2020 - A year like no other

Ah January! When we arrived into January 2020 fresh eyed and bushy tailed, eager to get cracking on so many dreams we had in our pipeline, we had no idea how much of a plot twist would occur which brought challenge, hardship and sacrifice in some way to each and every person globally. We could focus on the negatives of 2020, it was such a tough year! But we choose to be eternal optimists (is there any point in being anything else?) and here is the round up of our year in hindsight.

January got off to a flying start both in terms of donations received from our outstandingly generous fundraisers, but also the dreams we had received and were working on. It was a busy time but exciting as we could see so many ways that we would be bringing some cheer to those children and their families that were so in need of it.

Lilly-Mai’s bedroom makeover dream kicked off the year and the first of many bedroom makeovers. Our trustee Ben commented when he met her that she was such a little start and didn’t let her condition (Agile Syndrome) get her down.

Chinese New Year was celebrated in style at Bluebell Wood Children's Hospice with a little help from ourselves. The photos of the children enjoying themselves warmed our hearts so.

At the end of January came the news that Patient A was the first person in the UK to test positive for COVID-19. Most of us were still happy in our little bubbles at that time, blissfully oblivious of the catastrophic change about to engulf the entire world.

February saw our founding trustee Adam make a guest appearance on BBC Radio Sheffield's show 'Baring All' – Did you hear Adam tell us all about the reasons behind why our charity was founded?

Also in February we had the amazing news that Izzie had received the all clear and was in recovery from Hodgkins Lymphoma. We had sent Izzie to Wyburn Safari Park the previous year for her dream and as some of the trustees had grown to know Izzie and her family well, this really was such welcome news that made us all shed a few tears of happiness.

Then on to our charity takeover day at Sheffield Wednesday Football Club. What a day that was! We had many volunteers helping us with a bucket collection from the very generous fans it was a heart warming day were team rivalries were put aside for a moment with the away team being just as generous and giving as the home team fans were.

March brought George his dream of attending Centre Parcs. George had a fabulous time and we could see from the photos we were sent by his parents that he didn't let his conditions of Septo Displasia and Epilepsy affect his ability to have a really fun few days.

Sienna's dream was also in March. Sienna has several health issues related to her Bilateral Vocal Chord Palsy and a tracheotomy in place which obviously has its' own challenges. Her dream was for a Marvel themed bedroom and we were happy to oblige as lets face it, who doesn't love Marvel?

We completed these dreams just in the nick of time as we all know, towards the end of March 2020 things really started to change. The Sheffield Half Marathon was postponed which was such a shame as we had 20 people running in it fundraising and raising awareness for us, but we know that this was absolutely the right decision by the organisers.

The stay at home order then came down from the government and we all did what we could to help the NHS, staying home to help save lives. It was a time when many of us were forced to be apart from our loved ones but was also, throughout the summer, a time when we reconnected with different past times, baked banana bread, had many video call chats with family and found innovative ways to get some exercise without leaving our homes or gardens (I did a 5k running in circles in my small little garden)!

Thursday nights at 8pm saw our nation clapping for carers, which was then extended to all keyworkers, to show our appreciation for all those that were going above and beyond under exceptionally tough circumstances to keep our country going. Social media had been heralded as technology causing less interaction and keeping us apart, when in reality it actually meant that even those living and working on their own were no longer isolated, they could log on and reach out for a connection with loved ones, family and friends.

We were brought news of Captain Tom Moore, who was 99 years old and wanted to do 100 laps of his garden by his 100th birthday to raise money for NHS charities. The support for him was nothing short of astounding. He raised over £42 million and was knighted for his efforts. He was a true legend in his lifetime.

During the first lockdown fundraising was very difficult and arranging dreams was impossible. All the children we had in our dream pipeline were shielding and all our activities were basically paused.

We diverted our attention to other awareness initiatives such as the 2.6 Challenge and the 25 press ups for 25 days challenge which many of our trustees participated in to raise awareness for PTSD.

Luckily we had a glorious summer. When we all saw our back gardens more often than we ever had before. We managed to squeeze in another dream for Tim, who has Mitochondrial Disease. Tim used to be able to use the hydrotherapy pool at Bluebell Wood however with restrictions in place this was no longer possible so unfortunately he'd spent the majority of the summer either in bed or in a wheelchair. We arranged the installation of a hot tub for Tim to replace the hydrotherapy sessions he was previously having.

In October our trustees took part in a 26.2 mile walk (which actually ended up being over 27 miles) to support those doing the Virtual London Marathon, we did this walk on the same morning. It was tough but enjoyable!

In October Molly's Dream to visit Warner Bros Studios was postponed due to COVID-19, however as we didn't want to disappoint, we arranged for a picture signed by Daniel Ratcliffe to be delivered to Molly which she loved!

In November we helped Bluebell Wood with their Festival of Light which was a virtual event brought to the children via their TV screens so that that they wouldn't miss out on fireworks displays due to shielding restrictions.

We finished off the year with Yasmin's dream which was another bedroom makeover. This was then followed by many of our generous supporters giving us donations from various fundraising events which included virtual quizzes, text to donate donations and one group of friends giving the money that they would have spent out and about on beer and the like at Christmas to us instead.

2020 has been a rollercoaster of a year (a Coronacoaster we've heard it called!). It’s been challenging and many have suffered immeasurable loss. It has however also brought people together and made many of us realise how much we took for granted and to be more present and aware of how lucky we are in so many ways.