A Big History of a Small Charity
Walk the Walk came into being 15 years ago when just 13 women Power Walked the New York Marathon in their bras to raise money and awareness for research into breast cancer. What started out as a once only fundraising event has blossomed into a thriving charity raising almost £75 million which is then granted to where it is felt that the money will make the most difference to the lives of cancer patients.
The charity was founded by Nina Barough who at that time had a styling and production business. Nina woke up one morning with what seemed a brilliant idea – to Power Walk the New York Marathon in decorated bras to raise money for breast cancer. What makes this story so incredible is that Nina at that time had no experience whatsoever of fundraising, or taking part in a marathon nor did she know anyone who had been affected by breast cancer.
In November 1996 the dream became a reality when 13 women took to the streets of New York in decorated bras. Although the main idea was to have fun….it resulted in raising over £25,000 for Breakthrough Breast Cancer Research. Word soon got around and people started to call Nina asking her if they could join her “next event”. Due to her work commitments it was doubtful if that would happen but then fate intervened. In January 1997, Nina not only discovered that she had breast cancer but that it was an aggressive tumor (which she had most probably had for about three years). As a result her world was thrown upside down, she had to give up her business and enter into a programme of treatment. As is often the case in these difficult times, those around her felt very helpless so it seemed that to Power Walk the London Marathon would really be a positive way to support her. The 1997 London Marathon was again a huge success for the Walkers raising in excess of another £25,000 and was closely followed by the first Walk the Walk auction of decorated and designed celebrity bras. Only days later, Nina was in hospital undergoing a mastectomy. This was followed by a course of radiotherapy, Tamoxifen and Zoladex injections.
And so The MoonWalk is born
In the spring of 1998 a Walk the Walk team entered the London Marathon for the second time but as most people know, places for this event are extremely hard to come by. Only 25 people received places but there was a further 25 who also wanted to take part. Not wanting to disappoint them or waste their fundraising and training, Nina decided to create a one off marathon for these girls. The nearest way to being part of the London Marathon would be to start at midnight and finish at seven in the morning on the day of the challenge. The 25 intrepid walkers plus friends set off at midnight and completed their marathon at 7.00 am on Sunday morning in Trafalgar Square……and so The MoonWalk was born.
It was clear by November 1998 that word was spreading and that many people wanted to Walk the Walk. Nina took the first steps to setting up the charity and finding the sponsors that would help to fund her and the rest, as they say, is history.
Since that day Walk the Walk’s flagship event The MoonWalk has become a major annual event. It is the only Power Walking marathon in the world that starts at midnight with thousands of dynamic women and men wearing bras!
Walk the Walk has since added The MoonWalk Edinburgh and The MoonWalk Iceland to its challenges and takes teams of walkers to events all over the World, including New York, Peru, Nijmegen, Paris and Berlin.
Walk the Walk steps into the future
It is hard to believe that Walk the Walk has only been an official charity for such a short time, to date it has raised almost £75 million and this has been achieved by everybody doing their bit, no matter how small or large, whether they are walking or volunteering. Together it is making a huge difference to the lives of those with breast cancer and to future health.
This year, 2012, Walk the Walk celebrates 15 years of MoonWalking and once again thousands and thousands of women and men will help Walk the Walk reach its goal.
Nina has managed to turn a simple idea into a dynamic charity which promotes a healthy and fit lifestyle and at the same time raises significant funds for research into breast cancer and to improve the care of cancer patients throughout the U.K. Nina’s passion for healthy eating and exercise has inspired many others; in fact joining Walk the Walk is often described as a life-changing event. Many women and men who have never Power Walked or been involved in any sort of fitness before are becoming ardent walkers, it’s not just about fitness or fundraising, it’s about life!
Walk the Walk’s motto is to Raise money, Raise awareness, get fit and have fun! The future is looking very bright for Walk the Walk so watch this space!