It’s taken them 92 days and 24,900 miles, but a team of dedicated staff from Julia’s House, the Dorset and Wiltshire children’s hospice charity have made it to the end of their mammoth Around the World fundraising challenge.
By combining their daily exercise hours during the lockdown period the team has managed to collectively walk, run or cycle a distance equivalent to travelling round the world. In the process they have been able to raise in excess of £10,000 to help the charity continue its vital work caring for local children with life-limiting and life-threatening conditions across the two counties.
The team’s combined mileage was added up each evening and plotted on the globe, so that they were aware of the various landmark cities and countries they were passing through virtually. On arrival in Australia a Zoom meeting was arranged with Bear Cottage Children’s Hospice in Sydney, so that the two hospice teams could chat and compare how their services had been affected by the COVID pandemic.
Julia’s House carers Gemma Linford and Annie Earl have co-ordinated the challenge from the beginning, after realising that colleagues wanted to do something to support the charity during the difficult lockdown period.
Annie says: “As well as raising much needed funds for Julia’s House the challenge has had some tremendous benefits for our team’s physical and mental health. I’d like to say thank you to all who participated, to all who gave up so much of their time to collect the mileage each evening and to all who supported, encouraged and donated along the way.”
“Covid-19 has had an enormous impact on Julia’s House, especially the vulnerable and isolated families we care for. It has brought us all together, however, as demonstrated by the incredible team of nurses and carers who spent their spare time helping to keep the charity going whilst other fundraising activities had to be cancelled. We are all in awe of their energy and enthusiasm to help others.” added Mike Bartlett, Julia’s House Deputy CEO.
Julia’s House has adapted its care on a day-to-day basis during the coronavirus outbreak. Wearing full PPE, its nurses and carers continue to visit the homes of families supported by the charity to provide the vital care, reassurance and advice that the anxious parents of children with life-limiting conditions so desperately need.
In normal circumstances the charity receives just 5% government funding in Dorset and none in Wiltshire, relying entirely on public fundraising, donations and Gifts in Wills to continue its support of local families. Julia’s House has welcomed additional Government support this year in light of the COVID pandemic to help compensate for its significant fall in income, but not knowing how long this support will continue, the charity’s situation is challenging at a time when the care it provides is such a lifeline for local children and families.
Anyone wishing to donate to the Around the World Global Fundraising Challenge can visit https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/gemma-linford2