A huge well done and thank you to the Site Negotiation and Legal team within Cellnex UK who raised over £1,000 walking, running, cycling and swimming the distance from Lands End to John O’Groats throughout the month of July in support of the CGF – incredible!
The team’s Delivery Manager Jess Dentry’s daughter Maeve, now two and a half years old, was diagnosed with Silver-Russell Syndrome at eight months old.
Jess shared the below on her JustGiving page:
“The Child Growth Foundation is a charity close to my heart. My daughter Maeve was diagnosed with Russell-Silver Syndrome (RSS) when she was 8 months old, after months of worry about her not gaining weight or growing at a normal rate. Having the diagnosis and the information available from the Child Growth Foundation answered so many of our endless questions and worries and put me in contact with so many other wonderful parents of children affected with rare growth conditions.”
This year, I am running the London marathon by accident. In 2021, I did it deliberately, with a charity place kindly given to me by the CGF. I raised a couple of thousand pounds, cleared the finish line in under four hours (hurrah), and ticked a box on my bucket list. Boom. No need to do that again.
Trouble is, they’re sneaky. If you apply to run the London Marathon and choose to donate your entry fee, they send you a rather snazzy running top if you don’t get a place. And given there are millions of applicants for around 50,000 places, you’re almost certain not to run. The 2023 ballot opening coincided with me deciding I could do with a new top for the winter months, so I entered, with the cast-iron certainty that I wouldn’t get a place, but I would get some lovely – and surprisingly good value – new exercise gear out of it.
Three weeks later, the email arrives: ‘You’re in!’. Whoops. That backfired.
My wife Jacqueline is, as ever, a fountain of support: ‘So you entered a marathon you’ve already done, that will mean you’re disappearing off to train every other day for months, leaving me with the four kids, at a time when we’re not only trying to move house, but also move city, without so much as consulting me, because you wanted a geeky jacket that you could have just, y’know, bought?’
The answer to this question, inescapably, is: yes. It sounds – as it always does when she says it – as though I haven’t been thinking rationally. For a moment I wonder whether the most gracious course of action would be to withdraw, but then a lightbulb pings on somewhere in the murk of my brain.
‘It’s for… it’s for the Child Growth Foundation.’. Checkmate. She wouldn’t argue with a children’s charity. What is she, some kind of monster? The argument is nipped in the bud, I get to spend a Sunday in April leaning into my middle-aged running habit, and maybe we’ll get some cash in the CGF coffers in the process. Everybody wins, with the possible exception of my wife.
Our family has been involved with the CGF for the last five years, since our son Ivo was diagnosed with Sotos Syndrome at the age of five. The foundation was a tremendous source of support and information for us when it came to navigating the confusing world of Ivo’s condition. That’s why I’m proud to have been able to use fundraising for the CGF as my excuse for indulging my mid-life crisis on several occasions over the last few years.
Towards the end of 2021, I was invited to join the board of trustees – which, I like to think, is the forty-something dad’s equivalent of an elite athlete being offered a Nike sponsorship deal. At first, I was a little anxious about accepting; I was under the impression that charity trustees were all hugely gifted, desperately clever pillars of society with a plethora of professional skills and a dedication to saving the world. Now, after a year in the role, I am pleased to report that this is not the case – and not just because I joined the team.
Joking aside, the CGF board is a fantastic bunch of people, from all walks of life, united by personal or professional experience of dealing with growth conditions in children. Any concerns I had about ‘being qualified’ to be a trustee were rapidly alleviated, as I realised the board had built a culture where all views were valid, everyone was listened to, and in which everyone was free to be themselves and make their contribution without fear of being judged. There is work to be done of course – this has been a hugely busy year for the CGF, with a lot of changes and new faces on the scene (mine included) – but it’s also been a lot of fun to be involved, and hugely rewarding to feel as though I’m making a difference, however small it might be.
And making that small difference is why I’m happy to be ‘annoying charity guy’ in my friends’ Facebook feeds yet again; why I’ll be pulling myself out of bed early on a weekend morning for the next few months to get the miles in; why I’ll be boring my family to death yakking on about marginal improvements to VO2 max and resting heart rate, and why, on the morning of Sunday 23 April, I’ll be stood on Blackheath with 50,000 other people, to start a race I’ve already run, for a cause I’ve already fundraised for – and I won’t even have that snazzy top to show for it.
Join Child Growth Foundation’s new weekly lottery from £1 a week and be in with a chance to win £25,000!
Child Growth Foundation have joined Unity’s weekly lottery to offer our supporters the chance to win a £25,000 jackpot while supporting our work to improve the lives of children, adults and families affected by child growth conditions.
The CGF Lottery is a weekly lottery costing £1 per entry, per week enabling us to raise much needed funds to help support our charity. The draw is run every Friday and each entry has the chance to win one of four amazing prizes, including the top prize of £25,000!
You can enter online using Direct Debit or debit card payment or download a PDF form to print out and post with your cheque payment to Unity Lottery’s Freepost address. You can also use the PDF form to join by Direct Debit or debit card payment.
If you need help with joining our lottery please call Unity on 0370 050 9240. You can find out more about the lottery including how it works, prizes and odds, and to read the lottery FAQs on our website here.
Plans for this year’s Convention are well under way, and thanks to National Lottery players we have almost secured all the funding for it!
The convention takes place from September 28th to 30th, details can be found HERE and there is still time to book. Our successful application to the Big Lottery Fund’s: Awards for All programme means we have once again subsidised the cost of the convention, keeping it as affordable as possible. The event is a wonderful opportunity to hear about latest news and developments, attend information and guidance sessions and spend time with other people who understand what you are going through.
Thank you to the Big Lottery Fund for supporting our work.
Having recently raised a whopping £1,220 for the CGF we asked member and mum to Olivia, Kelly Biggs, to fill us in on how, along with her family and friends, they raised such a fantastic amount!
Why did you want to raise money for the Child Growth Foundation?
We felt very privileged to have had (and still are) getting so much support and advise from the Child Growth Foundation, they have literally been our life line. Knowing you are not alone is such a relief. Through the Facebook group CGF members themselves are always there to offer advice and quite often a shoulder to cry on when times get tough. We felt strongly we wanted to give something back and contribute to keeping the charity going for many more years to come so other families like ours get the support they deserve.
There weren’t many people apart from immediate family and very close friends who actually knew we had concerns about Olivia’s growth or that she was even being investigated, we just smiled politely as people quite often commented on her tiny size. We knew by fundraising we would be opening up about what we were dealing with and face the many concerned questions regarding Olivia’s health. It happened by complete coincidence when Olivia had been admitted into hospital. Olivia came home after discharge with an ng feeding tube. The questions we predicted were being asked so we thought it was the best opportunity to make people aware of our situation and how important CGF had been to us over the past almost 2 years.
Where did the idea of a Sponsored Toddle come from? And what is a Sponsored Toddle?
We wanted to do something fun for the children to get involved in so my family and I thought of a few different ideas over the following weeks, there was lots of different ideas flying around at first but I wanted to make sure whatever we did was going to bring in the best possible amount of money.
We originally planned for a “toddle waddle” for around 30 children. The idea was to walk the children a distance around our local park and charge £10 per child to attend, in effect raise £300 for CGF.
How did you organise the event? Who did you involve? And how did you find your sponsors?
We thought deeper and had a little brain wave! We decided we could hand out sponsor forms to each child taking part and they could then collect sponsors from their own family and friends. This then turned a “toddle waddle” into a “sponsored toddle”!
With that we scrapped the £10 charge idea feeling we would raise more from sponsors and didn’t want to put people off by asking for an entry fee plus sponsors! I set up a Facebook events page and invited all the children from our family and friends along.
What happened on the day itself?
We didn’t just want to turn up at any old park walk around then go home. We wanted it to be a fun filled for the children. I contacted our local park which had a farm and spoke to the Events Organiser, she advised us that a local craft fair was due to come in the following weeks and it would be a great day to have our toddle.
More thinking and the idea of a big picnic after the walk was then put into place, what a great way to unwind and rest their tired little legs! One phone call later and we also had the use of the farm at discount price. The idea of just a sponsored toddle was becoming bigger and bigger and before we knew it we had a whole afternoon worth of fun. My sister offered to do face painting before the walk, we had our picnic planned, I organised farm passes, bought balloons on sticks and made lots of sweetie bags!
How much money did you raise and how did you collect the pennies?
We raised a massive £1,220.00. Most of our donations were made through a Just Giving page we set up and the rest was collected in after the event. I gave a desired date of two weeks after the toddle as I knew how important and beneficial it was to the charity to get the money raised to them as quickly as possible so they could use it accordingly.
This isn’t the first time you have raised money for CGF, how else have you fundraised?
We did some small fundraising events prior to the toddle and for us that was a good starting point, we had people on board and everyone wanted to help.
I used the CGF small change box in my work place and added chocolate treats for a donation, this raised nearly £30. At Olivia’s 4th birthday party we held a cake sale which was very kindly financed by a close family friend, Lauren. This event raised a larger amount of £75.
I began dropping ideas of bigger events and everyone said they would help in any way they could. Before we even began to plan we knew we had the support.
We asked Kelly to share some simple ideas on how CGF members can help raise money for the CGF
Your child/children’s birthday — take the opportunity to sell cupcakes at their parties! Pop a cocktail stick in the top with a CGF sticker attached to either side to give that extra touch and spread awareness! It’s a great way to make a few quid and no one minds throwing a small donation in for a cake.
Chocolate sale in the works staff room — anyone will make a small donation for a chocolate bar especially on a Friday afternoon! We got a six pack of Twirls for just £1 at the local Home Bargains, we split the packs and added stickers which were kindly posted out by CGF, a good return was made.
Do your children attend after school club such as swimming, martial arts or football? Why not try a sponsored activity? Get the whole team involved with a sponsor form each! Set a target such as number of metres swam. Or a kick-a-thon at martial arts class? 100 kicks in 2 minutes? Maybe hold a Charity five-a-side football match charging a ticket price? Great one for the Dads too!You could also do a few ‘spot the ball’ cards whilst their playing or a hotdog sale to raise extra funds?
Do you have any further plans to fundraise?
Our family and friends are very much aware of how passionate we are about CGF, how very close to my heart it has become and what it means to us as a family to give something back. We had such a fantastic day at our sponsored toddle with lots of excellent feedback and questions of “can we do it again” well the answer is yes! We’ve decided to do it again next year, and hopefully make this an annual fundraising event which can only get better! The support we’ve had from family and friends has been amazing. I’m bursting with happiness at what we’ve achieved and feel so proud of all who was involved, we couldn’t have done it without them.
A massive thank you from everyone at CGF to Kelly, Olivia and your family and friends for all your support and fundraising efforts, you are true superstars!!!