Every year I settle down to watch Children in Need in the hope that I will be entertained by the usual singing, dancing and specially made comedy sketches. As the programme begins rarely do I give much thought as to the cause. Selfishly I sigh as the ‘serious’ bits come on to guilt us into parting with a fiver.
However, as the show progresses and I watch the stories of hardship, illness and pain I inevitably reach for the phone to make a donation. You’d think this would make me feel better but it doesn’t. I always feel that whatever I’ve given is not enough. So, I decided every year that I would do something to make a REAL difference to local children. Each year I vowed to do something and each year I failed to get up off my arse and do it. Until 2013 that is. Something clicked. It wasn’t even whilst watching Children in Need it was a random evening in July. I knew that this was it, this was the moment to commit to doing something big and therefore making a big difference.
I chose Children North East as my primary beneficiary mainly because they seemed to be one of the least represented but hardest working children’s charities in the region. As the longest established independent children’s charity in the North East they attracted me because of the great work they do with underprivileged children and their families. When I read a statistic on their website that 24% of children in the NE live under the poverty line I was ‘sold’.
I also chose to raise funds for the Children’s Heart Unit Fund (CHUF). Based at the wonderful Freeman hospital, each year this ward is responsible for treating over 300 children with a wide variety of complicated heart conditions. Money raised goes to buy medical and surgical equipment for the theatres and the wards. Play equipment, toys and apparatus are also provided by CHUF. Uniquely, the heart unit treats children from all over the country due to its specialist team of surgeons and facilities.
So was born #7days7irons It had to be something tough, almost impossible in order to inspire people to follow my progress and become involved. But it also needed to be tough because the children I want to raise money for have it so much tougher than I will ever know. And although my pain will be self inflicted at least I’ll know I gave it my all.
So, if you feel like me and want to help, then you can. In the run up to my 2015 #7days7irons challenge I am doing a lot of other events as training. First up in April is the London Marathon.
Please visit my Virgin Money Giving Page and donate as much as you can spare and know that you will be making a difference to poorly and disadvantaged children right here in the North East. But please don’t wait until later, do it NOW.