Press Release for Immediate Release
Runner with Cerebral Palsy to run 1,900-miles around the UK in 85 days to fight human trafficking
21 April 2021
This June, NHS Clinical Psychologist, Tom Crossland (aged 40, from Reading) is taking on an incredible 1,900-mile run around the coast of England and Wales, to raise awareness of the needs of survivors of trafficking. The goal is to raise £20,000 for the TRIBE Freedom Foundation, a charity inspired by a 1,000-mile run, in 2017, to set up the first UK home for trafficked children.
Tom Crossland was born with cerebral palsy. He was unable to walk until he was over 3 years old and as he grew up, he found it difficult to maintain his balance and stay on his feet. Running never came naturally to him. It still takes daily training, strengthening work and huge effort to keep running. It's only through years of hard work, determination, persistence and meticulous planning that he has been able to complete ultra-endurance running challenges, such as the 180 mile Grand 2 Grand Ultra, from the Grand Canyon. There is limited research on ageing and cerebral palsy, but it is clear that people’s physical ability can decrease quickly as they age and so Tom is determined to get as much out of life, doing what he loves, whilst he still can.
‘I fell over all the time… I had a permanent hole in the left knee of my trousers and a permanent graze on my left hip. This never stopped me from being active, however, and taught me that success is not measured by how many times you fall over but by how many times you get up.’ said Tom.
Setting off from his home near Henley-on-Thames on 2 June 2021, Tom will run the equivalent of 75 marathons in 85 days, supported by a small number of friends, family and members of the TRIBE community. Alongside Tom’s incredible run, there is a 1900-mile virtual challenge for teams of up to 10 people to complete over the same time period to encourage people to get outside and active whilst additionally raising funds for TRIBE Freedom Foundation.
All funds raised by Tom will be going to TRIBE Freedom Foundation, a UK charity that works to fight modern slavery across the UK, by raising awareness, providing funding and support for frontline projects to fight modern slavery and working on projects which empower survivors with the long-term support to overcome their previous exploitation.
Talking about the reasons why Tom wants to support trafficking survivors, he said: ‘Through my work and adventuring, I have developed a deep gratitude for being born in the UK and the freedoms this allows. I am passionate about fighting for human rights. Over the past few years, there have been large numbers of people entering Europe in search of asylum, freedom and safety. The reality is, that in their desperation, people will put themselves in incredibly dangerous situations, increasing their vulnerability to trafficking and exploitation, through their attempts to reach mainland Europe and the UK.’
His journey is one of overcoming obstacles, pushing his body and mind to their limits and then even further than he can imagine. This can only be achieved through practising self-care, mindfulness, being focused and in the moment and some epic teamwork.
More details can be found at www.runtorefuge.com and @runtorefuge on Instagram / Facebook
About TRIBE Freedom Foundation
Modern Slavery is a shocking crime that is sadly taking place all around us, hidden in plain sight. In 2020, 10,613 potential victims of modern slavery were identified in the UK alone, and that number is growing every year. In fact, the true number of victims in the UK is likely to be much, much higher. In 2018, the Global Slavery Index estimated that there could be as many as 136,000 modern slaves just in the UK. Globally, there are 40.3 million people living in modern slavery.
TRIBE Freedom Foundation is the charity inspired by a 1,000-mile run to set up the first home for trafficked children in the UK. Today, we work to fight modern slavery across the UK, by raising awareness, providing funding and support for frontline projects to fight modern slavery and working on projects to equip survivors with the long-term support to overcome their previous exploitation. We empower communities to create an impact.
Vulnerable victims are forced into sexual exploitation, forced labour or domestic servitude. Criminals today use violence, intimidation and coercion to control their victims rather than keeping them locked up in chains. Some victims are trafficked from abroad, sold the dream of a better life – but in reality becoming subject to cruel abuse. Others are recruited from the streets of Britain, forced into criminal exploitation. Today, the largest cohort of modern slaves in the UK are British nationals. This needs to stop.
Learn more at tribefreedomfoundation.com and @tribefreedomfoundation on Instagram / Facebook