As we gear up to recruiting more potential bone marrow donors at Isle of Wight Festival this weekend (weather permitting, we’re hoping for another 500+ donor weekend), I’ve been thinking quite a lot this week about what LHS really means to me.
I think it all started for me unsuccessfully trying to spit into a bottle at The Gathering 2011. It didn’t work, I was subsequently sent a blood extraction kit which scared the life out of me and still sits in a cupboard at home. But what stuck with me was the brilliant simplicity of the Love Hope Strength mission, and I enquired to see what I could do to help. Since then I feel genuinely honoured to be part of such an amazing family that always seems to give back more than you can ever put in. So I wanted to put together a little list of things I’m thankful for;
The Parliament Donor Drives.
Strip away all the political veneer and you’ll find a bunch of people absolutely delighted to support our fantastic cause. The great story of Salisbury MP John Glen‘s match coming from those sessions still gives me a massive buzz.
Snowdon in 2011. Incorrect footwear, and massively underprepared (1 litre of water and a bag of Jelly Babies). I met Lydia on this trip, she gave me some great encouragement during the tough bits (they were ALL tough bits). This trip cemented friendships and a realisation that I needed to be a lot fitter.
Ben Nevis 2013. I fell hard, knackered my leg, but was encouraged on by Dave Spragg who passed me on his way back down. He said there was no shame in giving up, which was the best bit of reverse psychology ever! He also waited patiently for me 3 hours after everyone else made it down. I still have the scar on my leg but whenever I look at it I feel proud.
All of the gigs, with all of the bands that support LHS, are brilliant. Long may they continue! When an artist gets behind us, it is really an unstoppable force. Naturally IoW Festival is a stand-out for me, with the sheer enthusiasm large groups of young people – young people that supposedly nowadays don’t care so much about charity – bring. Stories of loss or suffering are often followed up by a steely determination to do something, and often one person’s story is enough to spur on a group of 3, 5 or even 10 others – almost all of whom take the time to shake your hand and tell you what a great job you are doing.
Being involved in The Scriptures and the One Night Only Tour is stuff that will stay with me for ever. Because of Mike’s drive & passion to make a difference in constantly innovative ways through LHS, I’ve met a lot of very cool people and had a lot of cool photos. More importantly we raised some great money. Still grinning!
I got to thinking about writing this story as I very recently lost my dad to aggressive lymphoma. It was discovered too late and we lost him within 2 weeks of diagnosis. But whilst there was sadly nothing to be done for him, the phenomenal amount of Love Hope & Strength shown to me & my family through messages, emails and cards from the extended Alarm, LHS, & Delete Blood Cancer family has been a significant comfort – as I said, giving back more than I could ever put in.
I hope the mountains stay dry for those of you climbing this summer. I will do one again one day, promise!
Picture – our 1st IoW Festival in the Eye of the Hurricane after our stand blew away 😉