Melanie’s Story: Running the London Marathon for my brother


Melanie taking part in the Hampton Court half marathon to raise funds for Back Up

Melanie, 25, is a physiotherapist working at a private hospital and a rugby club. In April of this year, she will be taking on what she calls one of her “bucket list” challenges – running in the London Marathon for Back Up.

In 2012, Melanie’s older brother Ollie was in training for the parachute regiment at the Royal Academy of Sandhurst. While on weekend leave, he was involved in a motorcycle collision with a Land Rover. The accident resulted in him breaking over 40 bones, and he sustained a complete spinal cord injury which left him paralysed from the chest down. 

Ollie met Back Up while he was undergoing his rehabilitation at the National Spinal Injuries Centre, Stoke Mandeville. Here Ollie was able to take advantage of our services, learning the essential wheelchair skills needed to get around independently after his injury.  He was also paired up with one of our volunteer mentors, which gave him a point of contact he could speak to.

“In the early days, Back Up helped Ollie realise there was a life after spinal cord injury.”

Melanie celebrating Christmas with her brother Ollie

Ollie’s sudden injury was not just devastating for him – his injury also affected his whole family. Melanie and her mother reached out to Back Up for support, and they were put in touch with the family mentoring team. They were able to talk to trained mentors who had been in similar situations themselves.

“Our mum was able to talk to a mother of someone with a spinal cord injury, and I was able to speak to another sister. It was really useful to talk to someone about my feelings. I was struggling with guilt about still being able to go out with ease and my mentor really helped me cope with that.”

The family wanted to support the services that had made a massive difference to their lives. Melanie decided that running the London Marathon for Back Up would be the perfect way to raise funds.

“I saw how much Back Up helped Ollie after his injury. Since the charity relies entirely on donations, I wanted to give something back, and help other people get support. I also wanted to raise awareness of spinal cord injury and show everyone the amazing work Back Up does.” 


Melanie hasn’t been alone in her fundraising efforts. The whole family has come together to help with the challenge. They’ve been advertising her marathon efforts on social media, and they’ll be there on the big day to support her. Melanie’s family are also running their own event to help raise funds.

“We’re organising a horse racing evening as a family to get our local community behind the challenge. It’ll be a ticketed event with all funds from sales and bets going towards my fundraising efforts.

“My family have been so supportive. We’ve all come together to help a charity that means a lot to us.”

Melanie, wearing a Back Up vest, posing with her medal after the Hampton Court half marathon

Melanie after completing the Hampton Court half marathon for Back Up

When we asked Melanie for her top money raising tips, she recommended getting in touch with our fundraising team.

“Back Up can help you get started, from giving you event ideas to helping you update your fundraising pages. They can also provide you with money boxes, banners, and t shirts.”

Melanie is currently training hard and is looking forward to tackling the big day in April. Her fundraising efforts will greatly support our vital services So far, she has raised over £1,000, which could pay to train two new family mentors. 

Visit Melanie’s JustGiving page to find out more about her fundraising efforts. To find out how you can get involved with your own fundraising challenge, be sure to visit our website or contact our events and challenge team