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The Stormtrooper Powering Wishes One Step at a Time
A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away..... an Oxfordshire man decided to run 1,000 miles dressed as a Stormtrooper to raise money for children’s charities Make-A-Wish® UK and Spread A Smile.
Jez Allinson, a Squadron Leader in the RAF and a Star Wars fanatic, first donned his cumbersome Stormtrooper outfit for charity between 2016 and 2018. He had said “definitely no more” until adverts and stories persuaded him to accept another challenge.
The ‘Stormtrooper 2020 Challenge’ was born and is the longest and toughest challenge Jez has set himself to date.
He will rack up the miles through independent runs near his home and whilst on deployment in Afghanistan, along with public challenge events including the Reading Half Marathon, the London Marathon, and some treadmill runs in public places like shopping centres - when this is possible.
Jez said: “I’m excited about the Stormtrooper 2020 challenge and enjoying it but a bit nervous about the distance. My friends remind me about the time I ran 100k and how broken I was, so they’re a bit concerned that I’ve bitten off more than I can chew.
“At the end of my last challenge in 2018, I could only recall the good things about it, so when it came round to running the first 10 miles of my Stormtrooper 2020 challenge, I was like ‘oh, I forgot about that’. It then dawned on me how hard this would be.”
As well as the mental challenge that lies ahead, Jez’s Stormtrooper costume, which weighs almost a stone, gives him limited mobility and vision. It’s also fragile and is showing signs of wear.
Jez explained: “The helmet has very small lenses, so it’s like looking through two toilet roll tubes. I have no peripheral vision and I can’t tilt my head down as my helmet doesn’t rotate down into my neck, so I can’t see my feet. So when I’m running along and I see a hazard, stone or puddle, I lose sight of it with about a metre to go, so I have to judge where the hazards are.”
Passers-by often do a double-take when they see him running and some have taken videos of him which went viral twice in the space of two weeks, with one appearing on LadBible.
Jez has already raised an incredible £37,500 for charities including £29,195 for Make-A-Wish. He had hoped to bring the total raised as the Stormtrooper to £100,000. However, the coronavirus has presented another challenge.
He said: ““n a time of increased global troubles and concern, I try to bring some smiles and inspiration to all who see me running. COVID-19 has changed everything, and charity fundraising is now more difficult but more important. Getting past the £50,000 mark for the entire project is now my number one target. That means £12,500 this year in the Stormtrooper 2020 challenge. I hope that I’ll smash that, but I must be realistic.
“Your sponsorship would mean the world to me and the charities I represent.”
You can support Jez’s Stormtrooper 2020 Challenge and help him reach his target here.
Every day, the lives of 15 families in the UK are changed forever when their child is diagnosed with a critical illness. Medical appointments become the utmost priority, with the joy and innocence of childhood taking a backseat. Research shows a wish is something positive for the whole family to look forward to; it can broaden horizons, build psychological resources, improve health and provide the chance to be a child first and a patient second.
A wish provides the opportunity for a child to choose and plan a special experience when so much else is dictated to them by medical treatment. It’s something positive to look forward to and the chance to be a child first and a patient second. To find out more about the impact of wishes or how you can help, visit make-a-wish.org.uk or follow the charity on social media @makeawishuk
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