At the start of the year I took up running and I've got the bug big time.
Pounding through puddles, jumping across ditches, unable to see where I'm going in the dark - none of it bothers me because I'm doing something I love and I'm passionate about. So in order to keep the momentum up I signed up to do the Colchester Half Marathon at the end of March and combine my passions - running and the charity I work for.
Age UK Essex suppports 1000s of older people, their families, friends and carers each year.
It's hard to imagine a time in mine or my parents lives when we might need the services offered by the charity. For how should any of us find ourselves completely on our own, unable or finding it difficult to leave the house even to buy a pint of milk, not sure of what the future will hold in terms of care and the difficulties in financing this? And yet this is the situation for many.
I work with an amazing team of volunteers who make visits and calls to lonely older people. Many colleagues comment on the fact that these Befrienders are the ONLY people these older, wonderful people see or speak to each week! Absolutely shocking to someone who barely gets a moment on their own.
Then there's the team of people who offer up knowledge and support. On almost a daily basis I see and hear the complex situation that family members present to the Information and Advice team. How are we going to a afford the care of my loved one? They want to move my uncle to a rehab care home 20 miles away from where any of his family live. And it's going to cost £££!
All these questions are answered and these people and families supported by Age UK Essex.
These services aren't funded. They're unable to support the numbers of people they would like to because money is tight! So that, my friends, is why I hope you will help me to raise money so that indirectly we can help more older people. Let's face it, it could be our parents or us one day.