You can change the world too- one sprint at a time

Posted by on 30 September, 2010

It started as a ‘little idea’. When Annie Crawford moved back to Sydney from the US she had a desire to give back to the community, promote her love of fitness and raise money for cancer all at the same time. Yesterday, I listened, awestruck and utterly inspired as Annie told of the birth of CanToo, a fitness program for average Joes like you and me, which has just raised $6 million for Cure Cancer, a cancer research fund.

The concept is incredibly simple. With absolutely NO fitness required (‘we’ve had people who couldn’t run 400m,’ Annie said), you enroll in group training sessions and then sign up for an ocean swim or fun run/ marathon. You get sponsored, you whack on a flouro orange running singlet and as you get fitter and healthier, you contribute in spades to the amazing scientists making curing cancer a reality here in Sydney.

Annie has watched over six years as Can Too has delivered far more than she ever intended. It has created a community of people who are knocked over by reaching fitness goals they would have thought impossible; she’s seen funds go to researchers who would otherwise be forced to leave Australia to pursue their scientific goals; and the money has reached levels beyond her expectations.

All of this was actually made possible by a woman who I think could have the most incredible job in the world. Julie White works for the Macquarie Group Foundation. Macquarie bankers might be known more for their fat pay checks and stellar careers than charity, but Julie’s aim of creating a culture of philanthropy at Macquarie has been incredibly successful. Pushed along by Julie and her team, $120 million has been contributed by Macquarie staff to over 1000 amazing causes over the past 25 years.

If you want to change the world, Julie has two important bits of great advice;

  1. Passion. Julie was struck by Annie’s passion for her project when she brought it to her 6 years ago.
  2. Simple idea. Julie’s idea was simple- just the training and sponsorship and then send a CanToo team into existing running festivals and events.
I hope there are more Annies, more Julies and more CanToo members who can change the world for the better by starting with their own health, fitness and passion.