Fundraise Your Way

Helen Nickerson

Helen is passionate about supporting junior scientists develop their career in biomedical research and change the way we think about and treat disease.

Name Helen Nickerson
Cause fundraised for

Hastie Career Advancement Fund

Method of fundraising

Edinburgh Marathon Festival, 10K

Helen Nickerson with her 10K race number

Why did you decide to fundraise for your chosen cause?

Nick Hastie is a phenomenal scientist and an incredible mentor. He led the MRC Human Genetics Unit and Institute of Genetics and Molecular Medicine (IGMM) for many years, skilfully training and coaching literally hundreds of scientists. One of the talented scientists he mentored was my late husband, Daniel Wolf, who would have started as a group leader at the MRC Human Genetics Unit in 2009, but we lost him to cancer before this could happen. Throughout his disease Daniel and I truly believed that had we known more about the cancer he was fighting, we would have had more chance of beating it. I now have the privilege of working with dozens of exceptional scientists in Edinburgh. This is why am passionate about supporting the most brilliant junior scientists to develop their independent career in biomedical research and change the way we think about, and treat disease.

How did you raise money?

I am not a runner. Being widowed in my early 30s I did not expect to ever have children. However life is full of surprises and I found myself in my 40s, with two young children and completely unfit. At the MRC Human Genetics Unit we know that in some cases we can fight the effects of our genes with changes to our environment so I vowed to do this, and ensure I stay as healthy as I can for my children! With the fantastic IGMM Jog Scotland group, and friends, I began running. I can already feel the difference in my health. Going from beginner to a 10k race in six months feels like a great achievement for me.

It was more meaningful to do this as a fundraiser and I unashamedly shared both my running and fundraising goal with colleagues, friends and family in person and through email and social media. Their support and donations were very motivating. My favourite donation was from my six year old who emptied her money box and sponsored me £1.11! She was very proud of me for running and told me I should wear my medal to work!

Fundraising wisdom

If you are raising money for something you believe in then don’t be embarrassed to ask for support – people don’t have to support you and many cannot but most do not mind being asked and are happy to get behind you. Even the smallest donations add up!

Related Links

Hastie Career Advancement Fund

MRC Institute of Genetics and Molecular Medicine