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Leah and Ade made it to Everest Base Camp!

Posted on: November 22nd, 2017 by Nikki Rowley

   

When Leah Pargeter, Digital Marketing Officer at workplace product specialists Direct2U, contacted us earlier this year to tell us that she and her Dad Ade were going to trek to Everest Base Camp to raise money for Promise Dreams we were delighted, nervous for them, excited, in awe, and had one main question… WHY?!

We have worked with Leah and her colleagues at Direct2U for over three years now and they regularly organise and take part in fundraising activities to support us, as well as making donations from sales of their products. The whole team are well known in our office for being creative with their fundraising and always going the extra mile to support us. Last year we were beyond impressed to hear that Leah and Ade had made it to the summit of Kilimanjaro but we never imagined that within just a few months they would have signed up for the next challenge, nor that their next challenge would be as huge as… well… Everest.

We followed their journey as they made their way to base camp as best as social media would allow (Leah tells us there is Wi-Fi available on the mountain, but it comes at a price!) and we had regular updates from her colleagues to let us know that they were safe (we did get worried when they were asked to sign their life away before they had even boarded the plane, but Leah assures us it only adds to the experience!), but of course as soon as they landed back in the UK we (Ali, PD Community Fundraiser, and Nikki, PD Dream & Marketing Coordinator) arranged to go and see Leah to hear all about it and find out how they had successfully completed their mission and raised over £2200 for our charity in the process!

Leah was a dancer from a young age until her teenage years but admits that she is not the most active person by nature. When she went to university she soon realised that she wasn’t exercising as much as she wanted to be and she began thinking of ways she could motivate herself to get moving again. She explained: “My Dad, Ade, has always loved the mountains. He and my Grandad used to camp most weekends and hike to the top of Snowdon or Scafell Pike. Camping is not my thing at all but I do love climbing the mountains for the gorgeous views from the top. After watching Comic Relief and seeing Cheryl Cole climbing Mount Kilimanjaro, I found it so inspiring that I decided in the spur of the moment that I wanted to do it myself. I asked my Dad if he wanted to do it with me and I was surprised that he said no! He didn’t think I was serious enough about it so he challenged me to join the gym and come back to him in a year’s time if I was still keen to take it on. I did it and the following year he took me seriously enough to sign us both up for the challenge.”

At this point both Ali and I let out a little gasp of excitement! For us, this is where the story really starts. We knew Leah throughout her training for Kilimanjaro, followed her updates as she went on training weekends (which even included camping! Outside! With no showers!) and were so chuffed last year when we saw the photos of her at the summit. Leah and Ade found it such a humbling, life-changing, challenging experience that as soon as they had finished they were planning their next adventure. The Everest Base Camp trek is a popular follow-on for many people who have successfully tackled Kilimanjaro so it seemed the obvious choice to them.

Leah explained that most people think that the challenge involves climbing to the summit of Everest, and that when you explain that it isn’t the summit that you’re trekking to (even the most experienced mountaineers have to train for around 5-10years before an attempt to reach the summit) they assume that the challenge isn’t as much of a feat as they had first thought. Let’s clarify something: it is an absolutely huge, crazy, dangerous, physically and mentally demanding challenge. The summit of Everest has an altitude of 8,848 above sea level. At 5,364 metres, anyone who makes it to Base Camp has therefore already made it almost two thirds of the way there. Over half of the people who attempt to reach Base Camp suffer from altitude sickness and for many of them it is so severe that they are unable to reach their destination. Whilst altitude sickness wasn’t a huge problem for Leah, Ade really suffered from it on this trip, but amazingly the duo both still made it to the camp. Out of a group of 20 who started the trek with Leah and Ade, 5 were airlifted off the mountain.

We asked Leah some of the most burning questions we had about life on the mountain and we are sure you will want to know the answers too (just in case you’re thinking of adding it to your bucket list which, after hearing Leah talk about it so passionately, we are):

Toilet facilities are usually a hole in the ground over a deep pit, known as long drops. They are only located at the lodges so in between camps it is wherever you find a bush! Toilet roll is never provided so take your own!

Food is basic – rice, beans, vegetables, and as many energy bars as you can carry in your day pack. Leah said that despite the amount of calories they were burning each day through trekking, she lost her appetite due to altitude sickness and had to force herself to eat as much as possible to keep energy levels up.

Showers were limited. Occasionally they would reach a camp with showers and hot water but they were rare. Leah explained that you soon get used to not showering!

The routes are busy, full of people taking on the challenge, Sherpas, and lots of yaks!

The weather can change extremely quickly. At the time when Leah and Ade went there wasn’t much snow – this one certainly surprised us to hear as we had visions of Leah trekking across a snow-covered Everest surrounded by a freezing, Disney Frozen-style icy wind! In actual fact Leah said she found it warmer than the Kilimanjaro trek they had done last year.

The experience was by far the best thing they have ever done.

All in all a successful feat. We are so proud of Leah and Ade who have tackled not one but two incredible challenges in two years that most people wouldn’t even think about doing in an entire lifetime. We can’t thank them enough for their efforts and are so glad they completed the trip safely. On top of all of their efforts they raised over £2200 for our small charity – such a huge achievement in its own right! Well done and thank you Leah and Ade – we can’t wait to see what you take on next!

https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/team-podge

Moog and friends take on Ben Nevis!

Posted on: September 21st, 2017 by Nikki Rowley

In April this year we were delighted to hear from Paula Whitehouse, Engineering Administrator at Moog Aircraft Group Wolverhampton, who contacted us to say that herself and a team of her colleagues had decided to climb Ben Nevis to raise funds for Promise Dreams. We immediately arranged to meet the team of trekkers to introduce ourselves and find out more about what had made them decide to take on this challenge. Three years ago they climbed Snowdon in memory of a friend who had always been a keen hiker. As soon as they reached the summit they knew they couldn’t stop there, and decided to make it their mission to complete the Three Peaks Challenge in its entirety by also taking on Scafell Pike and Ben Nevis over the following two years. The team had a mixture of hiking experience between them and some were new to the Moog Trekkers team this year. However even those who had never taken on a challenge of this kind before felt that raising funds to help poorly children have their dreams was too important an opportunity to pass up.

A few weeks later we met another member of the Moog Trekkers, Renata, an English teacher at City of Wolverhampton College. Renata’s husband works for Moog so when she heard about the challenge his colleagues were taking on she signed herself up immediately. Within her lesson plans she organised fundraisers with her students which added a whopping £1001.85 to the team total. As well as asking for sponsorship from friends and family the team took some of our merchandise including teddy bears, wristbands, pin badges and car stickers and sold them in the canteen at their offices, which raised another few hundred pounds and got everyone in the building talking about both the event and the work that we do here at Promise Dreams.

In the lead up to the challenge and on the day of the trek itself, the team used a Promise Dreams teddy bear as their mascot, named Melvin, who kept the public updated on how he and the team were getting on! We loved seeing what he was up to and so did our supporters who checked in regularly to catch the latest news. The weather on the day provided another challenge for the team, with visibility low and conditions very cold and wet, but they made it to the top with no major ailments and we were so pleased to hear from them when they had completed it!

We waited until the team had thawed out and were back on their feet before visiting them again at their office to say a huge well done and hear all about how they got on. The overwhelming feeling from everyone involved was that the challenge had been an amazing team building exercise and a huge tick on everyone’s bucket lists. Despite being such a huge physical challenge, the team were united in the feeling of relief, pride and achievement when they reached the summit. More than anything they were all over the moon to hear that their efforts had raised a huge £2920 in total and even more excited to hear that this had turned not one but two dreams into reality.

 

6 year old twins Caleb and Callistus both have cerebral palsy. They each had a specialist trike made for them when they were younger that allowed them to play outside with each other, go on family bike rides in the countryside with their parents, and join in at school when they had outdoor time. However they were rapidly outgrowing them and their mum Jayne contacted us to ask whether we might be able to help fund some new ones that would last them right into their teenage years. The bikes are so important because they are made individually for each of the boys’ specific needs. They are also lightweight enough that they can pedal themselves, an additional opportunity to exercise their muscles and keeping them as strong and active as they possibly can be.

The made-to-order trikes finally arrived this week and the boys LOVE them! This dream just wouldn’t have been possible without Moog, the City of Wolverhampton College, and the individuals who selflessly signed up for this tough challenge and Caleb, Callistus, and all of us here at Promise Dreams can’t thank you all enough!

  

 

Turn your old £1 coins into dreams!

Posted on: September 14th, 2017 by Nikki Rowley

The old £1 coin will go out of circulation on 15th October, but there are still hundreds of them out there! We are calling on YOU to find them and donate them to Promise Dreams so that we can turn them into special dreams for some very brave children like Skylah. Skylah has a brain tumour and her family wanted to make her birthday as special as they possibly could. We arranged for her to have a princess makeover at the Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique and a horse and carriage ride through London. Her face was a picture, especially when a taxi pulled up next to her horse and carriage and told his passengers “Look, there’s the princess!” She had a day that neither she nor her parents will ever forget and they were able to make amazing memories as a family that they can hold on to no matter what the future holds. It would not be possible to make dreams like this happen without the support of people like you so generously fundraising and donating to Promise Dreams.

Look out for Promise Dreams collection tins and buckets around the West Midlands area, including pubs, convenience stores and Sainsbury’s Reedswood store, where you can donate them and help us to make more dreams come true. Alternatively you can drop them in to our office based at Junction 2 of the M54, or donate yours online by clicking here. Give us a call on 01902 212451 to find out more!

Brake Caliper Specialists race to help

Posted on: August 8th, 2017 by Nikki Rowley

Nottingham-based company BCS (Brake Caliper Specialists) have decided to support Promise Dreams after owner and director Richard Munt agreed to fight in an amateur MMA (mixed martial arts / cage fighting) competition supporting the charity.

After researching the work that Promise Dreams do for terminally ill children, Richard instantly felt compelled to help. He said “I have always wanted to do something amazing for other people, as a business owner I am always busy, but with this arrangement I can have a positive effect on people’s lives. I am often told that I am too kind for my own good, but I am determined to leave the world a little better than I found it. We can all do something to improve the lives of others, you should do what you can. We can’t all take from the world, you have to give back too.”

BCS have vowed to help Promise Dreams by making a donation for every customer who sends their brakes for refurbishment. In addition to that, £5 for every 4 or 5 star review received from their customers. Richard said “I wanted to involve the staff in making a difference, I suppose it is a way to further force quality into our work. If the lads are mindful that doing a great job for our customers may result in a great review, thus another £5 donation to Promise Dreams, then they will know that doing a great job is no longer just about job satisfaction and earning a wage but they will have a direct impact on a child’s life too, nothing can compete with that, not even a pay rise.”

A donation in this way means no extra time or effort needed from Richard’s team but a huge difference being made to Promise Dreams.

Daniel Smith, Corporate Partnerships Manager at Promise Dreams said, “We are thrilled that Richard and his team have chosen to support our small charity. With only 6 members of staff we are always so grateful to anyone who can help us raise even more money. To have a company recognising the importance of the work we do and choosing to support us without causing extra work for themselves is a win-win for everybody. This is also a fantastic opportunity for us to promote the work that we do to more families across the country who may be able to apply to us. We can’t thank BCS enough for choosing to work with us in this way and we’re extremely excited about the partnership.”

BCS are the leading experts in Brake Caliper Refurbishment to the trade and owner driver. Accredited by Which? as a Trusted Trader, the company offer a range of services including refurbishment, repair and colour customization and work with calipers from Classic cars, Modern Hyper-Cars, Fords to Ferraris, Ladas to Lamborghinis, TVRs to Toyotas. Visit www.brakecaliperspecialists.uk to find out more.

NCP launch Promise Dreams car park

Posted on: August 1st, 2017 by Nikki Rowley

Our manager Bev was at NCP’s Fryer Street car park in Wolverhampton today to celebrate the launch of the parking provider’s new initiative to help raise money for our very brave children.

 

Bev Bird with Brad Holcombe, NCP’s Outer Birmingham Cluster Manager, at the car park in Fryer Street Wolverhampton

 

From today [1 August], NCP will donate 10p from every parking ticket sold via the Fryer Street car park ticket machines, by phone or online (excluding season tickets) to our charity. NCP Business Manager for the West Midlands, Sue Winmill, said: “Our Fryer Street car park offers affordable, convenient parking right in the heart of Wolverhampton. It is popular with commuters, shoppers and theatre-goers alike, and with an average of 500 cars passing through its barriers every week, we’re confident we should be able to donate well over £2,000 a year to the charity. Promise Dreams receives no grants or government funding, but they do such sterling work that we felt they deserved a little extra help. If our donations help to make dreams come true, even for just a handful of children, it will be worthwhile. NCP’s own nominated charity this year is children’s hospitals, and Promise Dreams works closely with children’s hospitals across the country, so we felt the two tied in really nicely.”

We are delighted NCP have chosen Promise Dreams to receive 10p from every ticket purchased at its Fryer Street car park. The partnership will not only mean more people hearing about our small charity as they use the popular central car park to easily access Wolverhampton city centre, it will also raise a substantial amount of money for our charity over the next year which will help us to help some very special children have their dream. Sometimes their dream is to go on a once-in-a-lifetime holiday to Disneyland, and sometimes it is simply a few days at the seaside with their brothers and sisters. Often their dream might be sensory equipment to transform their bedroom into a calming haven.

We can’t thank NCP enough for choosing to support us through this initiative and would encourage anyone visiting Wolverhampton to use the car park whenever possible so that they can help us reach even more families in need.

Direct2U are walking for dreams!

Posted on: June 26th, 2017 by Nikki Rowley

Direct2U is a network of specialists providing tailored solutions for every office requirement. Based in Stourbridge, they have been a huge supporter of ours for several years now, donating £1 from every order placed through their Lockers Direct2U and Wheelie Bins Direct2U websites. So far this has raised over £8000 for our charity, an amazing amount of money that has made a huge different to the work that we do here at Promise Dreams. To put it into perspective, £8000 has allowed us to help between 5 and 8 more families to have their lives changed for the better. Not only have Direct2U offered us phenomenal support through their company, but the staff have chosen to support us outside of work too through a variety of fundraising events. Last year five members of staff took on the Coast 2 Coast Cycle challenge and raised over £1200, the team regularly hold bake sales and an annual Christmas Jumper competition, and this October Leah Pargeter, Digital Marketing Coordinator, will be conquering Mount Everest and asking for donations to Promise Dreams for her bravery and determination.

Each year the team also take part in Walk for Dreams, our annual sponsored walk. We asked them to explain what supporting Promise Dreams means to them and why they choose to continue their association with our charity year after year.

“We’ve been supporting Promise Dreams at Direct2U for several years now and this will be the fourth walk that we’ll be involved in. And we can’t wait! Promise Dreams asked us why we took part in the walk each year. The answer was simple – it’s good fun, makes you feel good about yourself whilst helping a fantastic charity and it is definitely a good team building exercise.

As a local business, we support Promise Dreams by donating £1 from every order placed through our Lockers and Wheelie Bin websites. £1 is a small amount but for busy websites like ours these donations soon mount up, and from a business point of view this is an easy way to make a difference for our chosen charity. Alongside these donations we like to do some community events through the workplace whether it’s a bake sale, our football competition or taking on the Coast 2 Coast challenge. But most of all we love to take part Promise Dream’s biggest event of the year – Walk for Dreams.

When the walk is on the horizon, it’s great how everyone comes together and wants to take part in some way. For us this can be walking, sponsoring or being a marshal. When is gets close to the walk we make a start by putting up the posters around the offices and the factory and go spread the word that Walk for Dreams is back.

Two years ago we had a very kind visit from Steve Bull who came to rally the troops. As a business based in the West Midlands the atmosphere in the offices and factory was electric that day. Even the West Brom fans were kind. He took time to have photos and signed one person’s personalised Wolves sack truck! Signing a sack truck was a first I think, but certainly made a memorable moment. This was really a high point across the 4 years and he helped us get a great team to walk together and raise sponsors and awareness of the charity through the workplace.

When we began drafting ideas for this post we started by looking through some photographs and boy did they unearth some memories. Here are some of our favourite moments along with some quotes from a few employees who have taken part in Walk for Dreams.

 Meeting Poppet for the first time on our very first walk with a team from Direct2U back in 2014.

“It’s for a great cause and when you see everyone there as well as the children who have been helped by the charity taking part it gives you the motivation you need to get to the end” – Leah Pargeter

Meeting a family who came to tell us about the amazing work that Promise Dreams does at the end of Walk for Dreams 2015.

“What struck me most when I took part in Walk for Dreams was the overwhelming sense of togetherness. As people took on a challenge to raise money for this great charity.” – Greg Higgitt

Some fun at the end of Walk for Dreams 2014 – even after the walk there was still some energy to see who was king of gladiators!

“I’ve taken part in Walk for Dreams a few times now and every year the atmosphere is fantastic. It’s such a family day, filled with laughter and plenty of smiles. It really is a delight to take part and help raise money for Promise Dreams.” – Fiona Higgitt

 In 2016 we decided to help out as marshals – it was a tad chilly and wet that day but it certainly didn’t dampen anyone’s spirit.

“I have walked a few times and marshalled Walk for Dreams. It’s a great day where you get to meet lots of new people and all for an amazing charity”. – Paul Mainprice

“There is always such a fantastic atmosphere on the day, the walk is enjoyable but feels even more special as you know you are raising money for such a great cause. It’s wonderful to see how many people get involved each year!” – Ben Jeavons

 Becky and Ben with Poppet as they started their Walk for Dreams 2016.

“Last year was my first time of joining the Promise Dreams Walk and it was a fab experience. That much I’ve signed up again for this year!! It’s for such a good cause and so inspiring to see the walkers out in force, you don’t mind a little leg ache the next day!!” – Rebecca Watson

Here at Direct 2U we are really proud to be taking part in Walk for Dreams for the fourth year in a row, and we’re looking forward to seeing the finish line again this year. It’s a very family orientated day, so you can join in whatever your age or fitness and become part of the Promise Dreams family. See you there!”

 

To sign up for this year’s walk please visit www.walkfordreams.co.uk/register. Thank you in advance for your support 🙂