Marcus' 3 Week Isolation Challenge

by Marcus Dahl in Oxford, England, United Kingdom

Marcus' 3 Week Isolation Challenge
We did it
On 6th August 2021 we successfully raised £21,020 ( + est. £1251.50 Gift Aid ) with 280 supporters in 19 days

Let’s help UNICEF deliver 2 billion Covid-19 vaccines through the COVAX global vaccine facility!

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1 dose of live Covid-19, 21 days of strict isolation, 600 push-ups, 600 laps of my room, a bunch of challenges, and 5000 vaccines delivered…

**UPDATE**: We have hit our initial £6,000 target with plenty of time to spare! So what are we doing about it? Let's aim higher! An ambitious target of £20,000 has been set! Check out the comedy breaking news announcement...

Are you ready to join me on a very 2021 challenge?

Today (16 July), I have entered isolation as a participant in Oxford's world-first coronavirus reinfection challenge trial. I will isolate for 4 days at home and then for at least 17 days in hospital, where my immune system will be studied after being given a dose of live Covid-19. On my discharge from quarantine in 3 weeks, I will receive £2,000 ($3,700 Aussies) of compensation money which I will donate fully to this UNICEF-COVAX Vaccinaid fundraiser. [**Update: to take advantage of the Pears Foundation matching donations for a limited time, I asked for an advance on my August stipend so I could donate the £2,000 in advance and get it doubled to £4,000!!!**]

But by that time, I am hoping that my donation is the cherry on top of a great fundraiser that brings together family, friends, and friends of friends. The WHO estimates that the total delivery cost of delivering each vaccine dose in the COVAX scheme is only £1.20. So, I am asking my family and friends to aim up with me and do something cool. In the 3 weeks I'm in isolation, let's fund the delivery of 5,000 Covid-19 vaccine doses to where they are needed the most. You can read about COVAX here: Members of the public, through the Vaccinaid campaign, have already raised over £5mn for this cause:; For more information about the challenge trial, you can read here:


Seven Steps to Our Target

See below for new challenges!Follow the challenges on instagram: or  YouTube:

Step 1: Recruitment. I get signed up for the challenge trial. Great, this one is already done! I had some bad luck and caught Covid-19 right after moving to the UK last year, and now am here through the summer because it's too tricky getting back to Australia at the moment. But this puts me in the right place at the right time! As a healthy 18–30-year-old living in Oxford with Covid-19 antibodies, I have the privilege of being eligible to help world leading research. There has been a careful screening process and I am in very safe hands. 

Step 2: Start showing the love! The donations can start rolling in as I send these details to my friends and family. All the money goes to UNICEF for COVAX. COVAX is a ground-breaking global vaccine program to distribute and deliver Covid-19 vaccines across 191 countries. If for any unlikely reason money is left over, it will go to the UNICEF Children's Emergency Fund. If you donate, leave a message so we can make this a group effort and a positive memory to look back on. But please know: I don't expect or pressure anyone to donate. Not everyone has the capacity and a lot of my friends are students. You can still participate and support the fundraiser. Some will donate £1, or £5, or will encourage someone else they know who has the means to donate, or just ring to say hi.

[NOW FINISHED] Step 3: Push-up and laps challenge!  I've got to stay fit in iso and want to encourage your donations, so during the first week of iso, to kick things off, I'll video myself putting in one push-up and one lap of my room for every £10 that comes in, which could stack up to 600! If you're lucky I'll choreograph them into trashy 80s music videos. Watch out and get in there!

Step 4: Hospital quarantine! This will begin on day 5 of iso, pending my negative covid tests from now until then. I'll let you know if anything in the timeline changes. I'll stay alone in a room for at least 17 days. I'll keep you posted with what I get up to, but there is one ground rule: I cannot publish any study data, including whether I get infected or what symptoms I get. This is big, expensive research and data integrity is important, so I'll play it by the book and leave all that for the academic journals.

[NOW ACTIVE] Step 5: Let's get creative! As the days go by and the initial fundraising is done, I'll send around some ideas for more creative fundraising. Ask me anything? Bad video serenade song requests? Charity online poker game? Letter writing? Super Mario 64 speed-run? It'll all be on the table later on, after we hit some initial targets.

Want to make a special request for yourself or someone else? Try one of these in the comments section!


Step 6: Freedom! I get to the other side of isolation and will donate the £2000 when it comes through. [**Update: I have now paid this in advance to take advantage of Pears Foundation's time-limited donation matching!**]. I'll have a little gathering in Oxford on 5/6 August to celebrate and pull in the last few coins for the fundraiser, then will set off to explore the UK on a big camping trip for what's left of the summer break.

(Step 7: The struggle continues). This fundraiser is a small drop in a very big ocean. The equity gaps in this pandemic are terrible chasms, reflecting global inequality that permeates deeply and in which I am complicit. Let's keep efforts going, keep compassion for all in our hearts, support those who strive for change, and lobby our governments to share vaccines, resources and technology, and reduce inequality and suffering.

Thank you so much for reading and joining me in this fundraising challenge! Take care, look out for each other and have a great day. Marcus :)


Want to fundraise for this cause?

Donations made to UNICEF’s VaccinAid appeal will go towards UNICEF’s work to purchase and deliver Covid-19 vaccines, tests and treatment to bring an end to the pandemic. In the unlikely event that the funds raised exceed UNICEF’s funding requirements for this appeal, your donation will go towards the Children’s Emergency Fund.