This Sunday, I will be lacing up my running shoes once again to take to the streets of London and tackle my sixth London Marathon. 

In previous years, I have raised thousands of pounds for many amazing local causes that provide vital services and play crucial roles in our community, like East End Community Carers, Glasgow Girls FC, Glasgow North East Foodbank, Greater Easterhouse Supporting Hands (GESH), My Life, My Choice project in Easthall, as well as Geeza Break. 

This year however, I have teamed up with Islamic Relief, a leading Muslim charity whose fantastic work has transformed the lives of 120 million people through disaster response, and which is currently at the heart of relief efforts on the ground in Gaza.  

As with every year, throughout my fundraiser, I have been blown away by the level of people’s generosity, especially as households are still faced with unprecedented levels of living costs. 

Over the last six months, we have seen the constant and uninterrupted bombardment of the Palestinian people, and untold levels of destruction which have seen more than 32,000 civilians in Gaza killed. 

The SNP has consistently been calling for an immediate ceasefire since October 7, however as we witness further escalation in the Middle East this week, it is imperative that all parties now prioritise the de-escalation of tensions and conflict, as well as a sustained effort by the international community to bring stability across the entire region. 

Against the backdrop of this suffering, Muslims across Scotland and the rest of the world came together last week to celebrate the end of the holy month of Ramadan, marking the culmination of a month of fasting, prayer, reflection and acts of charity. It is a month that embodies compassion, generosity, sacrifice and community spirit. 

This could not be more relevant today. 

The work of Islamic Relief remains integral to the relief efforts in Gaza and it is steadfast in its efforts to assist Palestinian families. 

Since October last year, Islamic Relief has provided more than £15m worth of aid, delivered more than 11m hot meals and distributed more than 220m medical items. 

To donate, please visit here.

Islamic Relief’s presence on the ground cannot be overstated as it continues to provide psychological support to orphans and children in Gaza, distribute blankets and hygiene kits and deliver clean water and warm clothing to civilians. 

Its relief efforts are monumental, so as I haul myself around the 26.2-mile course, winding my way through the streets of London on Sunday, knowing that my efforts are going towards such a fantastic charity will hopefully take the edge off any pain or blisters I encounter. 

Although my efforts are a drop in the ocean in comparison to the hard work of Islamic Relief, the kind donations I receive will ensure it can continue to provide vital aid at a time where it is so desperately needed by civilians in Gaza.