Thank you...

This is a blog for all the little people, the middle sized people and the big people who end up being the little and middle sized people’s parents – Thank you.

I spent the last four days running around, in a non-running sense, around Butlins at Bognor.  Over twenty kids (and a few adults) with heart conditions and their families came and joined CHF for our magical Winter Wonderland.  I wish I had a magic wand and we could bring all who wanted to come along, but through the generosity of one sponsor we were able to bring more families than ever before, and member groups and individuals supported others to come.

So why a thank you from me? And this isn’t just for our Winter Wonderlanders, it’s for everyone who comes along to be part of our family. (Yes we have the odd hiccup, yup some of us don’t always get on – but that’s family.  We roll along with the rough and smooth and get on with things.)

From Science Museum trips, through farm trips, madness in dragon boats, winter wonderlands, and some of the smaller, quieter events I get to see kids be kids, see some of the isolation I know from growing up break down.  Not just between the kids with the heart conditions, but between brothers and sisters who see and know so much and between the parents. They sit sharing tales that only parents who’ve been there and done that can truly understand.  And if me being happy to show off my scars helps normalise scars (to use the jargon) then a chilly chest is the least I can do.

I’m not an expert in child psychology, nor in parenting, but I can see a difference as I see kids grow up.  They do come out of their shells, they do tend to be bit more open about things and their brothers and sisters are just a tad less protective (and if I say it quietly I might get away with it - so are the parents).

If I had my mythical magic wand I would wield to make lives as liveable as possible, but I don’t. What I do to support CHF (and the other groups I’m close to) is the closest I can get to that wand… I hope most people focus on the running, because although I can get pretty boring about that it’s a hell of a lot less boring that the meetings, meetings and more meetings that would sap the strength of Sir Humphrey.  The meetings are important thought, it’s where we can put forward the collective view, or views, of the groups and parents we know to the power brokers and politicians. I know I’ve used juicy morsels from your experiences (totally anonymised and often gender altered to confound and confused) to hammer home a point…

I’m not superman, and that’s why I’m part of the CHF family we spot each other when the kryptonite levels get too high. The runs I do because I can, I enjoy them and they raise awareness and a bit of cash.  However, never ever underestimate how the thought of the kids I see each year at our events is a motivator.  When people suggest I quit at mile 17, or two days into something stupidly long, then is the time the smiles and tears (cos there’s a few of them) come back to me.  If the kids, siblings and parents can keep going then what’s another mile or two?

I’ve rambled, this was meant to be a simple thank you blog, but it’s turned into my traditional after dinner speech at the Winter Wonderland – minus being attack by a screaming horde armed with balloons and hyper on Christmas Dinner.

So do me a favour – Please! Friday night, yup the 20th, is my last madness for 2013 – a Thirty Five mile, solo, night hike around the Wirral Peninsula.    Give the kids a hug from me on Friday, cos at 4am in the morning I’m going to be drawing on a whole host of memories to keep me going towards breakfast!

Thank you



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