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29 Jul 2020

Anne celebrates 70th birthday with a half marathon for SANE

Even though lockdown rules are currently easing, COVID 19 has had an enormous impact on all of us, with our ability to stay mentally well being challenged throughout. For those affected by mental illness, the consequences could be devastating.

The demand for our services has increased exponentially during this difficult time and our volunteers and mental health professionals continue to do their best to accommodate the need for help. 

We are extremely fortunate to have the support of incredible fundraisers who help us keep our frontline services running. We would like to feature in this article our latest Star Fundraiser, Anne de Silva, who celebrated her 70th birthday by running a half marathon and raising £1,934 to help people with mental illness.

Why Anne is supporting SANE

We asked Anne what prompted her to celebrate her birthday by raising awareness of mental health. “At the end of last year I was diagnosed with moderate to severe depression. I began medication and taking CBT sessions. During this period I ‘uncovered’ so many stories from family members and friends about their own struggles with mental health issues which made me realise how expert help and support is so important.”


Everyone at SANE feels very privileged to have Anne’s support. When we asked Anne why she chose to support the charity’s beneficiaries she told us: “After my diagnosis I spent time finding out more about depression. SANE’s online information was very helpful. Taking that together with how many people I know with mental health concerns, I decided to focus my running on a specific event and link that with raising funds for SANE.”

Many seasoned runners such as Scott Douglas have documented how running can play a positive influence in reducing stress and anxiety. Our inspirational fundraiser Anne, reached the same conclusion. “I began running to help myself – the benefits of exercise outdoors are well documented – but this grew to be about helping others with mental health issues – to increase awareness of the need and to demonstrate that age is no barrier to running.”

Once Anne made up her mind this is what she did: “I began running at the beginning of the year, but started training in earnest from the end of March. I was running 4 times a week increasing the weekly total miles from 25 to 40 by 2 July.”

It’s rare to see such a creative way to celebrate one’s birthday and Anne has absolutely blown our minds away with her choice. So we asked her what had been her experience during the run.

“I was lucky with the weather. At the outset it was overcast with a light breeze, making running more ‘comfortable’. I had wonderful support from my husband who followed my every step on his cycle – carrying water and Jelly Babies! I ran at a steady pace and finished well. There were so many family, friends and neighbours cheering and applauding me as I crossed the line… it was exhilarating! What a day!!”

Anne’s fundraising will help to fund our team of mental health professionals who have made hundreds of calls and offered thousands of hours of therapy.

We would like to congratulate Anne on her new milestone and wish her a belated 70th birthday!

Have you thought of challenging yourself on one of our events and helping people who struggle with their mental health? Here’s your chance, take a look at some of our Challenge Events now!

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