Sophie and Alfie’s Challenge

May 26, 2020

During Awareness Week, Sophie and her son Alfie raised over £1,000 for CLAPA! Sophie told us about their incredible fundraising and has kindly shared her family’s story so far.

For my 20-week scan, my older sister (Sarah) came with me as my husband was working and Sarah worked at the hospital so it was convenient. I had two healthy boys already (aged 6 and 1 at the time) and with it also being my third child, I was very relaxed. At the end of the scan, the nurse turned to me and asked if I knew what a cleft was to which I replied “yes.” Before she continued, tears were streaming down my face because the fact was, I knew what a cleft was in terms of what it looked like but not much else.

The nurse explained that she could see a definite cleft one side of the mouth but it might possibly be the other side too. I then found out I was having a baby girl – which made me cry more as I thought it would be worse for a girl to have a cleft! My sister and I went to see a nurse in a different ward straight after the scan who advised us not to look up information on Google, but instead to go to the CLAPA website as this was the only UK-based cleft charity with a wealth of “safer” knowledge.

Sophie, Annie and Sarah

The CLAPA website did exactly that – it gave us safe knowledge and a huge amount of reassurance that our baby girl would be OK! For the few months following the scan, my husband and I were really quite sad about the news as well as the worry around many issues – feeding, operations, what other people would think, etc. I found myself crying regularly, and then feeling guilty for crying. But every time I felt like this, I would turn to the CLAPA website and it instantly gave us hope and comfort. As we gave the news to our family and friends, we would encourage them also to use the CLAPA website to educate themselves which they found really useful.

The CLAPA website did exactly that – it gave us safe knowledge and a huge amount of reassurance that our baby girl would be OK!

When Annie was born, our hearts were filled with more love than we could imagine, of course! We received a welcome pack from CLAPA which included special bottles for Annie to try – different to what we had started using. This was so helpful.

Annie and Sophie

My sister Sarah, who is a keen runner, had at this point already signed up to run a marathon in Milton Keynes. But not long after Annie’s birth, Sarah announced that she was going to run for CLAPA as she had seen how helpful it was to myself and our family. The marathon fell in Cleft Awareness Week too which enabled us to really promote the charity and Sarah’s run. Our family and friends – and extended friends – were amazingly supportive of Annie and CLAPA and helped Sarah to raise just over a staggering £4000! It was a family affair on the day of the marathon – the whole family cheered her on, along with some close friends too. We had t-shirts and flags to make ourselves known!! Sarah was brilliant – and it was VERY emotional!

Following on from this, some family friends also held a fundraiser and chose CLAPA as one of their benefiting charities.

Sophie and her family cheering on Sarah!

That summer was when I started running myself – something that I had found ridiculously hard but Sarah had inspired me! I set myself small goals and it took me a few months to get a good pace and a 5km underway.

So a year after Sarah’s marathon, Cleft Awareness Week 2020 was approaching so I asked my eldest son, Alfie (now 7 years old), if he wanted to do a challenge with me to raise money for CLAPA. He was really keen as he loves Annie so much! It was only in the last few weeks that Alfie had become really confident on his bike, so he agreed that he could ride his bike and I would run. I was by no means at marathon standard yet with my running, so thought about spreading a marathon out over Cleft Awareness week – which is what we both did!

So a year after Sarah’s marathon, Cleft Awareness Week 2020 was approaching so I asked my eldest son, Alfie (now 7 years old), if he wanted to do a challenge with me to raise money for CLAPA. He was really keen as he loves Annie so much!

Alfie, Sophie and Annie

Alfie did a fantastic job and completed his marathon bike ride in 3 stints, and I completed mine in 5 – but my fifth run was the furthest I had ever run in my life which was a huge achievement for me! We promoted CLAPA on Facebook with a daily photo journey of Annie’s progress. Friends were also kind enough to share our posts to spread the word. Given current situations, we set ourselves a target of £500 but we were so pleased to double this and raise a total of £1020!

CLAPA will be in our lives for many years to come and I am sure Annie herself will get so much from it as she gets older. We are so grateful that we had access to the charity before Annie was born and we will continue to support CLAPA – just like it does us.

CLAPA will be in our lives for many years to come and I am sure Annie herself will get so much from it as she gets older. We are so grateful that we had access to the charity before Annie was born and we will continue to support CLAPA – just like it does us.

A massive thank you to Sophie for sharing her family’s story and for her amazing fundraising! If you’re inspired by Sophie, you can join Team CLAPA by clicking on the button below!

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