Cleft Lip and Palate News Thoughts

Santa Run – Bexhill, 1 Dec 2019

Well it's been a number of years since I've run for anything other than a bus, plane or train, but this December once again I'm donning a Santa suit and heading back to East Sussex where my journey all began to support CLAPA.

What is it all about?

The Bexhill Santa Run is a 5km winter run along the seafront in Bexhill, East Sussex, England. True to its name, all competitors will be dressed in a full Santa suit to pay hommage to the season and bring about more merriment. It may not sound like a particularly long way, but when one’s cardiovascular fitness is only marginally better than that of the jolly red man himself, it seems like a reasonable enough distance to run in completely impractical attire.

Who are CLAPA and what do they do?

For over 40 years, the Cleft Lip and Palate Association (CLAPA) have been the UK charity providing support to all those affected by cleft lip and/or cleft palate from before birth through to adulthood. The support they provide is extensive from practical support of feeding bottles for those early days, peer and parent support for those moments when people just need to talk to someone who “gets it”, to events for families, children and young people, and adults. With more than 1 in 700 people in the UK (and around the world) born with cleft, CLAPA are the support network for thousands of people across the UK.

Why have you decided to run for CLAPA?

When I was born, my parents had no idea that I was going to be born with a cleft or the journey that lay ahead. But CLAPA were there – within 24 hours of me being born in Hastings, a CLAPA parent representative was talking to my mum providing information and support which would have a lasting impact. You can read my Mum’s story of those early days here.

Over the last couple of years, I have had the privilege of working with CLAPA and witnessing every day, the incredible effort that this small staff team based both in the small office in London, as well as from their homes right across the UK put into improving quality of life for me, and everyone who like me was born with a cleft, and their friends and families. The passion and dedication of the staff team, and the volunteers whom CLAPA mobilises is evident in all that CLAPA does – the organisation and the people within it are undoubtedly a pillar of the cleft community.

Cleft, despite being incredibly common, is also surprisingly niche, and so I see just how difficult it is for the organisation to raise money to continue delivering all the important services that they offer. My personal opinion is that nothing CLAPA is doing is dispensable and that we need to make sure it’s around for the next 40 years too. It is for this reason that I’m going to run in a red outfit until I’m red in the face.

What’s the significance of Bexhill?

If you were to run 5km in a straight line from Bexhill, you’d find yourself in St Leonard’s. You’ll find a hospital there – late on a Tuesday evening in May 1991 this is where I entered the world and my cleft journey began. It seems only fitting to go full circle and run in this event back where it all started – helping CLAPA in the same place where they first helped me and my family.

When is it?

Sunday 1st December 2019.

How can I support you to support CLAPA?

It would mean a lot to me if you’d consider sponsoring me to do this run.

How to donate in Pounds Sterling, Euros, US Dollars or Australian Dollars:

If you want to donate using one of the above currencies, the easiest way is by making a donation through my Just Giving page here. If you are based in the UK, through Gift Aid, HMRC will top up your donation with an extra 25%.

JustGiving - Sponsor me now!

How to donate in New Zealand Dollars:

The easiest way to make a donation in New Zealand dollars is to make a bank transfer to the bank number below. After the Santa Run, on Friday 20 December 2019 all NZ Dollar payments will be converted into Pounds Sterling and passed onto CLAPA.

Thank you for your kind support! ❤️

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