Sunderland Strollers support Phoenix Unit for 9th year in Clazey's Doorstep event

Published: 30th November 2017

On Sunday 3rd December Sunderland Strollers once again generously supported patients of Sunderland Royal Hospital Phoenix Unit through City Hospitals Sunderland Charity. “Clazey’s Doorstep” has become an annual tradition for many since its inception in 2008 – and many patients on the Phoenix Unit have benefited from their participation.


The event actually began after a personal set back. Local resident and Sunderland Stroller Graeme Clazey was diagnosed with cancer in 2006, shortly after completing the New York marathon in the United States.

Graeme had set himself the ambitious goal of running at least one marathon a year since 1990, and often completed up to 4 marathons in a year. After major surgery to remove a tumour and on going chemotherapy at Sunderland Royal’s Phoenix Unit, Graeme prepared for the Luton marathon to raise funds for the unit to show his gratitude.

But soon after the marathon was due to begin a shivering Graeme was informed the race was cancelled after a crash along the course. Unperturbed by the setback, Graeme joined friends and fellow Sunderland Strollers Kevin O'Neill, Phil Watson, Stephen Gill and Malcolm Cox to create their own marathon.

Using GPS to make sure they went the distance, they completed two laps of South Tyneside, finishing at Side Cliff Road, Seaburn. Since then, Graeme and his friends’ dedication has inspired hundreds of participants, and raised thousands of pounds for the Phoenix Unit and other worthy causes close to Sunderland Stroller member’s hearts.

The event became a low-key staple in some local runners diaries, but it really began to take off in 2013 after 4 of the runners decided to change a t shirt every mile for a bit of fun – and as many as 200 or more are set to take part in 2017.

Graeme was able to credit his recovery from cancer in part to his fitness – were it not for his physical health and resilience, the care he received from the Phoenix Unit may not have been as affective as it was.

But Graeme’s run in honour of the care he received is still making a difference today, inspiring many to focus on their health, and raise money to support those with cancer in Sunderland. In 2017 fundraising from Clazey’s Doorstep will support both the Phoenix Unit in Sunderland and Cancer Research UK.

Jill Bell, Phoenix Unit manager, said: “We can’t thank the amazing bunch of people at Sunderland Strollers enough. They’ve supported our patients for so long, in so many ways – and they’ve made a lasting difference on our unit. We can’t wait to put their support into use, and can’t thank them enough for exhausting themselves on our patients’ behalf!”

As well as the Strollers themselves, who are all volunteers giving their own time to make the event happen, Sunderland Yacht Club are kindly offering their premises as a base for the run. City Hospitals Sunderland Charity wishes to thank the Sunderland Strollers, Sunderland Yacht Club, and the doubtless many others who are supporting this wonderful community event.