How a British Marathoner’s Death Inspired Over $825,000 in Online Donations
The death of a British runner during Sunday’s London Marathon has inspired over $825,000 in online donations for Samaritans, the charity she was was supporting.
Claire Squires, 30, a hairdresser from Leicestershire, England, was just one mile away from the finish line when she collapsed. Squires was pronounced dead on the scene, and investigations into the cause of her death are expected in the coming days.
Squires’ death has sparked an outpouring of donations to her JustGiving page, which states, “I’m running the london (sic) marathon for Samaritans because they continuously support others.” As of writing, more than 45,000 individual donations have accumulated, and the number continues to grow.
Samaritans is the world’s oldest and largest suicide prevention network. According to the Daily Telegraph, Squires’ brother died from an overdose in 2001 at the age of 25. Her mother has also volunteered for the charity for more than 20 years.
“The response to Claire Squires’ tragic death on Sunday has been extraordinary. Out of respect for Claire’s memory, we will be donating our fees back to the Samaritans. Yesterday the JustGiving site saw a record number of visits, with over 10,000 people donating together at any given time. This huge wave of sympathy continues today.”
Donations to Claire Squires’ JustGiving page as of 12:25 PM PST Tuesday
The sheer amount of donations and response to Squires’ death has to do with the “multitude of financial, psychological and historical factors at play when people decide how and where they donate money,” longtime volunteer and charity worker Rachel Rawlins writes in an opinion piece for the Guardian UK. Perhaps the most important factor spurring people to donate is the intimacy they feel with Squires as an individual — they know her name, how she looks like and her motivations for running the race. These details are far more compelling to donators rather than generalities when it comes to charity giving.
Rawlins also suggests that the publicity surrounding Squires’ death and the fact that many people are already donating are encouraging others to do the same. The ease of donating to online sites is certainly a contributing factor as well, according to Rawlins.
“It takes far less effort to go to click the link to a widely publicized Just Giving page and donate money than it would to find out the details of the charity behind it and locate ways to donate to it directly,” she writes. “You can see everyone else who has made a donation, how much they’ve given and a running total of the money raised.”
Although some have argued that this kind of online response is a slacktivist reaction, the consequences of this funding — what the money can actually do — are undeniable as donations continue to pour in at record speed. And while Squires’ JustGiving page does not indicate any offline donations, JustGiving has stated that it will make sure the online donations go to the right places:
“These donations will be put into a tribute fund and, following discussions with the family, will go towards projects they feel would have been important to Claire.”
What do you think of the online response to Squires’ death? Sound off in the comments.
Thumbnail courtesy of the Daily Telegraph