It was sometime between June and August 2016, I was working in New York at time. It was a Monday night, I was out with the Kick4Life stalwart supporters (you know who they are) for a casual evening, taking it easy with the working week ahead. Three margaritas, at leeeeaast two tequila shots, and a plate of nachos later, I decided it will be a great idea to run the New York marathon.
There was some logic to the madness. I had been living in New York for the summer, working in sport for development. I knew the amazing work Pete and the K4L team were doing, I'd even played (tried to play) football for them in the official K4L tournament! I thought running the marathon would be a fitting conclusion to my time in the amazing city that is NYC, plus I'd be raising some worthwhile funds for a cause I'd come to admire. But things didn't quite turn out as planned. I was three weeks into training and a number of injuries flared up, tequila abuse no doubt impairing my ability to rehabilitate appropriately! I left NYC with my place in the marathon deferred.
Roll on 2017 and life changed tact somewhat. I made the move to South Africa to experience what it was like to work on-the-ground for some of the amazing programmes I had had the privilege to work with whilst at Beyond Sport. It was a game-changer. For the first time, I could appreciate the magnitude of social inequality that exists in our world: the discrimination, the poverty, the lack of opportunity, the violence, the corruption, the disease, the famine, unemployment - the list goes on. And this is in South Africa, a country classified as 'developed’ ! The situation in Lesotho is worse.
For those who don't know, Lesotho - or the Kingdom of Lesotho as it is officially - is a landlocked country completely surrounded by South Africa. Lesotho has the second-highest HIV prevalence rate in the world, one of the lowest life expectancies, and over half of its two million people get by on less that $1.90 a day. Lesotho is also home to K4L's flagship site. So, going back to it all...
The cause I'd 'come to admire' in the summer of 2016 has now become my life in 2017. Whilst I don't work for K4L, I work with another NGO who strive for the same end goal - using sport to alleviate some of the adversity faced by vulnerable children and at-risk youth in Southern Africa. Now the inspiration for running this marathon is so much more than 'a tequila' shot; I am running to help change the lives of children.
My target is to raise £2,000 but I want to smash that! I can vouch first hand, any donation you can afford will make such a difference, you wouldn't believe. To put it into perspective:
- £10 provides an HIV testing for one child, referring them to ongoing medical treatment if they test positive.
- £25 enables a vulnerable child to go to school for a month, covering school fees and dinners.
- £50 enables 25 children & young people to take part in a football & life-skills coaching session.
- £100 enables the delivery of a life-skills curriculum to a whole team of Academy participants for a month.
I am here in SA and I am seeing first-hand the amazing work organsiations like K4L are doing and the genuine impact they are making. Please don't dismiss this as 'another fundraising ask'. Every penny counts and even the smallest amount will genuinely help change a child's life...surely that's worth a tequila shot!