Successful fundraising stories

Be inspired by the community who have chosen to fundraise for University research.


Gung- H0

University of Birmingham colleagues Emily Nash, Claire Palmer, Bec Vowles, Heather Owen and Jo Lafferty all successfully completed the Gung-Ho event on a very cold, early May day. This included 'undignified and ungracefully' running and jumping on and around the 5K inflatable obstacle course in Birmingham!

Heather says: "Despite the cold and rain, the Gung Ho Challenge was a great opportunity to get together outside of work and have a good laugh. More importantly, it allowed us to raise money for inspirational research that is changing the lives of individuals and couples suffering from miscarriage." The team broke their fundraising target and managed to raise a very admirable £517.15 for miscarriage research at the University of Birmingham. 

Some of the team have friends who have been devastated by miscarriage and hope that their fundraising will help research to better prevent multiple miscarriages and improve care and support for couples going through incredibly though times.

Acknowledging the project's importance, Heather adds: "To date, miscarriage is considered a sensitive issue and receives little public attention or discussion, leaving many who are affected feeling helpless or alone.

"Birmingham’s unique and holistic research into miscarriage, through a range of projects from bespoke counselling services to developing new medical tests to better predict the possibility of miscarriage, aims to address this helplessness and give individuals and couples hope."

As you can see, the cause is a greatly deserving one and researchers hugely appreciate all the hard work that went into this fundraising.    


Throughout the 2016/2017 academic year, Starbucks customers have kindly donated a total of £95 that will be greatly welcomed by the University's childhood cancer research project. A donation box was placed in the Starbucks in Muirhead tower, and coffee and tea drinkers alike generously donated towards this worthy cause. Donations have gone towards helping to develop new treatments for blood cancers in children, by exploring why the body's immune system switches off as a result of cancer cells, and how this could be prevented.    

48 hour challenge

The 48 hours challenge was a two day event between the University of Birmingham and the University of Nottingham, in a competition to raise the most money for Childhood Cancer Research. The weekend involved workshops in fundraising, networking, and challenges in teams, all going towards developing skills and attributes that are vital in the fundraising sector. 

Our students were placed into a group of six and competed against a team from Nottingham. They were challenged to raise as much money as possible in a week in May. Throughout their fundraising, the Birmingham students organised and ran a zumbathon, sold krispy kremes and held and an open mic night all in aid of the challenge.

They were fundraising for a vital research project that is examining the link between childhood cancers and the immune system. Dr. Frank Mussai is the leading researcher for the project, and is focusing on attempting to understand why the body's immune system shuts down when cancer cells are present, and what can be done in an attempt to stop this from happening. If successful, there is the possibility that the body's immune system could fight the cancer cells itself. 

To date, the Birmingham team have raised an incredible £1,022.77 for childhood cancer research - a huge well done to all participants!

Charity Gala

On 4 February, Gemma Lander organised 'An event of Wishes' at The Grand Hall in Bedford. The evening was a charity gala, that was run by Gemma after a colleague of hers was diagnosed with a rare form of bowel cancer and was devastatingly told that there was no cure.

More than 95 people attended the event, which raised money for both 'The Wedding Wishing Well Foundation', and the University's Cancer research. Gemma says: "I cannot imagine facing a cancer that very little is known about and being told there is no treatment available," and strongly believes that "Everyone should have the opportunity [to] be surrounded by all those they love and to be a prince/princess for the day," hence her dedication towards the two charities.

The evening raised a total amount of £1860, which was then split 50/50 between the two charitable areas, meaning that £930 was generously donated to the University to help towards identifying the immune system's response to the cancer.

Mollie White

Mollie White, 64 years old, is a chartered accountant who has worked for the last 42 years for a large farming concern on the Warwickshire/Leicestershire border. In March 2014, Mollie was diagnosed with breast cancer. Fortunately, it was a small tumour that was easily removed by a lumpectomy and after a session of radiotherapy, Mollie was fit and well again.

As a result of receiving treatment, Mollie ended up with a lot of time on her hands and wanted to occupy her time with something worthwhile. At the same time, two of the young men working on the same farm had been taking wildlife photographs, mainly of the birdlife, as a hobby. Mollie was astounded at the quality of the photographs and asked if they minded if she used some of them to make a calendar.

Mollie wrote to suppliers and professional people that the farm uses to see if they would sponsor a page of each calendar, stating all the proceeds would go to charity. Money began to roll in and before long, Mollie had enough to print 600 calendars!

Mollie said: “I wanted most of the money to go to cancer related charities. My husband Paul, who is an alumni of the University, had previously donated to cancer research there, and we felt that by giving to research at the source we were sure of our money going directly to the area we wanted. We decided to give 25% of the money raised to Professor Ben Wilcox’s immunotherapy research. We felt that this area of research is on the cusp of something really big and we would like to help it along.”

In the end, Mollie managed to sell 530 calendars and raised an astonishing grand total of £5300 for charity.

Mollie White Ben Willcox Cancer Immunology

Stephen Chand

International Recruitment Administrator, Stephen Chand first began fundraising for charity following the Japanese earthquake in 2011, which affected his family a great deal and he wanted to help. A number of successful bake sales within the University’s International Relations and Student Recruitment teams allowed Stephen to provide his support.

Following this success, he decided to fundraise for the Circles of Influence campaign and has raised more than £1,000 for the University’s life-changing research into Burkitt’s lymphoma, cancer and autism from the External Relations Coffee Morning Bake Sales.

‘We have three External Relations meet ups a year where staff from across all sections can come and meet each other and ask questions to the senior team. We had the idea that this would be the perfect opportunity to showcase some of the research that we do and at the same time raise some money,’ Stephen explains.

‘We have a number of budding Mary Berrys and so the standard of baking is always very high and we always invite a guest speaker from the research team we are fundraising for to come in and talk a little about their work. This gives everyone an idea of what their money is going towards and we are delighted to be able to fundraise for such worth causes, whether it be contributing for new equipment in cancer research or paying for expensive tests to diagnose autism in children.

‘We now have a tight knit group of bakers who contribute regularly but I am always amazed by how many colleagues want to help and contribute. The work that the University is doing is exciting and extremely important, helping to save lives. By raising money for research at Birmingham, you can see quite clearly where the money is going and what you are contributing to.’