I have always loved doing sports and running and it is only as I got older that I realised how important it was to use these challenges to raise money for charity. The charity Challengers has always been close to my heart because my younger sister Arianne has been using their services for over 10 years. She is 17, is non-verbal, uses a wheelchair most of the time and has multiple learning difficulties. She is also one of the sweetest, funniest, and happiest people I know and going to Challengers has made such a huge difference to her and our lives as a family. So we knew that we wanted to fundraise and give back to Challengers.
My charity: Challengers
Challengers is a local charity that runs play and activity schemes for disabled children and young people aged 2-25 across the south east. They support over 1,400 disabled young people through their Preschool, Play, Youth, and Young Adult schemes. One of the most important things about Challengers is that they never ever exclude a child – no matter what disability a young person has, Challengers makes sure that they can come to their schemes to play, relax, try new activities, and just be themselves. Arianne goes to a Youth scheme which runs on Saturdays and during the Easter and Summer holidays and takes part in activities such as rock climbing, painting, accessible cycling, and trips to the cinema and beach.
Challengers also gives a vital break to the parents, carers and families of disabled young people. Whilst their child is at Challengers, parents are able to rest, recuperate, and spend time with their friends and other family members.
I started running at quite a young age doing mostly long distance and cross country running. I always enjoyed it and was encouraged to do it so kept training and taking part in events. I have found it harder to keep running as I have got older and since starting my job, but signing up to events is definitely a good motivation to get training. I took part in Kelly’s cross country challenge last year and am doing it again this year and love taking part with lots of people. When I start training the first run is always the hardest, but then it just gets easier from there and it’s so enjoyable when you can see yourself getting better and faster each time.
Setting up an online fundraising page is always a good start and then you just have to let all of your friends and family know about it. I always share my fundraising pages on social media and get my parents to send an email to their friends too. The bigger the challenge and the more people you tell about it, the more you will raise for the charity. My family and I all took part in a triathlon with Arianne in the summer and was able to raise nearly £4,000 for Challengers!
Word of advice
Start small with your training and slowly build it up. It also helps if you have a friend or family member to run with and keep you motivated. If running isn’t really your thing but you still want to raise money for charity then there are so many other challenges out there. My family and I also did a skydive to raise money for the charity Challengers so you can do anything!