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Exotics vet to take on London Marathon dressed as an ostrich
Daniella do Santos is running the Virgin London Marathon dressed in an ostrich costume.

Daniella dos Santos to raise funds for the Animal Welfare Foundation

An exotics vet from Kent is in training to run the Virgin London Marathon dressed as an ostrich.

Daniella dos Santos from ParkVet Hospital is taking on the challenge to raise funds for the Animal Welfare Foundation (AWF), of which she is a trustee. The ostrich costume was the winner of an online nomination competition, with donors pledging funds against five veterinary practice categories - small animal, large animal, equine, wildlife and exotics.

“Despite their amazing work, the AWF struggles for funds to continue its vital work, so I have decided not only to be the first ever person to run the London Marathon for the AWF, but to run it in costume!” she said. “Those who know me will be aware that running is not among my favourite activities, but I am stepping up to the challenge to raise much-needed funds for this fantastic charity that’s making a real, tangible difference to animals worldwide.”

Ms Santos, who is studying towards a certificate in zoological medicine, is also an active member of the BVA Ethics and Welfare Advisory Panel. To prepare for the Marathon, she has introduced a gruelling training schedule which fits around working full time as a vet.

“Working full time in clinical practice, including being part of an out-of-hours rota, means training must be factored in with military precision: so far, some of my longer runs are planned for 4 am!” she said. “I also entered the Hastings Half Marathon on 18 March, and my final training run prior to the big day is scheduled for when I will be in Queensland, Australia for my brother’s wedding.

“If I can manage 22 miles in those hot and humid conditions, the London Marathon should be a breeze!”

The AWF was established in 1983 to improve animal welfare through research funding, supporting veterinary education and providing pet care advice. Commenting on the challenge, AWF chair of trustees Chris Lawrence said:

“I am delighted that Daniella has chosen to raise funds for AWF in what is arguably one of the biggest sporting events in the world. On behalf of the organisation, I’d like to thank her for her support and wish her all the best for the marathon.”

Ms Santos has already raised a third of her £2,000 target. To find out more about Daniella’s challenge and to make a donation visit: https://tinyurl.com/danielladossantos

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