Team Denplan raise money for Make a Wish Foundation

Posted by Vittoria Gallagher on 15/09/2016
frowns and smiles

his weekend, Team Denplan took on one of our biggest charity challenges to date:The National Three Peaks Challenge, raising money for the Make a Wish Foundation. A team of 18 walkers (dentists and Denplan staff alike) with the support of their 2 ground control, 2 guides and 2 minibus drivers, took on the challenge of ascending and descending The Three Peaks: Snowdon in Wales, Scafell Pike in England and Ben Nevis in Scotland. All in just 24 hours.

Swapping blazers for wet gear, and Louboutin’s for walking boots, our team were awake at 5am Saturday morning, and started the ascent of Snowdon in the pouring rain. If they thought that doing this in July would save them from the British weather, they were wrong. It was pouring with rain, and it was freezing.

One thing became clear very quickly: although everyone had trained, this was more of a challenge than anyone could have predicted. Literally, this was NOT a walk in the park! The ascent was described as “the stairway to hell”.

Having climbed and descended Snowdon and had a hot chicken sandwich provided by their amazing Ground Control support crew, it was time to get back onto the minibus, for the drive to Scafell Pike. Catching forty winks on the mini-bus was the plan, but turned out a bumpy and noisy drive was not conducive for a good kip.

Up and down Scafell Pike, and taking in some beautiful views, sure, but by now people were flagging. More sandwiches, and back on the minibuses for a five hour drive to Scotland. That’s three countries in 18 hours! Even just the travelling is exhausting, let alone literally having to climb a mountain in country! Arriving at Ben Nevis at 2am, they were chucked out of the mini-bus, wet gear back on, head torches on, and a third mountain to climb. In the pouring rain and wind. Of course.

Needless to say, they did it because it had to get done. Ben Nevis certainly wasn’t a picnic. Arriving back at 7am the next morning, soaked through to the bone, they were greeted with a gin and tonic and a more than welcome breakfast in Wetherspoons!

So, how did they stay motivated, I guess you’re asking?

Well, as well as jelly babies, sweets and 90’s hip hop rap, Ground Control had prepared them goody bags. Inside were massagers, pillow spray, foot spray, phone chargers and
treats. But as well as all that, they were each given a card to remind them of why they were doing this.

So far, Team Denplan have raised over £4,000for the Make-A-Wish Foundation. The Make-A-Wish Foundation grants children and young adults fighting life threatening conditions their own magical wish. Wishes can be anything from bedroom make-overs to walking with dinosaurs (hey, they’re can do ANYTHING).

Make-A-Wish have been granting wishes to sick children for 30 years. Their story started with a young boy called Anthony.  In 1986, Anthony was diagnosed with an inoperable brain tumour, meaning he would have to undergo 6 weeks of radiotherapy treatment. Having been told he only had one more Christmas, his family set about to make it the best.

After Christmas, the family carried on as normally as possible The community were raising money for a local girl who had a stomach tumour – Anthony and his family went along to the fundraiser, unaware that their lives were about to be changed forever.

Make-A-Wish had only been founded in the UK in 1986, and had yet to grant its first wish. Volunteers went to the Liverpool fundraiser and met Anthony and his family – they knew that they had to help this special boy.

Anthony’s greatest wish was to go to Disneyland. And after months of pain and suffering, Anthony became their first ever wish child, jetting off to Disneyland in Orlando, Florida for the most magical experience of his life.

The family enjoyed an absolutely amazing week in Florida. But whilst the children enjoyed themselves, Tony and Ann were gathering memories as they prepared for the worst.

However, months passed and Anthony seemed to be pulling through. Every day he seemed to be getting stronger. As Anthony’s condition stabilised, it became clear that he could defy the doctor’s expectations. Amazingly, all of the family’s wishes seemed to be coming true – tough little Anthony would not only survive past the 12 months but live to become an adult and uncle.

Unfortunately, not every child has the same happy ending as Anthony. Hannah is a nurse on the Children’s Oncology Ward art Southampton General Hospital. Hannah said of Make-A-Wish: “Sadly some of the children we refer are palliative. In these cases we are very aware that sometimes a wish is the last chance a family will have to spend quality time together. Make-A-Wish are able to grant wishes for these children in a timely manner – so they are able to make special memories whilst they’re still well enough to enjoy them.”

The memories created by this foundation are priceless. So having read their reminder cards, armed with jelly babies and chicken sandwiches, Team Denplan’s motivation and inspiration came from nurses like Hannah, and fundraisers, but mainly from the children themselves. If children as young as 3 can be brave enough to fight life-threatening diseases, then Team Denplan can climb some mountains to make that
fight a little easier, to bring a smile to their and their families’ faces, and to create lasting and magical memories.
And with that in mind, we are asking for your donation. Please visit our fundraising page and give as much or as little as you can: every penny really does count.

Thank you all, from a still slightly aching Team Denplan.

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