Benali 'eternally grateful' as cancer fundraising reaches £1.3million

Francis Benali in training for his 2019 Iron Man challenge
Francis Benali in training for his 2019 Iron Man challenge

DEDICATED Cancer Research UK campaigner and Saints legend Franny Benali admitted he was “eternally grateful” as his fundraising reached £1.3million.

The Southampton father-of-two who pushed himself to the limit to collect over a million pounds in donations across three ultra-endurance challenges has added another £156,000 to his total.

The latest donation follows a gala ball to celebrate the 53-year-old’s achievements in which he ran over 1,000 miles to every Premier League ground in the UK in just 21 days in 2014, ran and cycled to 44 Premier League and Championship grounds over a fortnight in 2016 and then attempted 7 Ironman triathlons in 7 days in 2019.

The May event at the Mick Channon suite at St Mary’s was attended by 438 people and included an auction of football memorabilia and a trip to meet popstar Robbie Williams.

Donations given to Cancer Research UK allow the charity’s scientists, doctors and nurses to make new discoveries, drive progress and bring hope to everyone affected by cancer.

Benali MBE said: “My family and I are eternally grateful for the support of so many people who have helped raise this huge sum of money for Cancer Research UK.

“Without so much kindness and hard work none of this would have been possible. The recent sell out gala dinner at St Mary’s Stadium typified the generosity shown by so many.

“The aim has always been to raise as much as we could so that more people can beat cancer.”

Hosting a special reception to pay homage to Benali’s continued support, the world-leading Southampton Clinical Trials Unit is home to a team of experts striving to develop kinder and more effective treatments for a range of different types of cancer.

Thanks to donations, the Cancer Research UK funded facility has made strides in developing better ways of detecting and treating the disease that can improve survival and offer a better quality of life.

Peta Durrant, head of operations at the Southampton Clinical Trials Unit, added: “We are so grateful to Franny Benali for his continued fundraising efforts.

“Thanks to donations, we are able to continue to design and run clinical trials of new treatments for all types of cancers and new ways of detecting cancer at an earlier stage when it is more treatable.

“We are delighted to welcome Franny to the unit to celebrate his achievements and thank him for everything he has done to support our Cancer Research UK-funded work.”

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