So many amazing charities....
I am often asked ‘why support Shooting Star when there are so many amazing charities?'. It would indeed be wrong for us to fundraise for one without mentioning the many other charities who have supported us over the years. This blog covers all of those that have helped us along our journey.
Ten years ago I received a ballot place for London Marathon and actually struggled to decide who to support. I had seen from a distance the impact that charities make, but had never been directly impacted by their help. My allegiance was split between the British Heart Foundation and Alzheimer's Society and eventually supported the Alzheimer's Society following the recent death of my Grandmother.
When I ran the London Marathon, I realised just how many fantastic charities there are out there, all needing support. Over the years I have seen friend's and families' lives blighted by cancer, T1 diabetes and other illnesses and thank goodness there are charities in existence to make lives just a little bit easier at such a difficult time.
As a family, we have received direct support from the following and want to thank them all.
Young Epilepsy - a charity setup to improve the futures of young people with epilepsy and their families - setup and ran a support group in Weybridge which introduced me to a number of wonderful people and an immediate support network with people that understood some of the same issues we were facing and gave me a chance to ask the questions that I couldn't ask elsewhere.
Great Ormond Street Hospital Charity - A chain of coincidences introduced us to GOSH in the first place, and it is no exaggeration to say that George might not still be alive or functioning as well as he is without the proactive and innovative care we have had from the hospital. The charity directly funds much of the innovation, clinical trials, and child entertainment and care to make children's lives a little easier whilst in the hospital. They also fund the parent support accommodation making hospital visits logistically easier for hundreds of parents. The hospital gave us hope from day one and we truly believe they have tried everything in their power to control his intractable epilepsy.
Make a Wish - an amazing wish-maker from this charity came and visited George, listened and spent time understanding what would make an unforgettable memory for George. They organised an incredible weekend at Center Parcs, complete with a private quad-bike session!
National Autistic Society - As the presentation of George's combined illness changed, NAS provided huge support whilst we were working on and applying for his education and health care plan (EHCP). Anyone who has gone through this arduous and frustrating process will understand that help and advice during this time is essential.
Crossroads - The in-home disability care team in Surrey helped with some home care, and especially with funding applications to support George.
Disability Challengers - Challengers is a fabulous local charity offering fun days out for children with disabilities. George has attended a number of Challengers days out, and Mia has been inspired to support and now volunteers here at weekends!
So why Shooting Star Children's Hospices? We thought long and hard about this. Every one of the charities listed deserves our support, time and fundraising. We have supported in the past and hope to again in the future. But this year we have focused on Shooting Star.
Shooting Star is a local charity reliant on generous supporters for 90% of their running cost. We clearly don't want anyone else to go through what George has, but if they do we hope that they too can access Shooting Star or a similar charity for care and respite. Our campaign is about putting Shooting Star at the forefront of people's minds and ensuring they get the funding they desperately need. As many of you may know I have deliberately shut off social media this year and was about to close my FB page. However, for Shooting Star Children's Hospices we are willing to put ourselves out there for one year and seriously hope that we can make a difference.
I apologise to all my friends and family who have had to listen to me get excited about our campaign, and in advance for the weekly posts over the next year, but for the next 10 months they will continue... If we can make a difference to just one child's life by funding a nurse, an extra bed, a weekend of respite care, a session in the hydro-pool, or a remembrance box for a bereaved family it will be more than worth it. Please do go to their website www.shootingstar.org.uk to find out more.
As I began, there are so many amazing charities out there, and so many that have helped us directly. This post is a huge thank you and a shout out to them all!!! We really wouldn't be where we are without any of you!