Marathon Des Sables Challenge

Tuesday, 01 March, 2011

Assistant Commissioner John Yates (centre) with DC Mark Harber (right) and DI Gary Randall (left)

Between 3rd - 9th April two officers from the Metropolitan Police Service will embark on the challenge of a lifetime to raise money for 'Jack', a charity set up to support children suffering from a rare form of cancer 'Neuroblastoma', a cancer that attacks nerve cells.

Detective Constable Mark Harber from SCD7 and Camden's Detective Inspector Gary Randall will be undertaking the Marathon Des Sables, a 151 mile race across the Sahara desert. The race is run over six or seven days and is the equivalent to five and a half regular marathons. All of the competitors have to carry all of the necessary equipment needed for the trip on their backs, all that is supplied is rationed water and a rug to sleep on under a cloth tent. The race has been described as the toughest foot race on earth.

The officers will be taking part to raise funds for 'Jack', which was set up by Detective Sergeants Yvonne Brown and Dick Brown. They set up the charity to raise funds so that their son Jack, who had been diagnosed with a rare form of cancer neuroblastoma in 2005, could receive treatment at the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Center in New York. This hospital is the only place in the world that provides an antibody treatment for neuroblastoma, which would provide Jack with the best chance at beating the disease.

Tragically Jack died in 2009, but Yvonne and Dick continued their work for the charity, which now raises money to help other children also suffering with neuroblastoma travel to New York for treatment.

The money raised by DC Harber and DI Randall will help to raise funds for Felix, a six year old boy suffering from neuroblastoma who is being supported by the 'Jack' charity. He has been fighting the disease for two years and urgently needs treatment in the USA. The officers hope the money they raise will help to send him to New York for treatment.

Assistant Commissioner John Yates said: "The 'Jack' charity helps those suffering from neuroblastoma enabling them to undertake potentially life saving treatment. This is a fantastic cause and I have supported the charity for many years. I would urge people to lend their support by sponsoring DC Harber and DI Randall as they take on this gruelling challenge."

The charity has many events planned for the future, including a sponsored fancy dress 13 mile run in Central Park and eight officers will attempt to pull a plane in a competition in New York.

If you would like to get involved with the charity or any of their future events please visit The Jack Brown Appeal website:

If you would like to support DC Mark Harber and DI Gary Randall with their race across the Sahara please visit their justgiving page,

For more information about the Marathon Des Sables please visit:

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