Check out what we got up to in April by clicking the link below!
Check out what we got up to in April by clicking the link below!
Back in January we were contacted by Stewart Abrahart who works for AltoDigital, a company who provide office technology and supplies and who have supported us for years, to say that he had secured a place to run in the Reading half marathon on Sunday 19th March. We were delighted to hear that he had chosen to fundraise for us! Having had a passion for running since he was young, Stewart decided that now was the time to take on his biggest running event yet and he set himself huge targets for both his fundraising and running time. He worked extremely hard to promote the charity to everyone he came into contact with and explain the importance of people’s donations and the difference that they could truly make. As a result of his efforts he raised a phenomenal £4177! We asked him to put into his own words why he decided to take on such a huge physical challenge for Promise Dreams and the fundraising journey he went on to achieve such an awe-inspiring total. Read on to find out more…
“In December 2016, I was fortunate enough to be invited to an event for Promise Dreams. It was an incredible event that REALLY opened my eyes to the hardships some people face every day.
In fact, it got me thinking about the 24 fantastic years I’ve been fortunate enough to enjoy. 24 years with nothing more than a couple of hamstring injuries, a couple of hip operations, and a rolled ankle or two! I couldn’t imagine being 5, 10 or even 15, and learning you have a terminal illness or a serious debilitating condition that you have to contend with for your entire life! So I decided to take matters into my own hands and raise money one step at a time. I registered for the Reading Vitality half marathon and set an incredibly lofty goal for myself, one that I knew would be tough to reach. I set a goal of 3000 pounds raised – no looking back now!
My exercise started about 2 months before March 19th, the day of the Half-Marathon. I started slow but picked up the distance within the final month. When I first started, the initial excitement over raising money for Promise Dreams got me through. But as I started running longer and longer distances, having a great cause and raising money for incredibly courageous kids, helped push me past my threshold. This was my first half-marathon event, so long-distance wasn’t in my vocabulary. BUT thinking about the incredibly courageous kids REALLY did help push me through my long runs.
On the day of the event, I had a lot of excitement before the resounding gunshot, especially considering over 10,000 runners participated! It actually ended up being quite an emotional event, as not only did we come in well over target at 135%, but my dad and grandma also came out to the event.
The last time I formally did a running event was over 14 years ago, when I was in elementary school. I was actually competing for a “mile record” in elementary school – I took my running very seriously back then! So on the day of my race, I told my grandparents that they weren’t allowed to watch because I was too nervous that I would fail. Later that day, I not only broke the record but actually broke the 6-minute mark, clocking in at 5:59. To my surprise, my grandparents and my mom had ignored my concern and hopped the 3-meter fence surrounding the track, to watch me run, hidden under the stands!
Looking back, I couldn’t have been happier that my grandparents saw me beat that record. I was overjoyed that they ignored my request and made it to the event. Flash forward to my half-marathon, it dawned on me, and I had a somewhat emotional moment realizing that my nan was going to see me perform again, this time at my own request. I also knew that my granddad was watching from up above, and so it turned into a very emotional and important event for me. Knowing they were both there watching me run my half-marathon, I decided to give it my all, even if it meant collapsing at the finish line.
I ended up running to sheer exhaustion and clocking in at 1:40:13, about 7:40 per mile. Not quite the enjoyable “stroll in the park,” I’d initially hoped for, but it was well worth it! Not only could I not let my grandparents down, but I couldn’t let down all the kids who have fought so hard for issues far exceeding anything I have faced. Finishing the race with nothing left in the tank, gave me a sense of purpose that day. I felt like I had given my all.”
Now that 2015 is well under way it is time to say a very special thank you to all those who have already made the year extra special for children with a dream. Many people made the difficult choice in December about how ‘best’ to send their festive message, season’s greetings and kind thoughts when buying Christmas cards. We asked people to consider whether purchasing endless packs of traditional cards was the only way they can send messages of love and best wishes to those we really care about. That’s how ‘Send A Dream’ came about.
Yet again, we were astounded by the number of schools, shops and businesses that asked us for our huge Christmas card that could be signed for a small donation to Promise Dreams – the charity that actively supports as children suffering from serious illnesses throughout the year.
Charity and Schools fundraising Co-ordinator Lisa Needham said, ‘A huge, heart-felt thank you to everyone who signed our cards. You have made children and families everywhere so very, very happy this year.’
Britons posted around 750 million Christmas cards to family and friends in 2014, according to Royal Mail; and with first class stamps costing 41p and second class 32p, plus the cost of the card in the first place, this is a lot of money that some may feel could be spent in a different, more charitable way. It is a hard choice, as we all love receiving messages of goodwill and we know that cards have a personal value and serve as a keepsake. However, the ‘Send A Dream’ card campaign touched hundreds of people who thought about it deeply; and demonstrated that it is worth spending time [and a few pennies!] thinking of others possibly less fortunate than themselves in a very special, unique way.
As Lisa explained, ‘The ‘Send A Dream’ card is a simple sceme where we deliver a lovely large Christmas card to anyone who who can encourage others to sign, send a simple greeting and donate as much or as little as they can afford at that time. Sending a message this way really does help send a dream to a child that needs one!’
Tettenhall Head Teacher Kate Jackson is passionate about the ‘Send A Dream’ campaign and her staff and children at St. Michael’s Primary School all got behind the scheme as she explained, ‘It is very popular with our children who can empathise with other children who are sick and unlikely to have such an active or energetic Christmas as they have. They really dig deep into their pocket money and give with genuine kindness. They make the campaign so special but we know others in the community do so as well. We are fortunate that local shops, big business organisations and of course, ordinary people in the community contribute and care so much about others.’
Well this Christmas campaign was truly exceptional with the ‘Send A Dream’ Christmas Card raising an incredible £1,740.54!
On behalf of everyone who will benefit from your generosity the Promise Dreams team send you our very best wishes for the coming year and our deepest thanks.
You can help our very special children to get their dream in 2016 by putting your festive message into one of our large Christmas cards instead of sending your own cards to colleagues when it comes to Christmas this year. Schools, shops, local businesses and even family and friends can get involved and make it a very special Christmas for children who need a little help – just by writing a lovely message and donating some change to promise a dream come true.
If you can help us, we will bring a special Promise Dreams card for you to display and all we ask is that every time someone signs they make a donation to Promise Dreams. If this sounds like something that you would like to be involved with then please give me a call on the number below.
Please contact us on: 01902 212451 or email: email@example.com
Boundary Industrial Estate
Promise Dreams is a National charity dedicated to helping seriously ill and terminally ill children and their families by turning a very special wish into reality – whether the child would like a holiday, a toy, medical treatment or equipment, house alterations, or even the chance to meet their favourite celebrity!
Everyone at Promise Dreams works tirelessly to organise a range of fundraising events from golf days to gala dinners and sponsored fun runs to packing carrier bags at checkout counters. Staff and volunteers have rolled up their sleeves and quite literally ‘gone that extra mile’ to make sure dreams get delivered.
Children and grown-ups, especially those who are sick and have life limiting conditions, sometimes need help. They need dreams, and you help make them come true.
To be part of Promise Dreams is special. Friends are made and families strengthened. Hopes are raised and dreams fulfilled. But it is you that make Promise Dreams so special. You take the time to help where you can and keep in your thoughts, those who need support.
As Nikki Rowley, Charity Administrator for Promise Dreams said:
‘A huge thank you for all of your support over the last year. We have seen everything in 2014 from world-famous tattoo artists at the tattoo festival to real reindeer at Leekes’ Christmas weekend. We have bag-packed, gift-wrapped, leaflet-dropped and bucket-collected. We’ve danced around to everyone from Union J to UB40 all while spreading the word about our special charity, and who could forget Walk For Dreams 2014 – the biggest challenge we have ever taken on ourselves. We absolutely could not have done these things without your help and support. We really appreciate you being a part of the Promise Dreams community.’
The New Year is a time for resolutions and we do hope you will make your continued support of Promise Dreams a high priority. Until then, our heartfelt thanks go to you. And of course …
People become volunteers for many different reasons. Some find a cause they believe in, some want to ‘put something back’ into the community, others want to ‘discover themselves,’ develop hidden talents or learn new skills. The latest winner of the Lyn Evans Fundraising Award 2013/14 seems to embody all three!
Claire Felton is a volunteer, well known to the Promise Dreams team; and a regular at most of our fundraising events.
Here’s a little more about Claire …
Claire hails from Willenhall near Wolverhampton and is happily married to Westley and mother to three children, Connor, Becky and Freya. She has had more than her fair share of health issues, is a diabetic and has a heart condition. Although she is unable to work, she does have boundless energy and a deep desire to contribute to the well-being of the community.
Her involvement with Promise Dreams began few years ago when she successfully applied for a grant to buy a Wendy house for daughter Freya. ‘She has hereditary pancreatitis and it does prevent her from leading what many other children would know as a normal life. She is such a courageous little girl and doesn’t make demands or want for very much at all. In fact, her dream was her own Wendy house. Promise Dreams granted her wish and she still treasures that Wendy house with all her heart. It gets, cleaned, painted and furnished on a regular basis – in fact, it looks brand new even now!’
With Freya’s dream fulfilled, Claire could be forgiven for walking away and immersing herself in the role of proud Mum looking after the needs of a lovely, busy family. Not a bit of it. As Claire explains, ‘I can’t work full time but I wanted to put something back into the community, into the charity that has helped my family so much. I want to keep active, involved and feel that I am contributing.’
To that end, Claire has stood at supermarket counters packing bags for customers, making tea for volunteers, stuffed letters and leaflets into envelopes, wrapped gifts for Christmas retailers, blown up balloons for major events, laid tables at parties, undertaken door-to-door collections, played in charity football matches and even organised 43 people to take part in the recent sponsored ‘Walk for Dreams’ charity event in Wolverhampton. And all the money she has raised goes to the children and families supported by Promise Dreams.
Volunteering is clearly in the blood of both family and friends as her team, ‘Freya’s Walkers,’ consisted of a 64 year old granddad and a 6 month old baby in a pushchair – all dressed as superheroes!
All in all, ‘Freya’s Walkers’ raised £2,700 on the walk for their favourite charity – Promise Dreams.
‘I felt really proud. It was overwhelming, such a proud moment. It was so emotional. Promise Dreams have supported my family and now all my friends are involved and helping the charity I love. It’s amazing how Promise Dreams and all my friends are really now my family.’
Claire became a well deserved winner of the Lyn Evans Fundraising Award for 2013/14 at the recent gala dinner, ‘Putting on the Ritz.’ She has given selflessly of her time, her energy and her desire to help others. She has also learned many skills along the way and feels she is better person for being a volunteer. ‘It has helped me in a deeper way. It has shown me that people really care and if we all help each other then the world is a better place to be. I have learned not to judge people. Freya has a Wendy house. It is her hideaway where she can be herself and she knows no-one passes judgement on her. It gives her safety, security and peace of mind. We all want that don’t we? Watching her play in peace has given me the confidence and space to do my own thing – volunteer for Promise Dreams.’
Claire is just one of dozens of volunteers who make the effort to help others; and the Promise Dreams doors are always open to those who are willing to give as Charity Manager Bev Bird explains, ‘Some people can give a few hours every week, others are only available for a day during the Summer. It doesn’t matter how much time you give. What matters is that you give for the right reasons. We are so very, very fortunate that we have people who answer the call for help on a regular basis but … we do need even more people to get involved. We organise fundraising events throughout the year but that doesn’t stop people doing their own thing. They can raise money in many different ways and we will help them start the ball rolling if they just get in touch. It is easy, lots of fun and very worthwhile.’
We know that Claire has a packed year ahead of her. She is will be doing the usual bag packing, leaflet drops and getting her team together for the 2015 ‘Walk for Dreams’ but she is also organising a tribute band event in a pub near her home to raise funds for Promise Dreams.
She is a great ambassador for the charity. She raises money with a smile on her face and fully understands that without the effort of volunteers the world would be far worse off. ‘You never know what challenges life will throw at you. You have to rise up to them and overcome them. That’s what Freya has done and it’s what I aim to do.’
Claire has made a big commitment to Promise Dreams. She has made a bigger commitment to herself – to help others less fortunate. ‘The glamour events are great but so are the smaller things Promise Dreams does. Every penny helps.’
Her acceptance speech at the gala dinner struck a chord with everyone in the room. It was from the heart. It touched everyone who understands the challenge that children and families must rise to – and why people need to volunteer.
We wish Claire and her family a very happy Christmas and a wonderful New Year. We also congratulate her on gaining the Lyn Evans Fundraising Award for 2013/14.
It will soon be time to make resolutions for the year ahead and we hope that you will consider helping Promise Dreams in some way. Being a volunteer is a wonderful gift to the community and needn’t be hard work or time consuming. Give us a call … we’ll be there for you when you are ready.
Find out how you can help by being a volunteer with Promise Dreams by contacting us in any of the following ways;
Telephone: 01902 212451
Boundary Industrial Estate