A year since the launch of a specialist fund to support children with disabilities and terminal illness in Devon – and Sam’s Legacy has raised more than £9,000 and helped fund vital equipment for a dozen children in the county.
The most recent fundraiser – by Hemyock resident Chris Kenny, aged 34 – resulted in £1,000 for Sam’s Legacy.
Chris took on a gruelling coast-to-coast running, cycling and kayaking challenge from Nairn to Glencoe in Scotland, covering 105 miles. ‘Absolutely shattered,’ he finished the two-day event with a smile on his face.
“It went really well,” Chris enthused. “Probably one of the best experiences of my life and we saw some amazing scenery. I ran with my elder brother Andy and it required massive efforts but the rewards were worth it. I am a runner so the cycling stages were difficult.
“Running that final climb into Glencoe was also very difficult – the mountain was so big it never seemed to end, plus the climb into Fort Augustus on day one was really hard.
“When we completed the Coast to Coast I had several beers, a hearty meal and then got straight off to sleep.”
Chris achieved his Just Giving target of £1,000, which will go directly to Sam’s Legacy. The fund was launched last September by Newlife Foundation for Disabled Children – the UK’s largest charity funder of specialist equipment for children with disabilities and terminal illness – with the support of Sam’s family, the Allens, who live in Hemyock.
Newlife had supported their teenage son Sam through provision of a mobility scooter so he could get around independently as he fought a courageous battle against cancer. Sadly, Sam passed away last year, aged 18.
Chris, a private airline steward, said: “At the back of my mind I knew from the newspaper articles when I was training that the Newlife Sam’s Legacy fund needed £1,232 for ten children in Devon and that is the goal I am still working towards. Hopefully I can raise the extra, just over £230, to help those ten children.”
Sam’s mum Nicky Allen added: “We cannot believe the level of money that has been raised. It is amazing! Sam was a true inspiration to us all and this shows in the generosity from everyone. Even after a year it is wonderful to see the money still being raised.”
Newlife Foundation offers a wide range of specialist equipment – including beds and car seats for safety, buggies and walking frames for mobility and communication aids so children can tell their parents when they are hungry or in pain.
Of the 12 children in Devon helped so far with funding from Sam’s Legacy, four have received wheelchairs, another four have specialist seating, two have received buggies, one now has a car seat and the remaining child was provided with waterproof bedding.
Newlife Foundation Head of Operations Stephen Morgan said: “With applications for help significantly up on last year, Newlife is calling on local people to help support local children. Growing demands on limited statutory services budgets mean they are increasingly unable to fully support the number of children with disabilities and terminal illness. That’s why we are looking to bridge the ever-widening gap – with the public’s help. “We are enormously grateful for this support from the Allen family and the many fundraisers in and around the Hemyock area, including Chris Kenny, who have enabled us to react to children’s desperate situations so they get the right equipment at the right time.”
For more information about ‘Sam’s Legacy’, go to: www.newlifecharity.co.uk/sam. Alternatively, you can call the Newlife Community Fundraising Team on 0800 988 4640 (free from UK landlines).
To find out more about the range of equipment grant and loan support services offered by the charity, call the Newlife Nurse Helpline on 0800 902 0095 (free from UK landlines) or email [email protected]
If you would like to support Chris Kenny’s fundraising for Sam’s Legacy log on to: www.justgiving.com/Coasttocoastforsam
Pictured: Chris Kenny