When you?re coming up to a milestone birthday, running 10K might be the last thing on your mind. But for Sam Watts, director of Orchid PR, it was an ideal opportunity to set herself a challenge and raise money for a charity that has a special meaning for her family. Sam explains:
?Five years ago my gorgeous niece Heather was born into a silent world. As profoundly deaf, she didn?t have the joy of hearing birdsong, beautiful music or the sound of people?s chatter. Blissfully unaware that her world was different from ours, it was her parents that had to deal with the bombshell and take the massive decision for Heather to have bilateral cochlear implants when she was eighteen months old ? the first child in Jersey to have them. Heather now has 85% ?fake? hearing, but has had to slowly learn how to integrate into school and build her confidence, one step at a time. The day she realised she was wearing ?noisies? (her name for her hearing aids) and no other child in her class was, nearly broke our hearts. She finally understood she was different and her confidence was battered. Recently, Heather and her family were invited to take part in a weekend away for families and children with cochlear implants. Co-ordinated by The Ear Foundation, they came face to face with many other children just like Heather. For the first time in her five years, she really felt like she belonged and her confidence shot through the roof.
The Ear Foundation (see www.earfoundation.org.uk for more info) is a unique charity providing support for children across the UK with cochlear implants and hearing aids. In the UK around 800 children per year are born profoundly deaf and a number of others become deaf through accident or illness. The Ear Foundation provides education and support for all those children living with hearing aids or implants to ensure they can join fully into family and school life. The Ear Foundation receives no statutory support and relies greatly on donations and grants.
Seeing first hand the impact the work they do has had on Heather and her family, I didn?t think twice about making them my chosen charity for my 40th birthday challenge ? running the Asics London 10K this month. I?ve been training since the beginning of the year, and despite my body?s natural resistance to anything faster than walking pace, hope to be able to make the 10K and raise £2,500 for the Ear Foundation.?
Support Sam and the Ear Foundation as she runs the Asics London 10K on Sunday 10th July – you can visit her page at JustGiving – www.justgiving.com/Sam-Watts/1