The National Health Service turns 70 on 5th July 2018 and there have been events up and down the country to celebrate the birthday of one of the nation’s best loved institutions. One particular group of health professionals, from Lewisham and Greenwich NHS Trust (LGT), have been working hard to honour the achievements of the NHS and its extraordinary staff by hosting a number of running events to raise money for their local Trust.
Key to the campaign and leader of Team LGT, the staff running group, is Jo Gennari, herself a keen runner and founder of the hospital’s running club. Jo is General Manager in the Division of Acute and Emergency Medicine and she set up the beginner’s run club at Lewisham last year to encourage hospital staff to look after their own wellbeing as well as that of others.
The running club currently has doctors, nurses, healthcare assistants, managers, radiographers, technical staff, administrators, therapists and midwives enrolled, all taking a positive step towards a fitter, healthier lifestyle through their running with Jo.
A big incentive of Team LGT is to raise money for Lewisham and Greenwich NHS Trust Charitable Fund, which supports the hospitals within the Trust. Funds raised are used to purchase additional equipment and enhance the environment within the hospitals for patients, staff and visitors. Some 120 staff attended The Vitality Big Half in March this year, raising over £2,000 for key projects in the Trust.
Next up is a special NHS Trackathon at Ladywell Arena, on Tuesday 17th July from 8am-8pm, to raise money for the charitable funds of Lewisham and Greenwich NHS Trust and give #TeamLGT an opportunity to take part in the NHS 70th anniversary celebrations. The aim is for people representing the Trust to be on the track over the course of the 12 hours, whether they want to run 10 laps or walk one. Colleagues, family and even patients are being invited to take part and pledge laps, and Team LGT will be there throughout to help and support as they attempt to hit their 70-mile target.
Renowned motivational and mental performance coach Andrew Cohen Wray will also be spending some time at the Trackathon. A talented runner himself, Andrew works on coaching both the physical and mental aspects of sport and helps people of all abilities to improve their performance.
Andrew comments, “I’m really looking forward to being a part of Trackathon as it’s a wonderful way for people connected to the Trust to celebrate the NHS at 70. Like most people, I have been grateful to the NHS and the fantastic work it does. Having suffered a stroke, and in dealing with PTSD, I feel a great connection to NHS staff and I’m thrilled to now be an honorary member of TeamLGT. I hope that by sharing my story I can motivate them to carry on achieving more and more success.”
Jo Gennari, leader of Team LGT, adds: “A re-occurring theme in the beginners group, and within Team LGT generally, is people feeling self-conscious or worried they won’t achieve their goals. It’s a wonderful feeling watching them go on and not only hit their targets but go further and be stronger than they ever thought possible. We want our team to, above all else, be happy and enjoy their running. We’re sure Andrew can help us to reinforce those feelings and show us some invaluable training techniques. We’d love to see everyone down at Trackathon – it really will be a day to celebrate all the different services within the NHS. All abilities are welcome and we value every lap people can walk or run!”
Also on the horizon this summer is a Virtual Run raising funds for NHS Charities Together. The run will entail people running ‘7 for 70’ – 7km or 7 miles, depending on their ability, and funds raised will be shared between all the hospitals involved in the NHS70 celebrations.
Jo has certainly achieved huge amounts and inspired hundreds of people on her journey from being a single mum learning how to run to setting up Team LGT and helping to raise valuable funds for a Trust she truly believes in. “If I can do it, anyone can!” she states, “which is probably why I really relate to the beginner’s running group and can help them believe that anything is possible. I absolutely love what I do and the running club has enabled me to meet staff across the Trust who I would never normally meet. Running is a perfect way to bring people together and when you have a common cause such as our charitable trust, it’s even more worthwhile.”
As for what’s in store for the future, look out for Team LGT at The Running Festival at Goodwood on Sunday 14th October 2018. They are looking forward to bringing as many staff as possible to run the Half Marathon, 10K and Family Lap races at this exciting new event at historic Goodwood. As always, they will be kitted out in their team t-shirts and raising both funds and awareness for their very special cause.
Anyone wishing to sponsor and donate for Lewisham and Greenwich Trust Charitable Funds can do so at www.justgiving.com/fundraising/team-lgt.
To pledge laps or find out more about the Trackathon on 13th July, email Jo at email@example.com.
You can also follow Team LGT on Twitter @TeamLGT.