For many, staying fit and healthy has become a key priority as we find ourselves stuck at home during lockdown. Many of us are taking up running as a form of exercise, knowing we can do it safely and in accordance with Government guidelines to stay local and socially distant from others.
For 13-year-old football fan Jacob Pope (pictured above), however, lockdown has inspired him to take his exercise goals one step further.
As a member of the Chelsea Academy Under-13s, he’d normally be at regular football training sessions, keeping fit and healthy, alongside his team mates. Throughout the lockdown period, and while these training sessions can’t go ahead, the Academy has been sending their trainees challenges to complete at home, such as 2km and 5km runs. Jacob, however, decided to combine these to create a 100km challenge, which he aimed to complete throughout the month of April.
What’s more, the inspiring youngster decided he would use this challenge to fundraise for the Rowans Hospice Charity in memory of his grandad Bob, who spent his last weeks at Rowans Hospice in 2011.
This was a way to say thank you and keep grandad Bob’s memory alive.
When asked about his motivation, Jacob said, “I normally do a lot of football training, which keeps me fit and active, but as we are in lockdown, I’ve had to take up running instead. I decided to put this to good use and raise money for Rowans Hospice. This was a way to say thank you and keep grandad Bob’s memory alive”.
His mum Kelly added, “We’ve always supported Rowans since you cared for my Dad, and donated when we can, it’s the first charity you think of. But now especially, it needs our support so we thought he could do this challenge to help”.
So, throughout April, Jacob went running regularly and the distance soon added up. At one point he ran an impressive 21km in just one session! With a JustGiving page set up, generous friends and family sponsored him in support of this amazing effort, and he’s now raised over £1,000!
His Dad Lee said, “We set a target of £150, never thinking it would get to £1000, so we’re really happy. He’s done really well, and everyone is very proud of him”.
With so many parents worried about the amount of screentime adding up for their children while schools are closed, along with a lack of structure and sense of achievement in their day, Jacob is an inspiring example for young people across our local community. He’s proven it can be easy to find something to do that you enjoy and keeps you active, all while doing something amazing for local charity too.
So, on behalf of the Rowans Hospice Charity, we wanted to say big thank you to Jacob and also wish him all the luck in the world on his football training journey with the Chelsea Academy too!
As well as Jacob, here at the Charity, we are in awe of some of other fantastic examples of inspiring young people as well:
Recently, as part of The 2.6 Challenge – a national campaign set up to mark what would have been the 40th London Marathon on 26 April to help UK charities who have seen unprecedented financial losses in income – 4-year-old Evie undertook 26 acts of kindness with her mum Sophie and raised £650 through sponsorship.
Sophie, who is a doctor at Rowans Hospice said, “I witness the incredible care we provide every day, and decided to use the 2.6 Challenge fundraiser as an opportunity to encourage Evie to consider the importance of being kind to towards others.”
Another youngster, Matilda (pictured here on her bike), wrote a list of challenges, from reading 26 short stories and drawing 26 rainbows, to cycling 26km and completing a 26-minute sponsored silence, and has raised over £350 through sponsorship.
Her mum Melanie said: “My daughter Matilda is fundraising for you because her auntie, my sister, Vanessa, was cared for at the Rowans in her final days in April 2016. I ran the London Marathon in April 2017 on the anniversary of my sister’s death… I want my daughter to carry on the legacy of fundraising and this is a great way to take part”
And, 11-year-old Sienna completed a 2.6km run and also raised nearly £300 through sponsorship. Her mum said, “She loves sport, so loved the idea of the challenge. We have a dear friend who is currently receiving support from the Rowans and Sienna wanted to help her”.
That’s over £2,000 thanks to the incredible achievements of these young and inspiring people in our local community doing something amazing for their local Hospice charity.