At the age of 2 my daughter Sophie became ill with a type of cancer called Leukemia and I set up WellyWalk to help other children and their families who have to deal with childhood cancer.
Why a charity called WellyWalk? Like lots of boys and girls, Sophie liked fashion and in particular her shoes and boots and she would often choose her pink welly boots over everything else.
WellyWalk started with fundraising in July 2009. Nursery and school children plus adult helpers walked around the school playing field wearing their favourite boots even though it was summer and very sunny which for sure appealed to everyone’s sense of humour.
Welly boots in summer, is it fun? Yes it is.
The WellyWalk vision is to support those affected by childhood cancer from the child and family’s perspective, creating an easy access forum, connecting and supporting existing medical and charitable groups and sharing news about good practice.
WellyWalk Family Forum currently has the privilege of being part of the parent representation on the South Coast Cancer Network Group which implements guidelines for improving outcomes for children and young people and works closely with Shared Care Environments in the region.
Everyone affected by childhood cancer, whether it be family friends, connected individuals or groups, such as children’s schools and nurseries often want to ask questions (without the risk or fear of creating additional upset) because they want to do the best they can by the family.
What has become apparent is that families are keen to do something often to say thank you for the work that the medical team do but sometimes are unsure how to best go about this and are limited in terms of time. The fundraising connection with schools and nurseries also provides the opportunity to talk to families as well as medical representatives.
Fundraising can take the form of a variety of WellyWalk activities. The aim is to promote the positive elements of families children and young people supporting those like themselves.
In summary, WellyWalk aims to promote the positive elements of children and young people supporting those like themselves. Children who are affected by childhood cancer show such determination, with a sense of humor and zest for life that it is inspirational for everyone who has the pleasure of knowing them.