The CEO of The Health Lottery tells us how her fundraising efforts led to a career shift
As a child, I was never a brilliant fundraiser. Getting sponsorship in the 80s was a tedious process which involved cold calling neighbours – not much fun for a slightly shy, gawky teen.
It wasn’t until my mother died of breast cancer in 2008 that I began fundraising in earnest, as a means of getting through my grief. At the time, I was deputy editor of new! magazine. Our marathon-running art director inspired me to do the Moonwalk to raise money for breast cancer charities.
After my father died from pneumonia in 2013, I decided to run the London Marathon for the British Lung Foundation.
The following year, I did the Paris and London Marathons to support an anti-domestic violence campaign we’d launched in the magazine under my then-editorship. We were reaching half a million readers a week, many of whom had experienced an abusive relationship or knew someone who had. I felt we were making a difference.
After being made redundant in 2018, I began working as a freelance journalist, but found I missed being part of a team. I returned to my university sport of rowing and met some inspirational women who’d rowed the Atlantic.
It felt like fate when a dropout led to a friend asking me to join “The Mothership” team for the 2021 Talisker Whisky Atlantic Challenge. We rowed from La Gomera to Antigua in 40 days and raised £70,000 for the Felix Fund, Women in Sport and Noah’s Ark Children’s Hospice.
Afterwards, returning to journalism felt a little hollow. I wanted to be part of something more meaningful. So when the former owner of new! magazine called to tell me about the role of CEO of The Health Lottery, I jumped at the chance to apply.
Now, just over eight months after I joined, we have relaunched the brand and I’ve put my journalism background to good use to make sure we’re telling the story that with every ticket sold, we are helping to fight health inequality around Great Britain. At The Health Lottery, we support community projects that can otherwise get overlooked. It’s a real motivation to know the better we are at our job, the more we make a difference.