It’s that time of year again where people don furry yellow ears and fancy dress – all for a good cause.
Whenever November rolls around, so does BBC Children in Need’s annual fundraising campaign raising money to help disadvantaged children and young people in the UK. Expect bake sales, fun challenges, and laughs all around.
However, some fundraisers do something a bit more challenging than sitting in a bath of baked beans. Since 2011, The One Show’s Rickshaw Challenge has raised over £16 million for the charity.
This year the team of six young riders, all of whom have been supported by BBC Children in Need funded projects, and presenter Matt Baker will pull out all of the stops as they cycle 500 miles from London to Glasgow in eight days.
This year is special, however; my own little cousin Shona one of the six riders in Team Rickshaw 2017.
Shona is 17 years old and from Inverness, and lives with Niemann-Pick Type C. This is a rare neurodegenerative condition that causes her difficulty with many aspects of her life including movement, talking and eating.
Shona and her family have received a lot of support from Niemann-Pick UK (NPUK), a project part-funded by BBC Children in Need, and so she is cycling to raise awareness of this condition.
I spoke to her before she begins the journey with her teammates on November 9.
How did you get involved in the Rickshaw Challenge?
I was nominated by Laura Bell, a Niemann Pick specialist nurse whose job is funded by BBC Children in Need. Laura and Toni Mathieson from NPUK nominated me for the Rickshaw Challenge and I said yes! I felt like I needed to have a challenge anyway.
How has training for the challenge gone so far?
Training has been hard work, but I am at the gym most days. I have two days off a week in the gym in Inverness, as well as triking every Wednesday. The triking is much easier now since I started at the gym.
What are you most looking forward to while doing the challenge?
The bonding between everyone and getting to know everyone on the challenge – as well as the food we will get!
What are you not looking forward to?
All the hills – especially the Kirkstone Pass coming out of Ambleside. It looks hard and tough to ride the rickshaw over.
What are you hoping to achieve from the challenge?
I want to raise awareness of Niemann Pick and raise money for other young people like me. I also want to have an adventure while I still can and to challenge myself while on the team this year.
The riders will travel from The One Show studio at New Broadcasting House in London up through the UK and hope to arrive in Glasgow on November 17 in time for the BBC’s Children in Need 2017 Appeal Show. I’ll be waiting and cheering!
You can donate to the Rickshaw Challenge via their webpage here. Last year the challenge raised £4,202,612 for Children in Need – here’s hoping they can beat it this year!