In 2008 my son was born and the whole experience brought a change in my psyche. Everything I did was no longer about me it was about my family as a collective unit. Nothing can match the emotional experience of seeing your child born and then the sudden fear of whether you’d be able to cope in terms of looking after them, making sure they have everything they need, giving them guidance and support and trying to bring them up the right way. What having my son did do to me was make me a more emotional human being. ( I struggle to watch Children in Need now without having a tear in my eye).
Little over a year after my son was born I was sitting watching the tv with my wife and we caught an episode of The Secret Millionaire which focussed on Paul Ragan being sent to Derby to see if he can help charities or families by giving them donations. Paul happened upon the Mighty family whose son, Lewis, had a rare cancer known as neuroblastoma (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Neuroblastoma). Paul ended up handing over £50,000 to The Lewis Mighty Fund (http://www.lewismightyfund.org.uk/) which was set up to send Lewis to America for treatment. Not long after seeing this I donated £5 to the fund and I remember thinking to myself at the time that I wished I could do more but I just didn’t have the same funds as a secret millionaire. I said to myself that if I could I would do something to help. Invariably, as with most things, life takes over and, while I didn’t forget about the fund, I just didn’t have the means to do anything to help. I was receiving regular updates about Lewis and his family via their facebook group page (https://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Lewis-Mighty-Fund/168731214213). Sadly Lewis passed away aged 7 on the 16th May 2012. Although I never knew Lewis or his family personally I and thousands of others had followed this family via their regular updates and my feelings upon hearing the news was one of incredible sadness. Lewis had lived up to the name Mighty and had fought his illness valiantly, he always had a smile and it is without doubt that he captured the hearts of the nation – I have no doubt that that is the case. A song and video in memory of Lewis can be found here (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Lg3PbBSQ6U4)
It goes without saying that more needs to be done about raising awareness of Neuroblastoma and that is why I approached Families Against Neuroblastoma (http://www.familiesagainstneuroblastoma.org/) to ask if I could help raise money and awareness. The fundraising will kick off with The Gateshead 10k on 22nd July 2012, taking in The Cross Border Challenge (Gretna – Carlisle) on 29th July 2012, then Total Warrior on 4th August 2012 and The Jane Tomlinson run for all in York on 5th August 2012. Then the Spire Healthcare Half Marathon in Warrington on 9th September and The Great Cumbrian Run on 7th October. At some point I’ll be looking to squeeze in another half marathon before the end of the year and then once the year is over I’ll be looking into a Marathon in 2013 to raise even more funds.
At the end of the day we all have something we’re good at and it has eventually turned out that mine is running and while I can run I’ll continue to raise funds and awareness for charities that I feel needs their awareness raised and needs the funds to do the job they do and support the people that needs their support.
If you’d like to support my cause you can do so here (http://www.justgiving.com/Steve-Claringbold-RUN-RUN-RUN) or, alternatively, if you’d like to join me in raising funds for Families Against Neuroblastoma then please get in touch and we can co-ordinate runs etc.