Wednesday, 14 December 2011

Thank you

I just wanted to write a blog post to say a sincere thank you.

10 weeks ago I took on the challenge of running the London Underground for Harry Moseley's charity HelpHarryHelpOthers. I wanted to run 406 miles, travel through all 272 tube stops and complete every single tube line. Most importantly though I wanted to raise £10,000 for Harry's charity.

When Harry died, 2 months ago, I was left feeling devastated. Which in itself is amazing given I had never met Harry. I had followed Harry's story on Twitter and one day, a day I will never ever forget, his mum - Georgie, posted a picture of Harry. The picture showed Harry, 11, with staples in his head, with half his hair missing and a face that was so young and innocent but at the same time looked so weary and so very tired.

Harry had his childhood taken from him - for 4 years he was battling a disease that we don't know an awful amount about, which in itself is wrong. He had a tumour growing inside him that was the size of a tennis ball. This caused severe headaches and resulted in two lots of chemotherapy and one lot of Radium treatment. This disease affects thousands of children each year. The disease that cost Harry his childhood also tragically cost him his life. Two months ago Harry lost his brave fight; tragically Harry was only 11 years old. Ask yourself what have you done since you were 11? Just pause and think of the things you've seen, the people you've met since you were 11. Harry never had that opportunity. That to me is just so wrong. Harry is not alone in suffering this disease and losing his life at a young age. It is so important we raise money and raise awareness - Cancer Research UK are entirely self funded but since they have existed they have given cancer patients the chance to beat cancer. Cancer is an awful disease, it has killed two members of my family, and it has killed a friend of mine. The single greatest thing humanity can do, in my opinion, is to find a cure. To do that we need money. Harry, at the age of 7, realised this...

Harry, despite having cancer, decided he would make a difference. He decided that he would help others and start a campaign to find a cure for brain tumours. I have never come across someone so inspiring and from that moment I knew that I wanted to do something, to help his campaign - no matter how small - I wanted to do my bit to try and help ensure that no one suffers like Harry suffered. Helen Keller once remarked "I am only one; but still I am one. I cannot do everything, but still I can do something; I will not refuse to do the something I can do." And to me that is what charity is all about - I can't cure brain cancer but I can help. Even if that help amounts to very very little in the grand scheme of things - something is better than nothing. If everyone did something, anything can be achieved.

I knew it had to be a little insane to ensure I raised money and awareness. I was on the tube one day and it broke down at Moorgate. I had to get to Kings Cross quickly and so I jumped off the tube and started running - not being a great runner I was blowing out of my (insert rude word!) by the time I got to Kings Cross. I got to Kings Cross, boarded my train and decided that I had stumbled across the challenge - I was going to run every single tube line, I was going to run every single stop, I was going to run all 406 miles. I rang my dad and told him of my plans; he said it was a great idea and that I should start training next year and aim to complete it over the next 2 years. I told my dad I wouldn't be doing that. I told him that I would be starting next week and I'd do the lot by the summer (9 months). He called me (insert rude word!) and as I was about to ask him if he could help me and hand out some water's to me on my first run (all 19 miles of the Circle line) he said 'Well I best get my oyster card ready, cos you aren’t doing this on your own'. I have run 100 miles and my dad has been there handing out water, bandaging parts of my body, giving me pep talks for every single run - no matter what the time, no matter what the weather, the old man is there, waiting to help. You will see that this is completely indicative of this challenge - people amazing me constantly. My mum as well - she has hosted two dinners raising just under £200 and has attended two runs to cheer me and the guys on - without my folks this challenge wouldn't be possible.

I set up a Justgiving page. Within an hour I had raised £100. I was buzzing! I then put what I was up to on Facebook. 9 people contacted me, 3 of which I didn't know all that well, 6 of which are good friends of mine. They are even better friends now. They all said the same thing - when can we join? All 9 wanted to join me, all 9 were inspired by Harry and all 9 (2 girls, 7 boys) would join me for the Circle Line run. I have run 100 miles of the London Underground, Luke Butler has run approaching 60 miles, Jon Myers has run 60-70, Martin Chapman 60, Shaun Purvis, Chloe Garrard and Becky Eighteen have all run 35 miles and Nick Kindred and Craig Gallacher have run somewhere close to 20. All of them have given up their own time, have run in all different kinds of weather, have all run in pyjama bottoms. And without them I 100% would not have been able to run 100 miles. One run I did was all 24 miles of the Bakerloo line and I can honestly say that Jon Myers dragged me round - I remember being in a place called Willesden Junction, questioning if I could carry on, Jon just told me to 'just run' - so I did. My foot was in pieces, so Jon just talked to me, and kept talking, until 26 stops later we had arrived at Elephant and Castle. This is in no way an isolated incident - all the guys at different points have dragged me round. Luke Butler, on one run, was in such pain that he was in tears - still he continued to run - that moment showed to me just how brave people can people. They say it is not the miles you do but who you do them with that counts and the 8 people who have joined me have become life long friends.

And now to the really important guys.

So far we have completed 25% of the challenge; we've run 100 miles, completed 4 lines and begin the District Line tonight. But we have reached 45% of our target - we have raised £4500. My family, my friends, colleagues and complete strangers have donated once, twice and sometimes thrice. The generosity of people to donate their hard earned money to our cause has completely blown me away. As you guys know I have struggled with the runs - I strained ankle ligaments and tore cartilage in my knee for which I am receiving physio for (free of charge!) - But you guys have made me continue. £4500! I still can't believe how kind people are and the difference you have all made is incredible. It is not just monetary donations either - every run we have done I have received numerous texts wishing me luck. One girl has text me before, during, and after every single run wishing me luck and keeping me going (Miss Barnes - thank you!). To all those that wish us luck and find out our progress it keeps us all going. It may not seem a lot, to just send a text, but when you run pass a Crime Scene Investigation in Wembley and it is pissing down with rain, a text message can help you get one foot in front of the other. We also had 40 runners for our Waterloo and City line run (see pic) - again, this was absolutely incredible and helped raise £800

If you've had a (insert rude word!) day and question the people you work with, or your friends you hang out with or the family you live with I can whole heartedly say that they will surprise and amaze you if you let them. The press is full of negative stories, the press ignores the good and at times I think we do as well. It is not until I did this challenge that I realised just how good people can be.

This challenge began because I wanted to help Harry help others. The truth of the matter is this challenge is helping me - it has made me fit, it has shown me London, it has given me new friends, it has made existing friends better ones, it has given me a confidence to think I can do anything if I want it bad enough and most importantly it has reminded me that people are fundamentally good.

From myself and all the runners - a sincere thank you. Have an amazing Christmas, and a great new year.


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