As an avid runner and involved in many charity fundraisers over the years, a friend of mine based in Texas got hold of me to join her in a November Orphan Month awareness initiative. This required us to exercise daily for an orphan on a database in Zimbabwe. I loved the idea of the initiative but as a Board member of Guardians of Hope place of safety, I decided to use the concept for my hometown East London.

The economic impact of COVID-19 and lock down sadly saw the consequence of Guardians of Hope losing two ‘cot sponsors’ – a business who contributes monthly to cover the cost of a baby – so I decided it was a good time to not only raise awareness for the plight of orphans in our city but to also raise funds for their well-being. Running 10 km every day with no rest would be tough but as part of the initiative I wanted to make it even more personally challenging and decided to sacrifice something- the treat I love most- jelly sweets!

I have always been addicted to jelly sweets and eat them daily. I like to think of them as my go to solution for my low blood pressure (at least that’s what I tell myself). I start with a few at mid-morning after a run when I feel a bit weak; then munch on a few after a long day of work and after supper jelly sweets are my quick dessert pleasure! When I told my family that I was giving up jelly’s for the month, my daughter told me I wouldn’t make it and I thanked her for the extra motivation.

I’ll be honest, it has been tough, I think about my jelly’s often and I can’t wait for my jelly binge on the 1st December! But this sacrifice has also given me plenty of opportunity to think about the reason why I gave them up. Every time I crave jelly sweets I am reminded of what the sacrifice represents and the importance of the plight of our orphans! I also realise just how fortunate and privileged my family and I are for what we have and that I am in this position to be able to run and use my passion for a good cause.

It’s easy for our minds and hearts to become clouded with negativity, feeling sorry for ourselves, thinking we have it tough. I used the month to put every drama that creeped into my life into perspective.

Every now and again it’s good to be reminded how fortunate we are and recognise moments of personal growth …the jelly sacrifice has done that for me.

What are you willing to give up to allow yourself to grow?