A small history of a big charity

Walk the Walk came into being in 1996 when just 13 women Power Walked the New York City Marathon in their bras to raise money and awareness for breast cancer. What started out as a one-off fundraising event, has blossomed into a thriving multi-million pound charity, raising to date in excess of £139 million for breast and other cancers.

How it all began…

Although it is almost 3 decades ago, the story of how Walk the Walk began continues to fascinate and attract interest. At a time when cancer was considered the ‘C’ word and certainly not talked about, Walk the Walk came along with the first challenge of its kind, the now iconic MoonWalk, and put ‘fun’ into something so serious. That in turn not only encouraged more awareness, more importantly it allowed people to talk about cancer openly. What started out with a few brave women has to date encouraged over half a million people (that we know of) to start Walking the Walk… read it here!

The charity was founded by Nina Barough when one morning she woke from a dream with what seemed like a ‘fun’ idea to Power Walk the New York City Marathon in a decorated bra to raise money for breast cancer. What makes the beginning of this story so magical is that Nina at that time had no experience of fundraising for a charity, had never taken part in a marathon… or wanted to, but most of all she knew nothing about breast cancer or anyone who had been affected.

Only months later, in November 1996 the dream became a reality, and after much training and fundraising, 13 courageous women took to the streets of New York in their bras. In truth, they were all signed up for a fun weekend in New York however, it resulted in the team raising over £25,000 which was then donated to Breakthrough Breast Cancer Research (now Breast Cancer Now) to contribute to them building the first dedicated centre for research into breast cancer.

Word soon got around and people started to call Nina asking if they could join her next walking challenge. Due to her work commitments, it was doubtful if that would happen, but then, as with most things at Walk the Walk, fate intervened and took Nina and her supporters to the beginning of what would be quite a journey!

Fate lends a hand

In January 1997, only 2 months after the New York City Marathon adventure, Nina not only discovered she had breast cancer herself, but that it was an aggressive tumour, which she had most probably had for about 3 years. As a result, her world was thrown upside down, as she had to give up her business and embark on a programme of treatment including a mastectomy followed by radiotherapy, with a 2 year course of Zoladex injections and Tamoxifen. As is often the case in difficult times, those around her felt very helpless, so it seemed that at the height of the Spice Girls and ‘Girl Power’, to encourage a team to Power Walk the London Marathon would be a really positive way of showing support.

The 1997 London Marathon was another huge success for the Walkers, who raised in excess of another £25,000. Only 3 days after the marathon, the first Walk the Walk auction was held to sell their celebrity created bras, which had been designed by Paul Smith, Mary Quant, Richard Branson and many more. Only days later Nina began her treatment.

And so the MoonWalk was born

In the spring of 1998, Walk the Walk entered its second team into the London Marathon. 25 Walkers claimed their places, however, there were 25 who were not so lucky. Not wanting to disappoint them or waste their hard earned fundraising or training, Nina decided to create a one-off marathon for these girls. The intrepid 25 grew to 65 and, on the eve of the London Marathon, they set off at midnight on Saturday with the intention of completing their marathon by 7.00am Sunday morning, passing on the ‘baton’ in Trafalgar Square to the girls who would be walking the official event. Nina and a girlfriend actually completed both The MoonWalk followed by the London Marathon, a total of 52.4 miles within 24 hours… The MoonWalk was born, and the rest, as they say, is history!

Nina had managed to turn a simple idea into a dynamic charity. Over the years, with the tremendous advancements in research, leading to better diagnosis and treatment of breast cancer, and now an understanding of what we can all do to support prevention, the charity has continued to evolve. Whilst maintaining the heart and ethos at the core, Nina’s passion for healthy eating and being active has inspired many others; in fact, joining a Walk the Walk challenge has often been described as life-changing. Many women and men who have never before, walked as a sport, taken on a challenge or considered walking as part of an active lifestyle, have become ardent walkers.

Raise money, Raise awareness get fit and have FUN!

Our Patron

We are delighted and incredibly fortunate that HRH the former Prince of Wales, has been the Patron of Walk the Walk since 2004. He is a tremendous supporter of the values that Walk the Walk has upheld since the charity began. We have always recognised the benefits of eating organic or clean food, the use of integrated care offering emotional and physical support for those living with cancer, and encouraging women and men to become more aware of their own potential for healing and for maintaining good health and wellbeing… all before it was mainstream to do so.

Walk the Walk challenges
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Find out how you can support us!

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