrate. The amount of support, oneness and love in these events was overwhelming!

All in all our lovely summer Sundays were full of laughter, hugs, tears, encouragement and empathy and to be honest with you, on a personal level these events nudged me that little bit forward that I felt was really needed.

Johanna at Race for Life for Hel's Angels