17 August 2015

£5,000 Boost For Get A Life! Foundation

New charity gets support from TSB Bank and three intrepid young ladies who will pound London's streets.

21 August 2015 will see three intrepid "thirty-somethings" do all they can to raise £5,000 for new charitable foundation, Get A Life!.  Walking 17 bridges across London's River Thames from Tower Bridge to Putney bridge, the trio will pound the pavements for more than 15 miles.

Get a Life! is a foundation set up by an inspirational young lady, Karen Reader from the Isle of Wight, who had a car accident which left her having to use a wheelchair at the age of 23.  This also meant Karen had to put the careers she loved as a Virgin air stewardess and professional dancer behind her.

While Karen and her family were trying to pull their lives together she realised just how difficult it was to find the emotional and practical support needed by people whose lives are left devastated in this way - and so she set up this vital foundation.

The funds raised will be put to use by funding the Charity's 'Get Started!' campaign which will provide a one stop shop of information and advice for individuals and their families who become disabled.

This initial campaign will be an online resource with hard copy leaflets distributed through medical facilities.  Once this phase is achieved, Get a Life! will work with trained counsellors and  psychologists to develop tailored support groups and counselling sessions for couples, parents, children and other loved ones left affected by a family member finding themselves facing a future living with a disability.  By supporting the relationships of the individual affected as well as by helping their own emotional well being, the Foundation is supporting them the best way we can.

Karen Reader, founder of Get a Life! Foundation, says:  "As a charity very much in its infancy, we are so grateful for the efforts of these wonderful ladies to help us move forward in our quest to improve the emotional support for individuals who become disabled and their families.

"My husband and I set up Get a Life! Foundation after our own experience following my life changing injury. We felt there was little support to help us adjust emotionally, both as individuals and in our relationship."

The three walkers who are supported by TSB Bank are Charlotte Sjoberg, Hari Miller and Clare Needham.  Hari and Charlotte who are TSB employees are using their "Day to make a difference" to take part in this venture - a programme which sees the Bank give every one of its employees the opportunity to support a local cause on a work day.  Costa Coffee is also lending its support by providing refreshments along the way.

To support the venture, please visit: https://mydonate.bt.com/fundraisers/17bridges

To find out more about Get A Life!, please visit: www.getalifecharity.org

You can follow the walkers on Twitter using the hashtag #abridgetoofar and @1981CSS, @hari_miller and @Clare_Needham.  Karen Reader can be contacted on @DDisabiility and the charity via @GetALIfeCharity. 

Karen's husband Garry recalls his memories of their own experience following Karen's accident:
"When Karen's injuries started to look like they may have a long term impact on our lives we had to start thinking about the practicalities of adaptations, blue badges, benefits and other factors to try and make our lives a little easier. There was so much to think about and this was all at the same time as I was trying to support us both financially as Karen was unable to work.

"We were a mere six months into our relationship when Karen's accident took place so the change was immense. I felt overwhelmed by the fact our lives were changing so much, but I spent the little time I did have trying to research all of this information whilst feeling sleep deprived and exhausted as I tried to care for her and support her in the best way I could.

"There is some practical information available through government websites and other fantastic resources related to specific conditions, but Karen had a car accident which through complications left her with a rare condition and we were subsequently left feeling like we fell through the gaps.

"Having a loved one become disabled through illness or injury, or becoming disabled yourself is an incredibly challenging time, so we believe the process should be made as easy as possible by providing people with not only practical advice, but also much needed emotional advice and resources to help individuals and their relationships with their loved ones through this process."