I started fundraising a few years ago when my brother, Liam, passed away from cancer aged 14; I was 12 at the time. Liam was a fundraising legend, raising £340,000 and a further £7million by heading a campaign. A couple of years back I set up The Liam Fairhurst Foundation – helping young people affected by cancer, disabilities and illnesses across the UK.
When my brother died I promised him 2 things ; that I would live a great life and that I would help others. This is why I have decided to embark upon a mammoth round the world cycle ride www.challenge360.org . On this Cycle the Globe challenge I will experience the heat of the deserts and the extreme winter of Europe, the rain of Asia, the mountains of Switzerland, the populated towns and cities of India to the remote landscapes of America. All funds raised will go to charities and communities of the countries that I am visiting; whether it’s education or clean water in Asia or putting a smile on the faces of severely ill children in the UK and America.
I have had so many amazing moments with all the charity work that there really are too many memories to pick out one – I wouldn’t even give it a go! However the best parts are always meeting those that the charity has helped and seeing the work that has been completed first hand.
I love fundraising because it gives you so many opportunities to do so many fun things; that’s probably the main reason why I enjoy it. On top of this, it’s brilliant to be able to help so many incredible young people throughout the UK, whilst keeping the memory of my amazing brother alive.
Recently through my charity work I’ve been fortunate enough to be able to meet people like the Queen and Prime Minister, its been so great to have these opportunities. However the people I enjoy meeting the most are those that have supported or have been supported by the charity – its great to hear first hand why people choose to help the Liam Fairhurst Foundation and even better to see the incredible difference it makes; we’ve recently received a letter from a young lad called Harrison and his parents – which can be seen on the LFF Facebook page!
There are so many elements to running a charity; everything from running social media, to making sure as many families are supported as possible. We love keeping in contact with families that have been supported, we get to know many as close friends. Trying to find new ways to fundraise is a hard process, constantly trying to engage different people and finding something fun for people to do, that will raise lots! We welcome ideas and support!
There are some downsides to running a charity as with everything good, theres usually a something a bit bad. Taking up lots of time can be the annoying bit, its hard to keep track of all the emails/calls etc with limited time – if I was to dedicate all of my time and start this as a job, that wouldn’t be an issue – but I’ve vowed never to be paid by the foundation. Despite it getting a bit annoying some times, I’ve chosen to do it and the number of people the charity helps is certainly worth the ‘work’.
I couldn’t run the charity on my own; without my friends and family there would be no charity! They’re the ones that help drive the foundation the furthest, and some have been dragged into my fundraising attempts – like my friend Vicky who’s cycling through Australia with me!
It doesn’t matter if you’ve not done anything charity related before – everyones got to start somewhere! You can do so many different things for charities, its not all about shaking a bucket or baking cakes or doing a run. Charities across Cambridge are constantly looking for help – if you like journalism, many are trying to find people to assist them with articles. Or wanting to be a presenter? Plenty of charities are trying to find volunteer spokespeople – there is sure to be a charity somewhere near by that needs help with something you love doing! Not only is it great fun, it’s a great experience!
My ultimate ambition for the fundraising that I do is to be able to help thousands of incredible young people every year!
It’s hard to answer why I like Cambridge so much; there is not one thing that defines Cambridge’s brilliance, more a multitude of factors that concoct together creating a truly awesome place. Deep in history, wherever you turn there’s a story to be told, surrounded by beauty – whether the old colleges or the landscapes and cobbled streets that surround them (not forgetting the Botanical Gardens!) – and perhaps best of all, filled with a great bunch of people (on the whole!).
Would it surprise you if I said cycling is my favourite, free thing to do in Cambridge? Easy, cheap and fun. If I was asked a fun fact about myself ; Ooooh! Im not sure… This is a tough one; a weird fact about me is that I once got stuck in a ‘dog flap’ aged 8! (I was trying to show my dog how to use it!) My personal ambition asides from crazy cycling challenges and fundraising would be to have a great life and to change the world! ( I know, poor answer, but a good ambition !)