We’ve had a record-breaking number of nominations. Almost 31,000 of you got in touch to tell us about the amazing fundraisers you think deserve an award. Thank you so much to everyone who took the time to tell us about the people making a difference to your charity – reading through all of the incredible nominations has been truly humbling. We are so immensely proud of all of the amazing things people are doing on JustGiving.
Now it’s over to you to decide who should win. Does your charity have a fundraiser finalist? Here’s the link to meet the finalists for the 2017 JustGiving awards, and a chance to cast your vote for the winners.
Meet the finalists…
Creative Fundraiser of the Year
After a long struggle with mental illness, Chris’ son Joe sadly took his own life last December. He was 16-years-old. Chris created a beautiful book of photographs in his son’s memory that he uploaded to his JustGiving page. Joe’s family wanted to raise £16,000 – one thousand pounds for every year of his life. They’ve raised over £43,000 for Young Minds Trust, a charity committed to improving the mental health of children.
Not only does John (aka the Gentleman Crafter) love arts and crafts, he has found it to be incredibly helpful when dealing with depression and anxiety. He has spent just over a year visiting the 92 historic counties in the UK to teach craft workshops. Not only has he raised £23,000, he also shared the calming, focusing and beneficial properties of a creative hobby along the way.
This year, Tom (aka Mr Gorilla) became the first person to ever crawl the London marathon. Dressed as a gorilla, he took six days to cover the full 26.2 miles. He crawled for 10 to 12 hours every day, swapping between hands and knees and up on hands and feet to save his blistered feet. He’s raised over £40,000 to help The Gorilla Organization save endangered gorillas from extinction.
Endurance Fundraiser of the Year
21-year-old Alex understands the problems young people face. He’s overcome anxiety, depression, low self-confidence, eating disorders, bullying, epilepsy and stammering to raise over £55,000 for charity with his outdoor adventures. This year he took on his biggest challenge yet to help improve the mental health of young people. Over 4,000 miles, Alex walked, cycled, ran and even kayaked around the UK, climbing to the highest point of all 100 counties.
Caroline was paralysed in a horse-riding accident in 2009. Determined to not let her paralysis stop her, Caroline has completed challenges including cycling a hand cycle from the Tower of London to Blackpool Tower. This year she did her most grueling challenge yet along with her two teammates Karl and Jason; Caroline hand cycled from Lands End to John O’Groats, raising over £21,000 for Cancer Research UK.
When Gary crossed the finish line of the London marathon, he was also crossing the finish line of his 100 marathons in 100 days challenge. He warmed up for the main event by running a marathon every single day for the 99 days leading up to it. Gary did it for his dad who was diagnosed with cancer 20 years ago and would have been 80 this year. Gary’s raised over £100,000 for Macmillan.
Young Fundraiser of the Year
16-year-old Brooke has been a patient at Royal Manchester Children’s Hospital since the day she was born. At 11 days old she had lifesaving surgery to remove a pelvic tumour and since then she’s had more operations than birthdays. Last year, against medical advice, she completed the Manchester 10k with her surgeon by her side. This year, Brooke recruited more than 70 people to run with her in Brooke’s Barmy Army including a brass band. Together they raised over £16,000 for the hospital.
When six-year-old Levi heard about Guria, a disabled girl found abandoned on the streets of Calcutta he wanted to do something to help her. In March he walked eight miles on Mount Toubkal in Morocco to raise money for Shuktara, a charity that provides a home for disabled children and young adults in Calcutta, India. Levi raised over £3,700 to help Guria. She now goes to school and has a home for life at Shuktara.
10-year-old Liam was at the Manchester Arena with his mum, dad and sister when the terrorist attack happened in May. Since then, he’s been doing all he can to help the families affected by the attack. Liam took on at least one fundraising challenge every week throughout June and July. From fun runs, to tough mudders, to climbing Mount Snowdon, Liam dedicated his summer to raising money for the British Red Cross and the We Love Manchester appeal.
The Outstanding Commitment Award
Andy is a Royal Navy Chief Petty Officer who set up Doing it for Heroes, a group of dedicated volunteers who raise money for Help for Heroes. The group organises huge walking challenges as well as collections at sporting events and train stations across the UK. Since Andy set up the group, he’s helped raised over £500,000 to help British service personnel wounded or injured in the line of duty.
In January, four-year-old George was diagnosed with cancer. Blown away by the dedicated staff at The Royal Marsden, his mum and dad started George and the Giant Pledge. They set out to make things better for ALL kids facing cancer by raising £100,000. After smashing that target in just two weeks, they’ve inspired hundreds of people to join the pledge, raising over £430,000 in their quest to hit £1million.
Jessica’s one-year-old daughter Anna had a seizure out of the blue and was taken into intensive care. Just over ten weeks later, Anna died from a rare mitochondrial disease that has no cure. That’s why Jessica set up The Anna Lewis Brighter Future Fund. Jessica’s helped raise £290,000 for The Mitochondrial Research Group at Great Ormond Street Hospital who are working to identify causes and potential treatments.
The JustGiving Life Changer Award
After surviving an abusive relationship, Esther vowed to help women and girls in similar circumstances to get back up on their feet, achieve their full potential and stand tall again. She started crowdfunding to set up sTandTall, an organisation that helps woman and girls get access to the support they need quickly and anonymously. The aim is to set up education programmes to teach people about the effects of bullying and abuse as well as holistic centres to provide restorative care to victims.
Running the London marathon in 2012 was supposed to be a one off for Haroon. But after his father was killed in a car accident, Haroon dedicated himself to doing something positive in his memory. This year, he ran four marathons in three weeks. His aim? To raise £20,000 to build a Solar Water & Power Centre in Senegal. Haroon smashed his target, raising £26,000 and the centre is now being constructed and will change hundreds of lives.
Sal is part of SAND (Safe Ageing No Discrimination), a community group which aims to increase the expectations and improve the experience of older LGBT people accessing health & social care in Shropshire. As part of SAND, she raised money to organise Shrewsbury’s 2017 Festival of LGBT History. The festival brings together all sections of the community to hear hidden stories from LGBT lives.
PayPal Crowdfunder of the Year
In May, Lakshmi’s nine-year-old daughter Nainika died as a result of anaphylaxis after she had an unexpected allergic reaction to eating a blackberry. Lakshmi has raised over £14,000 to set up the Nainika Tikoo Memorial Foundation to raise awareness of the severity of allergies and support research into allergy care.
Luke launched #itsokaytotalk after his brother-in-law, Andy, sadly committed suicide in 2016. He wanted to create a safe space where men could speak without fear of being judged. He set up Andy’s Man Club, encouraging men from all walks of life to talk to other like-minded men in his hometown. When the #itsokaytotalk selfie campaign took off on social media, Luke realised that this was a big problem nationally. He’s now crowdfunding to set up an Andy’s Man Club in areas across the UK.
10-year-old Ben’s autism makes it difficult for him to make friends. After he was left devastated when nobody showed up to his last birthday party, Vicki decided to crowdfund to give Ben the best birthday ever. Not only did Vicki raise enough money to buy him an iPad and sensory equipment for his bedroom, Ben received tens of thousands of cards from people all over the world.
Celebrity Fundraiser of the Year
Denise’s close friend, Nicki Waterman, died in August last year, only 15 months after she was diagnosed with a terminal brain tumour. To raise money in Nicki’s memory Denise led a team of celebrities including Kate Thornton and Michelle Heaton on a 187-mile bike ride across Kerala in India in March this year. The Nicki Waterman Kerala Challenge team raised almost £30,000 for Brain Tumour Research.
Football presenter Jeff Stelling’s March for Men saw him walk 15 marathons in 15 days from Exeter to Newcastle, visiting 40 football clubs and encouraging hundreds of people to join him along the way. It was Jeff’s second year of marching to beat prostate cancer, a disease that kills one man every hour. He’s raised over £700,000 to help Prostate Cancer UK fight for better diagnosis, better treatment and better support.
After the attack at Manchester Arena, actor Tom Hardy wanted to help those affected. He set up a JustGiving page and shared it with his fans. Donations started to pour in and Tom helped raise almost £40,000. The following month, Tom started fundraising again following the Grenfell fire disaster. “As a Londoner and as a human being, it is impossible to be unaffected by the harrowing, unnecessary loss of life, injury and sorrow.” Tom raised over £56,000 for the Kensington & Chelsea Foundation’s appeal.