A Family Fundraiser: Giving Back to the Charity that Supported Us

What made you decide to fundraise for First Steps ED?

We accessed First Steps’ services during lockdown when our eldest daughter was affected by an eating disorder. Being a charity, we were very conscious that we had been signposted to them by NHS services, but that as they were not themselves funded, they relied up on donations. Following an 18 month-long road to recovery, we are now in the position to be able to give back to First Steps, and in some small way pay back the fantastic support that they gave us, so that they can continue to help other people with eating disorders.

What impact has First Steps ED had on your recovery / your family?

The support and advice we had was invaluable. We cannot underestimate the impact that both their befriending service provided for our daughter nor the Skills for Carers group that we accessed as parents. We can honestly say that our daughter’s recovery would have taken much longer and been far harder without the first-hand experience and knowledge that First Steps was able to provide. The befriending service is an incredible tool that enabled our daughter to offload to someone who truly understood, whilst also providing her with personalised support. The Skills for Carers was tough at times as a parent discussing our situation, but hearing others’ experiences and learning the psychology behind eating disorders and recovery certainly enabled us to negotiate the difficult situations at the time.

What’s the plan for your fundraiser, and who’s joining you?

At the start of August, myself and Em are planning to complete a sponsored trek of the Yorkshire Three Peaks Challenge. This is a 39.2km route, incorporating the peaks of Pen-y-ghent, Whernside and Ingleborough, with an ascent of 1381. The challenge is to complete it in under 12 hours. Our two border collies will be joining us, although sharing the route between them, with my husband and other daughter providing our support team for pit-stops between peaks.

What are you most excited about?

We are hoping to time the walk with good weather, but avoid some of the heat we have recently had! We are excited to explore new places as we normally walk in the Lake District. I am most excited to be walking past the amazing Ribblehead viaduct which is along part of the route.

What would you say to someone who is thinking of fundraising for First Steps ED, or donating?

Just go for it! It has been a great experience so far just planning and starting our adventure. The sharing of our sponsor page has definitely raised awareness of both eating disorders and First Steps’ work amongst our family, friends and colleagues. It is important to make sure that you are ready to share your story if you are going to, but First Steps will help you with that too. Be creative – it does not need to be an active challenge. Play to your strengths and have fun whilst raising money.

What would you like to say to everyone who is supporting you, and donating towards your fundraising goals?

Thank you! Unfortunately, First Steps’ services are in great demand following the impact of the last few years on people’s mental health, which has increased on top of their normal caseloads. Therefore, every amount raised enables them to help more people and their families.

Contributed by Lesley & Em,

Walking the Yorkshire Three Peaks for First Steps ED because of the fantastic support they gave our family.