Jenny’s 73 mile walk!

May 15, 2020

Since she first got involved with CLAPA in 2012, Jenny has put out collection cans, organised cake sales and raffles, and has even worn a blue onesie at work to fundraise! We caught up with her to find out more about her most recent challenge for CLAPA. Here’s her story!

I’ve been a member of the cleft community for a number of years now, as I was born with a cleft lip and palate.

I first got actively involved with CLAPA back in 2012 when I contacted them asking for a collection box for the counter at work. Seeing the customers place their spare change in the pot which would gradually fill up, I would then count the money and bank it. I felt good doing this and still do.

Jenny walking for CLAPA this year

Over the coming years I went on to start to do things to raise even more money for CLAPA. Now this was a big thing for me as growing up I was always the shy, quiet girl who didn’t like being centre of attention. I had no confidence.

Over the coming years I went on to start to do things to raise even more money for CLAPA. Now this was a big thing for me as growing up I was always the shy, quiet girl who didn’t like being centre of attention. I had no confidence.

My first ever fundraiser for Cleft Awareness Week was to wear a blue onesie at work every day! I have a friend who printed the CLAPA logo, website address and my JustGiving page on to it for me. I felt uncomfortable at first drawing attention to myself like that but with the donations flooding in I began to relax and would happily to chat anyone who asked what the charity does and why I was supporting them.

Another year I organised a massive cake sale and raffle at my work. We were overrun with cakes after I put a plea out on one of our local business groups asking for cake donations and then got message after message from people willing to donate cakes and raffle prizes! I was so amazed!

We had customers asking if it was an annual event and at the time it was a one off, but then I thought about it and decided to do it all again…3 times in fact! Each year we got regular customers who came just for cake and to say how pleased they were to see that we were doing it again. I felt like I’d achieved so much.

About 18 months ago I contacted CLAPA again about an idea I had to put collection boxes into local businesses. I got the go-ahead straight away and now have them in four local shops.

Sadly this year we were unable to do a cake sale due to personal circumstances at work. I was sad about it but then the Coronavirus outbreak came and things changed overnight for everyone.

I spent the first week off work cleaning the house, just trying to get my head around the idea of what I was to do for the next few weeks while I was off! The following week my partner was off so we spent our days going for walks or cycling, trying to stay fit and healthy.

It was about this time I saw from CLAPA that things were looking pretty awful due to the lockdown, with little money coming in. I felt like I had to do something and couldn’t sit there and see over 40 years-worth of hard work disappear!

It was about this time I saw from CLAPA that things were looking pretty awful due to the lockdown, with little money coming in. I felt like I had to do something and couldn’t sit there and see over 40 years-worth of hard work disappear!

So I came up with an idea of walking. I wasn’t sure how far I could walk initially…I’m not exactly the most active person! I decided to walk 73 miles in 20 days, or the distance from my home to the CLAPA office in London! I based this on walking between 3-4 miles a day but I actually finished the big walk early in 13 days, with 74 miles.

Here are some photos Jenny took on some of her walks!

I put a video of myself speaking about my fundraising plan on the CLAPA Adult Voices Facebook group first. This was a really big thing for me as I hate my recorded voice and my speech, but I felt that speaking about something so close to me was far better than just writing a post so, after the 10th attempt at creating a video, I finally put it on there. I had a lot of lovely comments saying it was a great idea and that I should do it.

I then put the video on my own Facebook page along with my JustGiving link and straight away I had donations coming in with so much support from my friends and family. My initial target was to raise £150 as I knew money was tight for so many people.

I never expected to actually more than double my target, as I’ve raised £383! Not only have a raised funds for CLAPA but by walking it gave me something to do, something to look forward to and something to get me out the house. One particular day I walked nearly 10 miles! It felt so good even though my legs ached for hours afterwards! I also love taking photos, so the further I could walk the more I could photograph and not bore everyone with the same kind of photos on a daily basis. For anyone who couldn’t get out their homes, they enjoyed seeing where I’d been so again I was able to help those who felt isolated.

I would say to anyone thinking about fundraising for CLAPA, have a look around you… see what you can do and do something amazing! Whether you’re walking, running or cycling you can do this. If I can step up to a challenge anyone can! 

Jenny meeting Carol at CLAPA’s 40th Birthday Party in 2019

Thank you to Jenny for her continued support (she has raised over £3,500 for CLAPA over the years!) and her wonderful recent fundraiser.

If you’d like to fundraise for CLAPA, click on the button below to get started!

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