A local family supported by Charlie House has helped raise £13,055 for the charity, having completed 10 challenging 10k runs across consecutive Saturdays throughout the summer months.
Originally setting a target of £2,500, Jill Cameron who works for Charlie House, planned the ambitious fundraiser in recognition of her son Harris turning 10 this year. Harris lives with a condition called Pfeiffer Syndrome, is registered blind and also has epilepsy and hydrocephalus.
Following the challenge’s announcement in April, Jill trained regularly with Harris in his all-terrain jogger buggy, and enlisted the support of other keen runners to help raise funds. Working as a team, the fundraiser was aptly titled Harris’ Running Heroes 10x10k Challenge.
Kicking the fundraiser off on April 15th, the date of the first run, Harris’ Running Heroes doubled the original target within one week. By the last run on June 17th, the challenge had gathered the attention of more than 200 supporters, who generously donated to the cause.
When planning the challenge, Jill’s aim was to raise money for the Buy a Brick campaign, which Charlie House launched in 2022 to help raise £1m for its Big Build Appeal, an initiative to develop a dedicated support centre in Aberdeen for children with life-limiting or life-threatening conditions and their families.
The original £2,500 target would allow Harris’ Running Heroes to purchase 10 virtual bricks at £250 each, but with the final total smashing the target by 522%, the team was able to buy 40 virtual bricks instead, which also helped Charlie House reach a major milestone of more than 500 brick purchases.
Additionally, due to the overwhelming support, the remaining £3,055 has also been allocated to help with increasing demand for the charity’s activities and support services for families.
Jill, who has two main passions, running and raising money for Charlie House, said: “Since my last fundraising challenge in 2019, we’ve been through a few personal challenges, including Harris having major craniofacial surgery and enduring a traumatic recovery, as well as moving house at the end of 2022.
“However, this year is significant in a very positive way, as Harris turned 10, marking a decade of our amazing hero and all that he has been through so far.
“This was more than just a running challenge, it was an endurance and mental one too, but we knew we could do it and my husband Craig was there every week to cheer us on and help us! Each Saturday we ran 10k from Bucksburn to Dyce and back, and recorded each run on Strava. Harris and I even completed one of the runs while we were on holiday in Carrbridge in freezing temperatures.
"It was amazing to have the support of friends and family during our weekly runs. On the final 10k we had a total of 19 participants which included virtual 10k routes being run in Windsor, England and in Montreal, Canada."
Funds raised for the Buy a Brick campaign contribute to the physical foundations of the Big Build, and will allow the charity to move closer to its goal of providing vital support, services, respite and end of life care in the North-east from the purpose built facility.
Following completion, the centre will enable children and their families to make precious memories together. The plans include state-of-the-art spaces including a sensory room, spa pool, craft room, soft play area and therapy room.
Jill added: "Over the last few years I've been fundraising by participating in various running challenges. By doing this I am able to help raise awareness of how important it is to us and families alike to actually have Charlie House built here in the north-east of Scotland. We shouldn't have to travel more than 100 miles from Aberdeen for any kind of respite or end of life care."
John Brebner, CEO of Charlie House, said: “Jill, Harris and the rest of their team are an inspiration! We are so proud of their incredible achievement and are so grateful for their contribution to our cause.
“Thank you to everyone who took part in Jill’s challenge and to those who so generously donated, your support is integral to the development of our physical Charlie House, which will provide practical and emotional support for local families.”
To find out more about the Buy a Brick campaign, click here.
To find out more ways you can support children with life-limiting or life-threatening conditions and their families, click here.