Molly Jayne Gaffney Hello :)

Thank you for visiting my fundraising page for the Shark Trust!

On 6th October 2019 I'll be running my first ever full Chester Marathon, after a four years of half marathons, and have the privilege of doing so on behalf of the Shark Trust - a cause so close to my heart. I hope to raise as many donations as possible, and hopefully a little bit more awareness for this wonderful charity and of course for sharks, who are largely misunderstood animals.

Sharks are incredibly vulnerable creatures and our seas are being emptied of them at a very upsetting rate. With the population of many species reduced by 80% - over-fishing is literally nearing sharks to the brink of extinction.

Diverse shark populations are important because they play an integral role in keeping our oceans healthy. They do this by keeping other populations in check and preying on the sick and old. This prevents the spread of disease and improves the gene pool. Even the more typically 'less aggressive' or even 'gentle' species of sharks are endangered; such as whale sharks, angel sharks are critically endangered and the population of basking sharks is classed as vulnerable

Many people are fearful of sharks: with the impressive teeth and strength of many species, the fear of the unseen and the unknown when entering the ocean and importantly - a poor media representation, it is understandable that some feel this way. Despite being undeniably majestic animals, sharks are often vilified and much of this is down to over-sensationalised media stories and movies which have created an image in the public's mind that they are deliberate hunters of people. There are studies that refute the characterisation of sharks as bloodthirsty stalkers of humans, many demonise them with innate 'evil' human characteristics - when in fact, shark attacks on humans are extremely rare and often it's when the shark has mistaken a person for their natural prey, such as seals. There's no evidence that sharks have a taste for human flesh. Sharks aren't trying to hurt people and are often very curious. The ocean of course, is their home and they should be respected and not provoked.

I've always been fascinated and in awe of sharks, and when I was a little girl my favourite animal was the six gill shark - a species of deep water shark that I always found really interesting because of its ability to survive at such depths and the fact that it is more closely related to species only found in fossils!

I've had the joy of being able to swim with sharks and hope to be able to many more times; I can say first hand that they are absolutely beautiful creatures that despite their teeth, weren't frightening to be around and I really hope more people are able to learn more about sharks and be interested in their conservation and perhaps even consider their perception.

I've chosen to help support the Shark Trust because of their dedication to the protection of shark species and spreading awareness:

'We need to change our understanding and appreciation for sharks. And we need to change how we manage and protect populations on a global scale.'

Nearly one quarter of sharks are classed as threatened or near extinction.

Please consider donating to help.

Molly
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Molly Jayne Gaffney