That's it Summer is done, the nights are darker, the days cooler and the kids are back at school.
I know it's a while since I've visited the blog but this month see's a few big changes for us and it's easier for me to get them down 'on paper' than it is to say them out loud and risk the waterworks !!!
Our first change is that Harrison has moved up to 'Big' school and with that comes the ghost of the boy who will never walk at his side. I read a piece in the Huffington Post this week (written this time last year) that summed up how I felt perfectly. This last decade has gone so quickly and we've seen so much change but it is these milestones that seem to hit the hardest, that the boys are growing up and changing so much and leaving our little star so very far behind. In a couple of weeks Harrison will turn 12 and I'm finding the hardest part of this is letting him have the independence he craves and deserves as a 12 year old.
As a general rule I don't suffer with anxiety but I try to control what I can to prevent this feeling of being out of control. A recent example is our annual trip to a theme park with my fabulous friends which is always a brilliant day out. I've always loved theme parks and rides but have noticed as the kids have got older and more adventurous the more it leaves me feeling panicked about what I know can go wrong. I try not to let the kids see how it makes me feel and the rational pat of me knows it's unlikely to happen, but there is that part of me that knows bad stuff can and does happen and we've been one of those statistics before.
We are due to become a house of 4 this month after being a 6 then a 5 for so long. Jack is busy prepping and planning his trip to Uni meaning that both my big boys will be out there in the big world (fully ready I may add) without me. The dynamics of who we are as a family is changing so much quicker than I think I'm ready for. I'm immensely proud of Tom and Jack and the work they've done to get to where they are now and I know good things are waiting for them but knowing they need me less and less is very hard to get used too.
So here I am battling through but if you think I appear quieter than normal it's because I'm processing my feelings and holding back a massive lump in my throat
February...the delight after a dreary January!
Not for me, not for us. It's the month I dread, the month that comes all too quickly as a reminder that we are another year in, another year without him.
We are decade without Alexander on the 9th of February, it sounds such a long time, 10 years!
February is the month I live with a knot in my stomach, a kind of nervousness as I relive those days over in my mind. It's not a conscious thing, my mind does it unwillingly, like I'm susceptible and it takes advantage.
I can see those days so clearly at times it feels like it was only a couple of years ago, but then I look at what we've done in that time, I've blinked and they've gone. The boys are all growing up and moving onto new things, that's a challenge in itself, seeing those changes and how amazing they are doing, needing me less and less.
Someone asked me recently how I feel now compared to then and it's hard question to answer. I don't feel quite so raw and the grief isn't all consuming. It's a different kind of pain, a different kind of grief. I suppose I've lived with it so long it's become a part of who I am and I've learned to live with it, learned to laugh with it. I can still be caught unawares though, not because I forget but because I've learned to function with it.
I've become a master at hiding my feelings and creating projects to take my mind off it, hence The Ball. It's a way to channel all that heartache into something so incredible and to step into that space on the night and see it fill up with hundreds of people is overwhelming. They are there for us, they are there to help us remember and keep Alexander alive in our hearts and minds. I'm incredibly sad that this is the last one for a while and I'm already a little scared for February 2018 but Alexander's legacy will live on and who knows what we might get up to next year!
Thank You to every single person who has helped us over the last 10 years, everything you have done has helped shape us as a family, you may think it's a small effort but to us it's the world.
I'd like to ask a favour ...
On the 9th February this year, if you are able, please light a candle for him.
Alexander Robert Richardson 24/09/05 - 09/02/07
...for a while anyway.
This has been a terribly hard decision for us to come too but we feel it's the right time to go out with a bang. In February Alexander will have been gone for 10 years. In some ways it feels like only yesterday and in others its been so long.
When I think that February 2017 will be our last Ball I feel a bit panicked, like I'm letting him down or even worse that I'm letting him go. The reason I started the ball was to give us a focus, a way to remember him with something so very positive and I think we have achieved that.
We rely on so much goodwill and so many people have given us so much so very freely every year I really cannot Thank them enough.
Glamourpuss Weddings who have been with us since the start and who have provided our venues with the wow factor, Giant Events who joined us in 2013 and shared a wealth of knowledge and experience giving Alexander's Charity Ball a sparkle and shine that I just couldn't have done alone.
Our Sponsors Crowther Group and Coda Studios who have both been with us since the start and who have given us the money to achieve our dreams.
These are just a few of the people who have helped us out over the last 6 years.
It gets harder and harder to ask each year and the donations are getting fewer and fewer so I want to have time to recharge and I'm thinking that a big one every 5 years is the way to go.
I'm not scared of a little hard work but it does get a little soul destroying the more no's and sorry's we get.
So, if you have thought about attending after seeing all our pictures and posts now is the time to do it. If you have thought about donating or sponsoring us please please get in touch.
Lets make Alexander's 10th Anniversary Charity Ball our biggest and best yet I cannot do this without you.
Sorry for the delay folks !
Giant Event Management and Alexander's Charity Ball are pleased to announce our 10th Anniversary Charity Ball Theme
Tickets are still available by getting in touch via firstname.lastname@example.org or
contacting Nicola on 07958 159442
Apologies for neglecting the blog but here we are and making an announcement for our biggest Alexander's Charity Ball yet!!!
February 2017 will be Alexander's 10th Anniversary.
A whole decade without him just seems too terrible to think about but in true Richardson style we will celebrate his life in the way we've become accustomed to doing with friends and family.
All tickets are secured with a non-refundable deposit of £30 payable before 30 September 2017
Final balance payment due by 11 January 2017
Discounts are available at £5 per head for complete tables of 10 booking and paying full deposit before 1st September 2016 Please enquire to email@example.com or call Nicola on 07958 159442
Here goes ...
I can't quite believe it so a huge huge Thank You to everyone even if you think your contribution was a small one, it most definitely wasn't and it means the world that you helped us get to this incredible total.
Once I have my head around it I will blog more about the research and our plans going forward.
The total includes pledged donations that are still due to be paid and it could potentially be higher as people are still completing events under our fundraising banner.
Sorry for the delay everyone, back to it this week so not much time for anything else.
Friday was a spectacular night and I'd like to Thank everyone again for coming, I was so very impressed with Magna and their staff and it certainly had an impact walking into our bond themed room.
So we've had a count ...
Including all donations and pledges on the night, money made through your donations to the raffle and casino our total is ...
A phenomenal amount and yes whilst it's £2000 shy of our total I know we can make that up very soon. I'm so very pleased and grateful.
So we are currently sitting at £98,000 it's just mind blowing that we managed to achieve this in 17 months and when I say we, I include you in that. Thank You everyone for thinking of us this year and making it your mission to help us get there.
The money we are raising is so important to help families in our position losing a child over 1. I can tell you more about what we have planned in March and more about the research project as that gets under way.
Our Thanks to
Giant Event Management
Steel City Events
For Funks Sake Band
The Vegas Show Girls
The Lullaby Trust
Proffoto Event Photography
Daniel Craig aka Max Ryder
Please keep sharing your pictures over on our Facebook Page and if you didn't see them here is a link to the official pictures http://proffotoeventphotography.zenfolio.com/alexandersball16
It's a break that won't heal, the one you live with on the inside that no one can see.
The tears come when you least expect it and at inappropriate times.
Jealousy and Rage and questions that cannot be answered.
We celebrate a life short lived but I wish with all my broken heart it was different.
Creating a legacy when I want you to create your own but I know you can't.
Flowers and Candles when it should be Football and Computer Games
I wish today was a non day, a day to forget, instead it's a day we will never forget.
The love is still a strong as ever and the sadness ever present.
We all miss you little man forever a cheeky wobbly toddler
Alexander Robert Richardson
24/09/05 - 09/02/07
by Elizabeth Dent
Go ahead and mention my child.
The one that died, you know.
Don't worry about hurting me further.
The depth of my pain doesn't show.
Don't worry about making me cry.
I'm already crying inside.
Help me to heal by releasing
The tears that I try to hide.
I'm hurt when you just keep silent,
Pretending he didn't exist.
I'd rather you mention my child,
Knowing that he has been missed.
You asked me how I was doing.
I say "pretty good" or "fine".
But healing is something ongoing.
I feel it will take a lifetime.
Well what year 2015 turned out to be! There were ups and downs like there are in most years but fundraising wise I think 2015 was most definitely a year to be proud of.
We we're already well into our £100k Challenge by the time Alexander's Charity Ball came around in February but Oh My Gosh I could never have predicted the amount we could raise at one event. Thanks to everyone who came and everyone who contributed to the mind blowing £40,000 total.
March saw us receive some unexpected news regarding Alexander's death. We were told that he had the rare Long QT Gene. The Long QT study is ongoing and is funded through donations to The Lullaby Trust, without this research we would probably never have known about it. As it is we are well on our way to discovering how this now affects us as a family.
The London Marathon in April had us cheering Rob Preston and Giuseppe Brullo along for the 26 miles and seeing if we could spot those trademark Yellow and Blue vests. Thank You for choosing us as your charity gentlemen.
Our first Charity Golf Day was held in May at Silkstone Golf Club organised spectacularly by Ian. His first foray into heading up the organising and it felt strange to be taking a back seat but he did a fabulous job and it was a great success. It is something we would consider doing again. We also joined forces again with The Barretts for the annual Mile in Memory across The Humber Bridge.
June! June was a big month. The Tower to Tower Cycle ride in the planning for 6 months and duly headed up by the wonderful Lisa Preston and Stephen Crowther, a formidable pair there was nothing and nobody safe when these two are on the hunt for favours! 6 Riders (Including Ian) Rode over 300 miles from London Tower to Blackpool Tower with a small support crew in just over 24 hours. They are now looking at their next riding challenge!
There was a also a wonderful surprise for me in June as I was included in The Independent 100 Happy List. Thank You to The Lullaby Trust for putting me forward I was very humbled to be included amongst some great people doing fabulous things for charities all over the UK.
September was the month I was dreading as my own physical challenge loomed! I had said for a long time I would step out of my comfort zone and run the Great North Run for Alexander. The day before I had cried watching Harrison run the Junior race for Alexander, he was fantastic as running is most definitely not his thing!
It's a fitting event as it falls near the boys birthday and so in 2.29.40 I crossed the finish line with one of my closest friends. It was a spectacular event, the support all the way round is tremendous and the sun shone all day. It didn't put me off running completely, so much so I'm thinking of running it again!
In between all this fundraising we have family life carrying on as normal and 2015 saw us have another school leaver going onto A-Levels and a University Starter. The boys (and friends) are always a massive support with the work we do and are quite often organising their own events or seizing opportunities to get others involved if they can.
Finally in November I was able to let out a secret I had been keeping from everyone since September. Ian had been nominated at work for an Extraordinary People Award and unbeknown to him he had won the award in his category. I had been let in on the secret as the organisers (whom we both know quite well and who knew us at the time Alexander died) wanted to include the whole family on the night.
So having recorded clips for a video presentation and sent various photo's of him over the years, the kids and myself got ourselves to Manchester in secret and surprised the hell out of Ian.
It was so worth it, his face was an absolute picture and finally someone recognises that it's all of us involved in Fundraising (even if it's usually my big mouth that gets us started).
Our £100k Challenge total is currently sitting around the £80,000 mark with Thanks to everyone who has thought up a way to fundraise on our behalf this year and so we decided to extend the timescale to a fitting 17 months, which means we can included the total from Alexander's Charity Ball 2016.
We have just under 8 weeks to reach our goal and 7 weeks to The Ball. There is space available so we would love to see you at Magna on Friday 19th February 2016.
Here is a Thank You to Everyone involved in Fundraising for 2015
Lisa Preston and her many many supporters
Chris and Jilly Julian
The HoneyPot Nursery
Cafe Creme, Penistone
Penistone Ladies Circle
Penistone Round Table
The Huntsman, Thurlstone
Penistone Grammar School and Sixth Form Students
David Schofield and Staff at Morrisons, Barnsley
David and Toni Cross
Thank You everyone who has contributed in every way This is truly an epic amount I'm so amazed at what you've helped me achieve.
Finally Thank You to Ian, Thomas, Jack, Harrison, Joseph and of course Alexander
Here's to 2016 x
Friday 19th February 2016
The Big Hall
Magna Science and Adventure Centre
Tickets £60 Per Person
(Secured with a non refundable deposit of £30 per person payable by 1st November 2015)
Discounts available for complete tables booking and paying full deposit before 1st November please enquire to firstname.lastname@example.org or call 07958 159442
Welcome to our blog I will try as regularly as I can to keep you up to date with The Ball, The Charity and any other news !