Fundraising idea is fit for purpose

Published on: 04 Aug 2014


Karen Coles, 45, came up with the idea of a Zumba fundraiser for Cancer Research UK A MUM who survived cancer has discovered a brilliant way to raise money for charity and keep fit and healthy at the same time.

Karen Coles, 45, came up with the idea of a Zumba fundraiser for Cancer Research UK and managed to raise hundreds of pounds in just an hour.

Karen and her 13-year-old daughter Grace enlisted the help of their weekly Zumba teacher and spread the word among family and friends.

She said: “Grace and I do Zumba every week so we asked our teacher, Debbie Griffin, if she wouldn’t mind giving up an hour of her time. We got together our family and friends and paid as we normally would do for a class. Everything collected went to Cancer Research.”

Each adult paid £5 with children paying £2.50, however most people were happy to donate more for such a good cause.

Karen’s twin sister, Julie Robinson, who was among the group, managed to top up the total raised by a further £200 thanks to the generosity of her employer Rolls Royce.

The event, which took place at Blackhorse School, resulted in an impressive £500 for the charity - and lots of happy ladies who felt they had had a fun work-out.

Karen, who lives in Bromley Heath with husband Ian, Grace and nine-year-old son Mikey, has been a regular supporter of Cancer Research UK since the 1990s, regularly taking part in the charity’s annual Race for Life, the largest women-only fundrasising event in the UK.

“I was diagnosed with cervical cancer in 2007 and within four weeks I had major surgery,” she said. 

“That was the only year I missed the Race for Life but apart from that I had taken part for 15 years. But this year Grace and I decided to do something different and asked Debbie to hold a Zumba class. We thought by doing that we would raise more money - which we did! We probably raised double the amount we would have got in sponsorship.”

Karen underwent regular checks following her operation and, after five years, was given the all-clear.

“I was given a very good prognosis immediately at diagnosis, “ said Karen, a legal secretary.

“They said if I had major surgery - a radical hysterectomy - they would be 95 per cent sure that they would be able to get rid of all the cancer.”

After Karen’s diagnosis Grace was adamant she would join her mum every year at the Race for Life to help further boost the charity’s coffers.

But Karen found people were more keen to sponsor young Grace than herself which was one of the reasons she looked at other ways to raise money.

Karen is such a keen fundraiser having raised thousands over the years for Cancer Research, she has been invited to tour their research labs to find out where the money donated actually goes.

“I’ve seen the scientists at work; it’s brilliant. Hopefully we will get a cure. It’s an absolutely fantastic cause,” she said.

Although the charity Zumba class involved just family and friends, Karen hopes to hold further Zumba charity events open to everyone.

“We’re hoping to do it every year and raise more and more,” she said.

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