Gearing up

Chances are you’ve heard the phrase, ‘All the gear and no idea’. Running should be, on the surface, a sport where it is very tricky for this to be the case. You don’t need anything beyond a pair of decent shoes to get started, with even really high-end running gear offering you little benefit in the grand scheme of things. While you may well be a bit cooler in your brand new, super-wicking bamboo fibre thermal than the next person in their old T-shirt, the amount of difference it is going to make to your overall speed… it’s pretty minimal to say the least. There’s really not much point getting expensive accessories until you really know it’s something you want to invest your time and money in.  

“But what about the ‘no idea’ part?” I hear you ask. How can someone have ‘no idea’ about running? We’ve all gotten a jog on at one time or another so we all have a basic understanding – it’s really not a complicated activity.  

Well, despite how simple it all may seem, we see a boat-load of runners at the GNR every year who seem to have all the gear but no idea. They’re draped in jerseys and badges and T-shirts and banners all indicating their chosen charity, but when we talk to them, they barely know what their charity does. Likewise, there are so many runners who take part each year who run unaffiliated, without sponsoring any charity. While we are extremely happy to see so many people getting active and creating some amazing publicity for the region, we want our runners to be a different kind of gravy. We don’t care about times; we don’t care about how good you look or how many times you’ve done the GNR before – we simply want to you to know exactly what you’re running for. We want you to care (hopefully as much as we do). We want you to understand the work we do so that when the going gets tough in training, or you start getting blisters on the day, you don’t fold. We want you to be so enthused with our cause, so conscious of how you are helping young people and so eager to change their lives, that every time you lace up your running shoes you are reminded of the children you are helping.  

So, when you don our Dragonfly jerseys or pin our badge to your vest, when you see any of our ‘gear’ in general, we want you to have a crystal-clear idea as to who we are and why you are running for us. Please read on to see why you should run for us rather than other worthy causes. 

How we Make a Difference 

We are working to redefine what ‘palliative care’ means, moving the focus away from death and onto life. We want the word to become synonymous with amazing memories. As strange as it may sound, we want to give you the chance to make this period as positive as possible. We know we can’t solve your problem but we want to ease the burden, filling your days with whatever joyful moments we can. After your diagnosis, whether it’s the next day or a year later, we are here to help. 

Life-Changing Memories 

Cancer seems to take everything from us. Not only can it take the lives of our loved ones, but it can rob us of our time, money and energy.  

We provide Cash Gifts and arrange very last-minute experiences for our beneficiaries to help them make each moment matter. We give our beneficiaries some extra funds and take the stress of planning away from them and their families in order to maximise the time, money and energy they have to spend together on pain-free days, giving them a sense of normality and independence.  

Comfort in unfamiliar environments 

Young cancer patients can spend a huge amount of time in hospital. Not only does this mean they miss university, school or nursery, therefore missing interacting with other young people, but they often become frightened or unsettled due to the unfamiliar environment away from their families.  

Dragonfly Cancer Trust sends activity boxes to all major children’s and teenage cancer hospices in the country to offer creative therapy. These distract our beneficiaries, and contain highly personal emotionally-charged items to remind them of home and make their stay more comfortable, bringing them some relief.

Preparing for death and dealing with it afterwards 

Nothing can prepare you for the news that your child isn’t going to get better. It can be as devastating as receiving a terminal diagnosis ourselves. There is no correct way to deal with this kind of news, so we work closely with families to produce personal keepsakes to help keep memories alive and facilitate the grieving process.  

We deliver Memory Boxes and Sibling Boxes to help those who are preparing to be left behind and to give patients the peace of mind that they are supported, loved, and will be remembered in exactly the way they want to be. We encourage beneficiaries and their families to think about their legacy, how they want to be remembered, and then do everything in our power to make this happen. 

The state of things 

We believe there is a huge gap between the state of the UK’s current healthcare provisions for children with cancer and the state they should be in. Just 3% of funding spent on cancer research goes to children’s cancer despite the fact it is the No.1 cause of non-accidental death in young children. 

Part of our mission going forward will be to raise awareness more generally about children’s cancer. We want people to realise it can and does happen every day, to anyone. We want more specialist units. We want more education in young people and doctors in identifying childhood cancer. We want greater funding to help council young people and their families when they receive the news none of us want to hear. We want more research into childhood cancer occurrence and treatment. We want there to come a time when our charity is no longer necessary. 

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