On September 26th, I will be climbing the O2 Arena in London in memory of my grandad Jim Redfern. You might have already seen me mention that I will be fundraising but I wanted to write this post to fully detail why I'll be facing my fear of heights in order to raise money for charity.
My grandad passed away on the 8th of March 2005, just over ten years ago now. Quite simply he was the most important man in my life. From the age of 7, he was the only male figure that I had and was a grandfather, father figure and friend rolled into one. He taught me how to ride a bike, he used to spend hours playing shop with me as well as playing cricket using his homemade bats. I idolised him, I still do. He was a remarkable man and will always be my hero.
Grandad fought in the Second World War and won an MM medal for bravery. He was always a very active man, walking back and forth to town almost every day up and down the steepest hill, he would still mow the lawn well into his eighties! He was always as fit as a fiddle which made it even more painful when he died quite suddenly of pancreatic cancer. Unfortunately, pancreatic cancer is difficult to diagnose and it is often too late to treat or survive the disease once the symptoms appear.
Once grandad was told that he had pancreatic cancer, his upbeat self just disappeared. It was horrible to see such a change in him when he was the most positive person beforehand. However when he was diagnosed, the cancer had already spread and it was too late to be able to help him.
Grandad went into Tŷ Bryngwyn Hospice in Llanelli to be looked after, and after 13 days he passed away. It was heartbreaking to lose such an incredible man.
A few months after he passed away, I organised a charity sale to raise money for the hospice and we raised £700. Whilst I know I won't be able to emulate that success again, ten years on I wanted to do something to help the place that cared for him so well during his final days. Tŷ Bryngwyn is a very important place to me and locally they do not get enough support, which is why half of the money I raise will be going to them.
The second charity I'll be supporting is Pancreatic Cancer UK. I wanted to choose a specific cancer charity for two reasons. Firstly as it was what grandad passed away from, and secondly as it is the fifth most common cause of cancer death in the UK and currently only has a 4% survival rate.
It is so difficult to diagnose in time and more money needs to be spent on research as well as supporting those who suffer/have lost someone from the disease. Raising £55 can provide support for one patient/family/carer affected by pancreatic cancer. Every £100 raised can pay for a days research into new treatments, improving existing treatments and controlling treatment for side effects.
Like I mentioned at the beginning, I will be climbing the O2 Arena in order to fundraise for these two charities. When thinking of something I could do, I wanted to choose an activity that would be challenging for me and require me to be brave just like my grandad was. I am terrified of heights, my legs shake just by climbing a step ladder in work so this is a good place for me to start.
The O2 is the perfect venue for the climb as many people that know me will vouch that I'm far more comfortable watching a concert inside the arena, rather than climbing up and above it. It may not be the biggest challenge in the world but it will be a challenge for me, I'm hardly the fittest person either so combine that with a fear of heights and I'll be like a sack of jelly on the day! Luckily, my best friend Mim will be keeping me company on the climb. She's fearless when it comes to anything active so I know that she will reassure me that I can do it and give me a metaphorical kick up the arse if I need it lol!
I have set up a fundraising page with an initial target of £300 - I've already raised £275 but I would love to be able to keep pushing and raise much more. I am truly amazed by the generosity of the people that have donated so far. I am also so grateful for every word of encouragement and support that I have received on social media.
I really want to raise as much money as I possibly can for these two charities and I hope that you can see why they are so important to me. Every penny will make a difference to these charities so if you are able to donate, please do. No matter how big or small, it will all count towards changing people's lives. If you cannot donate, I would be just as grateful for your support if you could share this post and the donation link as it will help me to raise awareness. THANK YOU 💗