Paw patrol: Diana and Dido clean up for Guy’s and St Thomas’

Getting out for a daily exercise like walking the dog means so much more to people during the coronavirus lockdown period. But for 82 great-grandmother Diana Mukuma and her five-year old greyhound Dido, it was an opportunity for a new challenge to raise money for Guy’s and St Thomas’.

A lady outdoors with her dog, on the street, picking up a piece of litter and placing it into a refuse bag
Diana, with Dido, taking part in their 30in30 challange. Photo: Eleanor Bentall Photography

Friends of St Thomas’

Kennington, south London resident Diana Mukuma has a long relationship with Guy’s and St Thomas’. She has been volunteering at St Thomas’ for eight years - originally visiting patients at the hospital with her dog Little Dorrit until the dog’s death in 2018. More recently she’s been visiting staff and patients on the wards with Dido as part of the Pets As Therapy programme.

Sadly, the programme has been on hold since the outbreak of COVID-19. So Diana and Dido decided to take up a new, outdoor fundraising challenge until it’s safe to return to the wards. She says:

‘The extraordinary staff at Guy’s and St Thomas’ are pulling together to care for patients so I wanted to give something back to them.’

Diana’s 30in30 challenge

To support our extraordinary staff, we challenged people to take the 30in30 challenge - completing 30 miles of activity within 30 days this summer. Activities could be outdoors like walking, running, and cycling or something you could do at home like stair climbing.

Diana looked to her neighbourhood walks with Dido for inspiration.

‘I'm not into doing press ups or running, nor am I handy at sewing or baking,’ she explains. ‘But I thought we could take on the 30in30 fundraising challenge together. We decided to pick up a minimum of 30 pieces of rubbish every day for 30 days along Lambeth's streets and parks come rain or shine.’
Three adults and a dog, standing outside a house during the day, with 30 filled refuse bags, ready for collection.
Nikki, Dido, Diana and Jim, at the end of the challenge. Photo: Eleanor Bentall Photography

Following their lead

Kennington residents may have caught a glimpse of Diana and Dido during their challenge. She says:

‘If you spied an elderly lady, with bright red hair, walking an elegant greyhound whilst picking up odd bits of rubbish with a grab stick and a black bin bag – that was me and Dido.’

Thais, one of Diana’s 19 grandchildren (she also has five great grandchildren) created an Instagram page so that everyone could follow Diana’s progress.

Diana and Dido’s efforts raised £1,085 and made a big impact on staff. Catherine Hart, Director of Fundraising at Guy’s and St Thomas’, said:

‘We want to say a big thank you to Diana and Dido, and everyone supporting Guy's and St Thomas'. We love following Diana and Dido’s updates with their challenge.

Money raised from their challenge will support staff wellbeing at Guy’s and St Thomas’ through the pandemic. From rest and recharge areas for staff, to vital training, education and psychological support for those treating patients with the virus and all staff in non-clinical roles.

‘We are truly inspired by all of the creative 30in30 virtual challenges, along with all the wonderful messages of support for staff, the generous donations and gifts in kind.’

Inspired to do your own fundraising challenge? You can be as creative as you like. Find out more and get involved.