LONDON – Donations to the charity supported by a 30-year-old runner who died during the London Marathon have topped $1 million, as thousands of people continued to take up her cause.
Claire Squires entered the race to raise money for an organization that helps prevent suicides, and had collected about $800 online before she set off on the 42.2-kilometer (26.2-mile) course on Sunday. By Wednesday, the fundraising total in her name had reached 690,000 pounds ($1.1 million) following more than 60,000 donations — and the money was still coming in.
Squires collapsed near Buckingham Palace near the end of the race, and her death has touched hearts in both Britain and beyond.
"It's just overwhelming ... the generosity of people and what Claire has actually achieved," brother-in-law James Birrell told the BBC. "Something good has unfortunately come out of something bad."
The flood of donations is going to the Samaritans, which works to prevent suicide and usually raises around $6 million annually from individual donations.
"For Claire and the Samaritans, please keep the donations coming. Don't stop giving, just like her," the family said in a statement. "It's what she would have wanted ... words cannot explain what an incredible, inspirational, beautiful and driven person she was."
Squires is the 11th participant to die in the London Marathon since it started in 1981. She had climbed Mount Kilimanjaro with a friend last year to raise 1,500 pounds ($2,400) for the Royal Air Force Association.
The family still does not what caused the 30-year-old hairdresser from North Kilworth, England, to collapse and die.
"It is hard to understand. She was young, fit and strong and had really been looking forward to the run," said Simon Van Herrewege, Squires' boyfriend. "She was an amazing person who was always doing stuff for charity and to help others."