This year will be different – there won’t be a JustGiving page, no personal targets or figures because this year I want you to donate directly to children like Maddy and ensure their one true wish becomes a reality.
My journey started in 2017 where I took on 13 challenges, 1 a month, in aid of Make-A-Wish UK – thanks to my family, friends and supporters we raised over £2,500, but I aim to push myself harder and further this year and raise even more money and ensure Make-A-Wish can grant even more magical wishes to seriously ill children.
As I gear up for my first challenge of 2018 – cycling 400 miles from Dover to St Austell in under 40hrs – I reflect on the most asked questions. Why I picked Make-A-Wish, particularly as I’ve not had a wish granted myself, and why I push myself so hard for a Charity that I have no real connection with?
Why challenge yourself?
While Make-A-Wish is at the very heart of what I am doing, I am clearly doing this for myself as well – as a way to change, to give something back and to be a positive role model for my own children.
Before this journey I wasn’t a huge user of social media, but having discovered its potential for good I’ve seen so many people doing amazing things in aid of their own chosen charity and I love that. Everyone’s reason for fundraising is as different as they are, but I think at the core of it is one simple fact. I think people do it because they want to be able to do more for their Charity – we form a connection, not always a personal connection, just a fundamental belief in the cause and the mission. I can’t find or fund a cure, I don’t have the influence of a celebrity…but I can and want to do something.
But fundraising is about more than just the money, it is about raising awareness of some extremely important issues – whether it’s to bring some happiness and hope to children facing life threatening conditions, or to help people across the UK keep their homes or to simply start a conversation about mental health – every positive action matters and makes a difference.
I flippantly say that I am trying to change the world, it is probably a bit sanctimonious but I am and more than that I believe I can.
I am a (fairly) successful middle class man and I have enough money to live comfortably within my means. While there are loads of things I would like, I can honestly say I have (almost) everything I need in my life. I grew up in a stable, loving home and while I’ve had some challenges of my own to overcome I am fortunate and grateful for where I came from and where I am today. While the road has been up and down and I got lost, and lost things along the way, I am happy and healthy and that counts for a lot.
So to get back to the original question of why challenge myself. I’m not wealthy but I do believe that I am in a position where I have a responsibility to help those in need. We all live by our moral codes and while there are lots of things wrong with the world we live in, for me a child suffering is like a dagger to the heart and something I desperately want to be able to change. So if I can push myself so to help raise some awareness and money towards what I consider to be a very worthy cause, then I will, time and time again.
Make-A-Wish do something that is so inherently magical, something that the NHS cannot – they make a seriously ill child’s one true wish a reality.
Make-A-Wish believe that every child’s wish is different and their reason for wishing it is unique to them. Whether they wish to be a princess or a policeman for a day, own the latest computer equipment, meet a favourite celebrity or just enjoy a special holiday with their family – Make-A-Wish strive to make those wishes a magical reality that enriches the child’s life at a time when they need it most. It can give them hope for the future in anticipation for their wish to come true, it can provide confidence, a sense of well-being and time with their family to create memories to treasure.
These wishes can quite literally transform the physical, emotional and psychological well-being of a seriously ill child.
So no, it a wish is not a cure – that isn’t what it is about. A wish is magic, it is hope, it is a laugh and a smile on a child’s face, it is respite and it is memories and, damn it, that is powerful stuff.
Who are Make-A-Wish UK?
Make-A-Wish exist for one reason, to grant life changing wishes to children with critical illnesses. Why? Because a child’s life shouldn’t be about illness, hospitals and diagnosis – it should be about wonder, joy and hope. Wishes are available to children aged 3-17, living in the UK with and diagnosed with a life-threatening condition.
By the end of 2016 Make-A-Wish granted 984 wishes, more than ever before, and have now granted over 11,000 since the Charity was established in 1986. However demand for wishes continues to grow and the work of volunteers, fundraisers and supporters is more important than ever.
Donating for Wishes
This year, as I take on 4 of the hardest challenges to date, I don’t want you to sponsor me. That said, I do want you to be generous, I want you to dig deep and I want you to do something magical for a child like Maddy.
Maddy, who was diagnosed with metastatic Wilms’ tumour, wishes to see the Roman ruins in Pompeii! With your help, we can literately turn these wishes in to reality.
Wishgranter Amy, from Make-A-Wish, is helping her to plan an incredible history-filled trip, including a rooftop swimming pool for Maddy, a day trip to the ruins, and plenty of quality time for the whole family to get back to normality together.
“Planning her wish is such a positive thing for Maddy,” Victoria, Maddy’s mum said “It’s given her something to look forward to after so much uncertainty. When she lost all the weight, it was Italian food that got her back on track, so we can’t wait to enjoy the real thing in Sorrento, especially the ice cream!”
Find out more about Maddy’s wish and donate here – http://bit.ly/milesforwishes