Raising money for Troop Aid
I’ve always had an
obsession interest in military history. Of course, that interest led me to study the subject at the University of Birmingham, which is why I am here, today (though the story of transitioning from War Studies to social media is one for another article). That means that military charities support a cause I feel close to.
Troop Aid is the only charity with direct access to military hospitals in the UK. For me, that gives me the confidence that my sponsorship money is truly making it to where it is needed most – to those injured servicemen and women who have sacrificed so much in the face of danger.
Based here in the Midlands, Troop Aid is a no-frills charity that spends very little on marketing and promotion but has achieved a lot in its short history. In 2014 it won the Queen’s award for voluntary service and can name HRH the Prince of Wales as a patron. At the heart of what they do is the ‘Grab Bag’. These are small bags that contain items that at first you may think to be mundane and trivial – a pair of pants, toothpaste, shower gel, a flannel, socks and more. There’s nothing exciting about these items, they’re just basic essentials.
However, when you have been flown into a military hospital with nothing but clothes on your back, these essentials take on a whole new meaning, and they can genuinely make the difference in helping someone to feel human again after what they’ve been through. Troop Aid send their support “Grab Bags” to Cyprus, Canada, Kenya, Nepal, SouthSudan, Brunei and MOD hospital units in the UK. For me, it was an obvious candidate for my chosen charity.
In 2016 I decided to take up distance running. I was never one for sports, and I was finding it challenging working in a gym environment, so I started running around Sandwell Valley Park. Before long, I found myself running five kilometres at a time, and then ten. I bought my first pair of proper running shoes and entered my first event in November 2016 – a 10K race in Sutton Coldfield. I found a sport that I enjoyed, but I wanted to do more and run farther. The 8.5 mile Great Midlands Fun Run in June 2017 was the natural next step.
To help motivate me, I decided to run for Troop Aid. With a branded running jersey kindly donated by the team at Colour Cubed, I took to the streets of Sutton Coldfield once again and posted a personal best that has inspired me to go on and tackle the Birmingham Half Marathon in October. I was also privileged to be able to raise money for the charity and help pay for more Grab Bags to be produced.
I will continue to wear my Troop Aid jersey at races to raise awareness and get some people here and there to search for them on Google to find out more, but I don’t intend to ask for money. I believe that the work that this charity does speaks for itself, and so telling people about that work is now my mission.
Of course, if you do wish to make a donation, you can do so at http://troopaid.info/, and you will do so with my grateful thanks. In the meantime, let me know what races you’re taking part in, and I might see you at the start line soon!