As the part of our series of Pride of Bracknell Forest Awards interviews, we caught up with Lindsay Balaam, Winner of the John Nike Pride of Bracknell Forest – Adult Award in 2018. Lindsay talks about her family and wide range of fundraising activities, as well as why everyone should get involved with volunteering.
So Lindsay, tell us a little bit about your family and your volunteering work?
I’m married to my husband Simon, and have 3 children, Megan who’s 9, Harry, 7 and Charlie, 2. Harry was diagnosed with cancer in 2016, so since then I’ve done a lot of fundraising for the John Radcliffe Hospital in Oxford. We’ve raised over £40,000 in total, including a car wash with the firefighters at the fire station, a football fundraiser, and my daughter Megan cut her hair for the Little Princess Trust and made just under £1,000! We started fundraising within a month of Harry’s diagnosis whilst we were in hospital and raised £4,087 in the first 3 days. We only expected to raise £500 in total so to have raised so much is absolutely amazing. I am truly grateful to those who got involved and helped us as a family.
Who inspires you in your fundraising work?
Without a doubt the children on the Oncology ward at the hospital where my son was treated in Oxford, as well as the parents and the nurses. Our aim as a family was to kit the Oncology ward out with special monitors enabling all the children to have one at each bedside. One element of this equipment is to monitor pain relief. My son wasn’t able to have pain relief overnight for the first few nights as they had no mobile monitors available, as they are shared across the children’s wards throughout the hospital. To see him in such pain was heart-breaking. We didn’t want to see any other child suffering and not be able to get morphine which they so desperately need to make them comfortable.
How is Harry getting on now?
He’s in remission and doing well. He’s now back at school after a year off and doing really well catching up.
How did your family react to the award?
My family were incredibly proud of me for winning the award. They were waiting by the phone for news. I didn’t for a single second think I would win but I was over the moon when I did.
What did you think of the 2018 ceremony?
I was absolutely delighted to be invited and very proud to be part of such an amazing event full of very inspiring people. It was a lovely event in a lovely place.
What advice would you give to someone who wants to give back to the community?
Do it. As I always say it’s nice to be nice. Even if you give up an hour a day that can mean so much to someone or can help a charity lots.
Are you nominating anyone for the Pride of Bracknell Forest Awards 2019?
Yes I am. To be perfectly honest I’d never heard of the Pride of Bracknell Forest Awards until I was nominated. I am definitely nominating a couple of people who do amazing things!