TeeJay Jones writes- 2012 is set to be one of the most exciting years of my life. I am working with a team of 26 sport-mad folks who will put their bodies, minds and souls on the line to raise a quarter of a million pounds during the year in support of HOPE HIV, a charity who work with children in Sub-Saharan Africa who’s lives have been devastated by HIV. Having grown up in Africa myself, I have seen firsthand how HIV can tear families apart. Its not just the stigma of having the virus that can alienate you from the community, but when both parents die, often leaving children to either be looked after by elderly grandparent, or in the worst cases, left to fend for themselves – it almost doesn’t bear thinking about. Living in the UK now, I am all too aware of how privileged I am. Free healthcare, a great job, and the security of an active and working social security system.
I can’t imagine living below the poverty line , losing my parents and at the age of 10 or 11 having to take responsibility for a couple of younger siblings. How do you survive? No social services, no access to free education, no means of income? The team are a particularly creative lot, with events being arranged from all sides of the sporting world. Everything from the Marathon Des Sables, to a bog snorkelling triathlon (?), from downhill mountain bike racing to the Three Peaks Challenge and from military style obstacle courses to the London to Paris Bike Ride. With the full support of the incredible team at Network Marketing and The Book, I am looking forward to my first BIG challenge: a 12 hour Squash-a-thon. I’ll be playing squash from 08.00 until 20.00 on Saturday 25th February at Kirkstall Leisure centre in Leeds. It’s possibly the biggest physical challenge I have ever faced and what makes me nervous is that generally by the end of a 40 minute session, I am completely exhausted...how will I manage 12 hours? Take a moment to wander though our website (www.the12in12.com) where you can see what crazy events are being organised, meet the team, and read about our motivation for getting involved in a project this big. I’ll be blogging about my journey though the year fairly regularly, so check back here to keep up to date! Please don’t hesitate to get in touch if you would like to join me for one of my events and have a look at my justgiving page if what we are doing inspires you! www.justgiving.com/teejays12in12