If you’ve visited this blog over the last couple of weeks, you’re almost certainly familiar with our six-year-old son Joel and his one-boy crusade against global poverty. Having discovered something of the injustice in the world – particularly that experienced by children just like him – Joel decided that he couldn’t just stand by and let bad things happen. He started raising money for Tearfund in a cardboard box; devised his own sponsored challenge and asked me to set up a web page for it, and then watched wide-eyed as people all over the world caught hold of his vision. When he came to do his two-mile run on Saturday (23/6/12), he was a whisker away from having raised £6,000!
Joel had been insistent that he would run two miles, not one as we suggested, because ‘that sounds hard, and it should be hard.’ Truth be told, his mum (who along with Joel’s Granddad, ran with him while I valiantly took photos) and I thought that sounded like a long way for a relatively small boy. We needn’t have worried – not only did he run two miles without stopping, at times he was sprinting his way across the ground. He was excited by the opportunity to do something fun but – clad in his kindly-provided Tearfund t-shirt – he was also determined to keep up his side of the bargain. Joel has been massively encouraged, and I think, envisioned, by the amazing messages of support left for him on the fundraising page and this blog. So he really went for it – and I wish we’d timed the run, because it was fast!
Jo and I are really excited to see how what Joel has achieved impacts his ambitions, aspirations and horizons – and those of his brother and sister – as they grow up and begin to understand just how incredible this journey has been. Like him, we’re also humbled to think of the amazing difference that will be made to the lives of children living in poverty, through the work of Tearfund. And perhaps most surprisingly of all, we’ve seen so many people – old and young – catching hold of Joel’s words and seeing this vital subject through new eyes; for this and so much more, we’re all incredibly proud of him. Not because he raised lots of money, but because he cared enough to try.
Joel wanted to tell the story of his run in his own words, and to say thankyou to everyone who has supported him, so here he is again:
“I ran with my Mummy and my Granddad. Before we started, we did some warm-up exercises. When I was running I had a really bad tummyache, but I kept on going. I was really excited and amazed when I was doing the run. I ran past my school, through the graveyard, past my friend Henry’s house, then down an alleyway, and through another alleyway. When I ran through the second alleyway, I saw some children playing cricket. Then, I ran to the park and met the people who came to watch me: my uncle and auntie and my cousin, my grandma, my daddy, and my brother and sister, Samuel and Naomi.
Then I ran through the park and round the lake. When I was round the lake, I had finished! I ran to my family, and they cheered. Then my sister and my grandma ran round the lake. My baby brother Samuel ran to them too. I had an ice cream afterwards.
Thankyou for giving money. It is going to help poor people. I hope that it will help them to have mosquito nets, and clean water, houses and nice food. Love from Joel”