In business it is very easy to throw money at well-known worthy causes and then make a fuss about doing it!
Choosing the right charity for you and having it mean something is what I think is most important.
Godfathers Rugby? Why does this charity that means something to me?
A week before Christmas in 1997 my eldest son complained of feeling achy and tired. My wife and I were about to go shopping so left him at home with a babysitter. He had a small thumb sized bruise on his back that hadn’t eased for a few weeks but we thought nothing of it.
We returned from shopping to a concerned babysitter telling us that our son could hardly move! So we immediately made a doctor’s appointment.
An hour later we were in the surgery, again I had to carry him in, and he couldn’t move or bend at all. The doctor clearly had an idea of what might be wrong but didn’t want to say anything and referred us to hospital. We arrived at the hospital and had the usual tests, Christmas Eve 1997 saw us thundering down the M3 in an ambulance to Southampton General Hospital for what would be that start of a long and lengthy treatment for Acute Myeloid Leukaemia.
Now before I go too much further let me tell you that he is now 24 years of age (he was 8 in 1997) he has just won player of the year for his Hockey club in a major town. He is a high achiever, has a great job and life is good. We are even fortunate enough to know and have regular contact with the bone marrow donor who saved his life eventually.
But illness aside, one of the few things people give little or no thought to is the effect that a serious illness can have on a family. We were split in two, 30 miles apart, my wife and son in hospital and me at home with our other son. We were initially lucky; our employers were flexible for the first six months of his illness but then both let us go! So now we had no income, a family split by distance and we were facing the move to Bristol for a transplant.
We were approached by Sargent cancer care (back then CLIC and Sargent were two charities) we were simply asked what do you need? We were told to get the bills that needed sorting out; they were taken away and were sorted, we never heard another thing about them. I can’t tell you the pressure this takes from you. All we wanted to do at this time was care for our boys and all get home, I didn’t want to worry about bills but I had to. Sargent let me concentrate on what was Really Important.
The CLIC side of things was more immediate, when we arrived at Southampton General we were allowed to use CLIC house. A large detached property at the back of the hospital with large spacious family rooms and large bedrooms. It meant that we could stay together for a couple of nights a week. It meant that we could, for just a few hours, be a normal family, sit and eat together, cook together and socialise out of the hospital environment.
We were never asked for money for this accommodation. It was provided at the time we needed it and I can’t begin to explain how much easier it made our family life.
I can only ask that like me you support this worthwhile charity, directly or indirectly, CLIC Sargent were there for me and I intend to be there for them. I will most likely never know the families that my support will help and neither will you.
But let me reassure you that every penny Godfathers Rugby makes supports families across the UK in ways that I hope you never need, but it’s great to know they are there when you need them.
Matt Goodall is Service Director at Office Evolution, Wiltshire’s Small Business of the Year 2012.
Office Evolution are based in the heart of Wiltshire and provide office machines, support and consumables throughout the UK.
Established in 2005 and Seven time finalists in the Wiltshire Business of the Year awards Office Evolution have a skilled team of engineers supporting products under contract and on a call out basis.
They are the current Develop Dealer of the Year, a title we have held since 2008.
Their product team specialise in supplying equipment that perfectly matches their customers requirements.
Their use of the available technology removes the need for their customers to call us to order toner or report meter readings as all of this is carried automatically via e-mail, leaving their customers to concentrate on running their business.
They provide references from existing customers for all products and services and would welcome your enquiry.
For more information visit their website officeevolution.co.uk