We received this letter in the office from John, a long standing CAFOD supporter, who told us of his “supporter journey.” We are in awe of anyone who could swim 2.6 miles, then cycle for 112 miles and then finish off the day by running a Marathon!
My first recollections of CAFOD were involved with fundraising organised at school. Receiving a Catholic education reinforced those contacts with Catholic agencies who regularly visited our parish.
However, I did not fully appreciate the impact of CAFOD could have on the lives of others until the Indian Ocean tsunami of 2004. The TV coverage brought the devastation and destruction into the homes of all of us, even here on the other side of the world. The following spring, my eldest daughter decided to travel to the region with a friend to undertake charity work there.
On her return, she was full of praise for the disaster relief efforts coordinated through the UN, in which CAFOD plays such a big role. As one of the major contributors to worldwide emergency disaster relief, Rebecca recounted having the resources on stand-by, CAFOD made a huge difference to those left devastated! She also mentioned how, the coastal communities who were so heavily reliant on tourism were struggling as foreign visitors stayed away. As a result, we decided our next family holiday would be to the south coast of Sri Lanka, where indeed we were the only Europeans besides relief workers – we still keep in touch with the family with whom we stayed and have had many invitations to return since.
On our return we investigated how we could make a long-lasting contribution to the work of CAFOD and were delighted to receive their Christmas pack of gift ideas! The children all sponsored a goat or cow for a village in Africa instead of a more conventional present from Father Christmas!
We also took advantage of the scheme whereby we contribute as a family to CAFOD through a monthly direct debit from our bank account. In return we receive regular updates in the post of the work CAFOD is able to undertake on our behalf – it is truly inspiring!
Then of course there are the one off sporting challenges that seem to appeal to me in my mid-life crisis despite becoming increasingly implausible!
Thus, when looking for a challenge to inspire and impress my family and colleagues, I chose to enter IRONMAN UK 2013 in order to raise funds for CAFOD. Being a weak swimmer, moderate cyclist and slow jogger meant that the 2.6 mile swim, 112 mile bike ride and 26.2 mile marathon was a true test and one that would capture the imagination of those I approached for funds. It also represented a great opportunity to explain some of the work that CAFOD does, to my non-Catholic friends and colleagues, who hadn’t otherwise heard of CAFOD.
I haven’t decided what challenge to set myself for next year, but you can rest assured that it will be taken in order to raise more funds for CAFOD.
As we’ve said before, the people who we are able to help really appreciate what ordinary people will put themselves through to support CAFOD. Our supporters do this out of love for people they might never meet but will have a lasting effect on.
“In the evening of life, we will be judged on love alone.” St. John of The Cross