I am not a runner… it’s a running joke in my family that I only run for food, but when my friend Alfie took his own life at only 14, this changed. I could see the mass amount of upset and confusion around Alfie’s loss and could see Alfie’s mum, Gemma – one of the most resilient people I know – feeling absolutely hopeless. This shocked me into action.
When I looked into it, I was astonished to find out that suicide is not a “one-off”, suicide is tragically an everyday occurrence. It is the biggest killer of young people in the UK. I became aware of PAPYRUS when Gemma set up Alfie’s much-loved page. I donated money in Alfie’s name and then started to research the charity.
PAPYRUS save lives everyday with their helpline HOPELINEUK. They also campaign for suicide awareness – something I am now passionate about. As time went on I realised that if I didn’t do something to make a difference, I’d never feel any better about what had happened. I didn’t want anyone else to feel the grief Alfie’s family, friends and I all felt, I didn’t want anyone else to be left with so many questions unanswered, I didn’t want any other young person’s life to be cut short.
So, I decided to run a 10K with my boyfriend Tom. I set up a JustGiving page with Alfie’s mum and started my training. I got a very kind email from Toni, one of the fundraising team for PAPYRUS, attaching links to support I could access for people bereaved by suicide and a sponsorship form for my offline supporters.
As time went on the fundraising team emailed me to see how I was doing. Whenever I emailed I always got a quick response and the replies were always very kind and understanding about Alfie.
PAPYRUS gave me a shout out on their social media after I had finished the race and retweeted one of Gemma’s tweets which was trying to get a shout out from the Arctic Monkeys at a concert Gemma was going to on Alfie’s birthday – the first birthday without him here. This meant a lot to both of us.
I didn’t expect the amount of support I received from PAPYRUS, it was a difficult time for me and their encouragement meant a lot. When I reached my grand total, I got a thank you letter from them which is now pinned up in my bedroom. It helps to remind me that I have made a difference.
Fundraising, for me, was a good distraction when I felt upset. When I finished the race and reached my total of £1000 I felt on top of the world. I felt as if I had made Alfie proud. If you are looking to fundraise for PAPYRUS I’d say, “Go for it!” The charity is really supportive and empathetic. I loved fundraising for them. They’ll be there for you all the way, any questions you have – they won’t hesitate to answer them and they always remind you of how much of an amazing thing you are doing! I can’t thank them enough for the mass amount of support.