Monday, 27 September 2010

Andrew's Little Journey

At around 5pm yesterday I found myself at the top of Ingleborough ~ after completing the third of the three (Yorkshire) peaks. Which in itself was a feat, as 10 minutes previously  I had been struck down with cramp in both calves - so I nearly had to be good to my word that I would crawl round if I had to.

Against his better judgement, I had been able to beg, cajole and in the end, partly emotionally blackmail my colleague and friend Nigel to come with me (as well as Sarah - another colleague). Which was a good thing, as everyone else had buggered off in front of us (excuse the colloquialism). I hadn't realised how steep and tricky (for me - not being the best at heights) the last bit was going to be and when I got to the top, I wasn't exactly sure I could make it back down a particular stretch. Luckily, Nigel offered support, guidance and eventually reminded me that there were two ways down - on foot or in a helicopter. If I was worried about going on telly in normal circumstances, I was sure as hell not going to be on Look North that way. So, I managed to get myself down and we then ambled back home. As it turns out, most people cant see a yard in front of their faces on top of Ingleborough. Which in my case might have been a blessing in disguise and I wouldnt have known what I was letting myself in for....

Earlier in the day, we had scooted up Pen-y-Ghent with around 38 others, including Maya (who I was SO, SO, proud of) and Grandad Skipton. They headed back home and the rest of us pressed on to Whernside and beyond. The trek to the base of Whernside took us in the opposite direction as the Cyclo-cross riders (400+ of them!) - which seems like an interesting pursuit. (Where "interesting" = "what the ....").

Anyway, we got back in one piece - I didnt really have a target time, but given no real preparation (other than running up and down the stairs at home, which is bizzarely representative for Ingleborough) I think I was quietly chuffed with 11 hours 20. Probably, the best part of 4 hours behind the ones who had buggered off initially (excuse the colloquialism again) ~ but we made it.

There are plenty of obvious parallels to what we are doing for Evan - it's a massive undertaking and there are times when we are sat on top of a hill, not sure we can make it down the other side but there are so many people who are there to help and it's going to be such an achievement that we simply cant not do it.

In terms of events, this is a big couple of weeks - we have had the race night and 3 peaks (which both should raise decent sums) and we have Buster's Bash and Evan's Big Ball coming up in consecutive weeks and there are a number of sponsored events which have been really well supported as well. Thanks again!!

Tuesday, 21 September 2010

Cold suet pud!

Hello again. When it comes to writing this blog, in some respects it's a case of everything stays the same, and everything is different. It's the same in that we are still hectic, still on track for January and still constantly bewildered and overwhelmed by people's generosity.

The "different", well that's how many different people are helping out, in so many different ways and the different experiences that brings. For someone who loves to be sequestered in their comfort zone, mine is a small black dot on the horizon. I guess that should be a good thing...

Well, the standard update - I will try and fit in what I can (as ever, massive apologies for those I have missed off). Upcoming is one of the first "official events" ~ the race night @ SBS HO (tickets still available, and this isnt an "SBS do" - anyone can go), i'm doing the 3peaks on Sunday which Dynamo Joe is arranging and to which im dragging (in one case, almost literally) my colleagues Nigel and Sarah. Maya (and Grandparents' Skipton) are doing just Pen-y-ghent. If anyone wishes to sponsor Maya - please get in touch - she would be made up, as she is really proud that she is doing something to help. (

Loup is continuing to put the final stages to the ball (as is Wayne, if we can pin him down...) - pretty nerve wracking all round and thanks to some very kind people it will raise even more money. If your name is down, please let her have the cash - if it isnt, there is plenty of time to still grab a ticket. Should be a good night (well, for us at least as we are "staying over" - a night out - shock!)

On the same day of the ball, Katy (and helpers) are doing the largest coffee morning ever (it seems) - please pop by if you can.

Special mention must go to the bonkers but incredibly fabulous guy who swam from Kildwick to Silsden because the algae stopped him swimming a loch, as well as the Yummy Mummies taking over BBG on Friday. Thanks all.

Aireview in Silsden are also planing a fundraising day for Evan on Friday October 1st as are other local schools (such as Greatwood in Skipton this coming Friday, and First Steps in Skipton).

Then, there is the trip itself which I guess we should start planning soon. To be honest, we have sent the passports off and are hopefully going to get some news on accommodation tomorrow, and the flights shortly. In comparison to everything going on at the moment (the above plus day jobs, wife and 3 kids), the fact that we have to get 7 people to US and back over a 5 week period and on 4 different flights with all of the stuff around phones, internet access, local transport and the fact it will be "6 below" while we are there seems like childs-play... :)

Tuesday, 14 September 2010


The kids are back at school, the nights are drawing in, and things are speeding up. We have the ball - which is moving from the planning phase to the "get cash" & planning phases, and then into the last minute panic phase in a week or so. Loup is doing a great job with this. We also have started selling our "WIN CHRISTMAS" tickets which we hope will play a major part in the fundraising. As ever, if you want more details get in touch.

Having had a good few pieces of coverage recently, so many people are getting in touch. For instance, I met with 3 great guys tonight who are hoping to raise a sizeable chunk from a "do" they are having - and then returned home to see about 14 emails in my inbox from people who wanted to help.

As I have mentioned before, we couldnt do this without the assistance of some brilliant individuals. It would be unfair to name names, as everyone's efforts are so much appreciated. However, here are a few examples: There are a few people at work who have offered so much help - even though they have plenty going on themselves. They are the engine room, of our operations at SBS. There are also people who offer seemingly undying support and enthusiasm - which is a rare commodity "in the current climate". Outside of work, a new friend is constantly coming up with new ideas and has boundless energy. Parents and teachers at both schools, and at Sam's nursery, are so willing to get involved that we can hardly keep up with them. Another brilliant friend is working tirelessly to bring a few "key items" together and is doing a fantastic job. Nearly last but not least - we also have had so much support from our family that we cannot say thanks enough. The final group of brilliant people are the ones who live in my house, with me - my family. That's why we are doing it, not just for Evan, but for all of us.... and we do appreciate how lucky we are.

With the kids being back at school, it's got a bit tiring this week - looking forward to an unexpected day off on Saturday and then allowing Loup the same on Sunday - before loads and loads of stuff kicks in ~ the final pushes before the main event. I need to get my head (and body) around doing the 3 peaks, a 24 hour snooker challenge and no doubt being forced to dance at the ball - all in the next 6 weeks. Oh yes, and there is Christmas in there somewhere, as well. busy, busy, busy, but we know we have the right people behind us.

Thanks again!

Monday, 6 September 2010


OK, Sorry to break the bad news, but summer is over ! Well,... it's September, it's dark, it's raining and the kids are back at school, so it seems about time for a Christmas raffle. Woh... ~ don't all shout at once! Think of it this way ~ we are only 140 days away from Evan's first appointment in St Louis, so 111 days to Christmas seems almost next week by comparison.

Anyway, the "Evan's Big Journey - WIN CHRISTMAS" raffle is here. It is one of our key events, so we are really hopeful that you will be able to support it. We understand that a lot of people have already sponsored, donated, bought events tickets, are wearing wristbands, etc. However, we hope you will agree that this is really a prize worth winning. It's taken a lot of organising and had support from some truly generous people ~ with more prizes to come, making the prize even bigger.

If you are interested, please take a look at the website and click on the "WIN CHRISTMAS" tab for more info If you are interested, please get in touch. We will hopefully start selling tickets in the next day or so.

Basically, it's one big prize with one lucky winner. Current prize value is more than £1,000! Thanks again for your help and support.

Saturday, 4 September 2010

142 days

Well, it's only a day since my last blog....but, last night we got an update from St Louis and have been given a date. Our first pre-op appointment will be on 24th January next year with the SDR operation itself 3 days later. Very interesting, exciting and slightly scary news - it sort of makes it real (if it wasnt already).

I know it's difficult to keep asking for your continued help but I guess that now we have a target date as well as a target amount it's hopefully easier (?) to see what we have to do. We are pretty confident that all of the events and activities that we have planned will get us there - but we wouldnt be able to do it without you guys.

I have just had a chat about this with Ev, and explained that it's now 142 sleeps and the big news is that Scooby and Shaggy are chasing a monster in San Francisco bay. Now that's a problem....

Friday, 3 September 2010

Been busy...

Hello fellow journey(wo)men, apologies for the lack of blog recently. Been busy. Took a couple of weeks off - week one was to truly recharge the batteries and week two was to recover from week one. Really good times - quality time with Loup and the kids. Then had to go back to work and attempt to return to my "day job", but in all honestly (and here's hoping that a few people arent reading this...) it has been very difficult because of the sheer volume of "journey stuff" that we have had to catch up on. 

However, on my last day before I returned to work I visited Twitterland (which, in my opinion, is the severely underrated little brother of the noisy elder sibling Facebook...) and was amazingly lucky enough to hit a vein of generosity. Long story short, is that we generated more than 3000 website hits in 2 days (previously 2000 in 2 months) and a number of donations - some from celebrities - which led to a slightly surreal couple of days, and emails in my inbox that we could never have expected. However, while it is fantastic to get celebrity patronage, it is equally heart warming (probably more so - sorry CW...) to get the smaller donation from a student or a handwritten note and donation from someone who perhaps doesnt have so much to spare. That said, we can absolutely guarantee that EVERY single donation, offer of well wishes, kind thought, piece of sponsorship, event, suggestion, etc is so absolutely very much appreciated. Sometimes I think we run out of superlatives and it can seem trite to have to repeat our thanks - but we are really, really, really, so appreciative. 

Anyway, some "Parish notes" are probably required ~ as you might have seen earlier this week, we got past a major milestone and went into 5 figures. We are probably now on about £11,000 ~ which is obviously 25% of the way - Fantastic. Lynda is working on the charity ball (a few tickets are still available) and things are coming together in that respect - please dont make her chase too much for the cash (believe me - I know what she's like when she wants money off you....;). We have got the latest batch of wristbands and there are plenty of spares if you wish to help sell them and spread the word - if you want to take some, please let us know. A number of events are already in the pipeline, including (and massive apologies for those not mentioned) a Ceilidh, a gig, a dance/band night, more sponsored walks, race night, darts+doms night and the "Yummy Mummys" are still threatening to launch a calendar.... hopefully more news on this shortly....

Anyway, me and Evan's Mum (a.k.a the wife) promised ourselves that we might actually get chance to see each other tonight (that plan's working out well?) ~ so I must go. 

One final thought ~ CHRISTMAS IS COMING !!!