Worldwide Cancer Research Menu

Advice from a fundraising superhero

What makes a fundraising superman?  Someone who pushes themselves to the limits, who goes all-out to raise as much money for a charity dear to their heart? Someone capable of galvanizes friends, family and everyone they meet to support them no matter what? Richard Wallace from Worldwide Cancer Research's events team, met up with Devendra Gadgil, who has just run his 15th marathon for us to find out just what does make a fundraising superhero.

Perseverance, hard work, dedication" they're all vital says Devendra.  But his main piece of advice? “Be nice. And be polite.” And it obviously works as the 71 year old has just reached his £30,000 fundraising target.

Devendra has been raising money for over 16 years, mainly around running the London Marathon, but his personal journey began when his wife was diagnosed with cancer. Prior to that, he had competed for several years in the Portsmouth half marathon with a best time of 1hr 58mins. Keen to run for a cancer charity on behalf of his wife, Devendra ran his first marathon for another cancer charity, however after finishing no one from the charity knew his name or said hello. Finding an advert for AICR (which would become Worldwide Cancer Research), Devendra signed up the following year. Fifteen years later, he is still running to raise money to support our amazing scientists and smiles every time a staff member he does not recognise gives him a cheer and calls his name on race day.

Training for a marathon is never easy and especially at 71, however Devendra has found an approach that works for him and keeps him injury free. Starting in January he runs once a week and that’s it. However, that run is 18 miles. When he starts it takes a little over five hours but he looks to bring this time down over the months leading up to the marathon. This run also takes place on a country road which Devendra knows well.  He gets a train and runs to his turnaround point. Stops at the shop for a drink and then runs back and get the train home. A somewhat unique approach, but 16 marathon finishes would argue its success.

For fundraising, Devendra utilises his active social life to get sponsors. Two jive nights, one conversational French evening and one choir night per week. His sponsorship is done the old fashioned way - paper and pen. And his sponsor sheet goes with him everywhere, just in case.

It's also a real family affair. His daughters help him with online support and promoting his Just Giving page:

Devendra admits to feeling a little guilty about approaching the same people every year, but fundraising can be sometimes as much about the man as the cause and Devendra, is certainly worthy of any money he raises.

Fundraising, like the marathon, rewards the effort that you put in. And Devendra has certainly put in the effort over the years. 'Being polite and being nice' is as much an inspiration to those around him as his sporting efforts on behalf of his late wife and Worldwide Cancer Research.


Director of Marketing and Communications at Worldwide Cancer Research

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *