Jenny recently completed the virtual Victoria Park 5k run for CLAPA, and chatted to us about how she got into running, as well as her previous fundraising efforts to support our work (which have raised a phenomenal £4181.46 so far!).
Hi, I’m Jenny! I was born with a cleft lip and palate back in the 80s! I’ve had many surgeries and orthodontic work over the years. Some of you may recognise me from other fundraising stories I’ve shared in the past or from the cleft community groups on Facebook. I’m also featured on a couple of CLAPA adult leaflets.
I have been fundraising for CLAPA since 2012, starting out with collection cans in our shop in Ramsgate and more recently putting them in other businesses too. As time went on I really wanted to push the total up so I started with some ideas, from wearing a onesie to work I had designed with the CLAPA logo to then arranging cake sales alongside raffles with donations of gifts and cakes from our local community for every Awareness Week weekend for a 3 year period. These were so popular, people just wanted to get involved and would ask if I’d do them again each year!
Unfortunately last year things were a little different, the shop had been on the market for a while, this was then sold and the coronavirus hit along with the national lockdown. It was then that I got into walking. The weather was lovely, roads quiet and hardly anyone was about. I began to appreciate my local area and its surroundings, the beaches, woodlands, fresh air…just things I hadn’t taken much notice of before. I saw on the CLAPA pages that they were struggling with funding at that time and I had to do something, so I decided to walk 73 miles within 20 days for Awareness Week. I actually finished the challenge within 13 days!
In June I was able to go back to work briefly for a few weeks to help close the shop down properly and then I was made redundant so I guess I had more time to get out walking and it became my sanctuary I suppose. I was feeling down from losing my job and then getting knock backed from potential jobs, but just being out in the fresh air and away from everything for a while helped keep me positive that something would come along. After just 8 weeks out of work I landed a job that I love, then along came December and another full lockdown which meant with not so many hours of work I as able to get out walking more again, it was at times chilly!
In January I attempted running but gave up. I just couldn’t get into it and I needed some motivation. I then saw many ladies in the Cleft community had started running and gave it another go! Along with some tips from a lady I work with I amazed myself when I was able to run for 5 minutes without having to stop! Not long after, I was able to run that bit further and was getting some 5ks in…that’s when I decided to sign up for a March 5k virtual challenge through CLAPA. My goal was to run 5k in under 35 minutes, so I was so happy when I stopped to see I’d done it in 33 minutes! I raised £321.05 including Gift Aid for CLAPA, and I chose to do the virtual run in March as I wasn’t working so many hours and knew I’d have the time to get out training and to get a medal for my efforts, which arrived 3 days after.
Over the years I’ve managed to raise £4181.46 for CLAPA. I’m so pleased with what I’ve achieved other the years but none of it would’ve been possible without the support of my family and friends, some of who have become regular donors when I’m fundraising, even in these difficult times. If you can do anything to help CLAPA please donate to keep this worthwhile vital charity going for many more years to come!