A couple from Church Crookham in Fleet have given up their birthdays and instead asked friends to donate the money to a charity close to their hearts.
Together, over the last five years, JJ and Victoria Smith have raised £1,800 by taking part in Harrison’s Fund’s ‘Birthday for a Birthday’ campaign. The couple are Uncle and Auntie to Harrison Smith, who suffers from Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy, a fatal, rare disease, and who the charity is named after.
Victoria, 43, said: “We had been fundraising for the charity with various sporting events but then JJ came up with the idea of giving up his birthday one year and it seemed like such a simple way to support the charity”.
“It costs nothing and is purely about diverting money to something far more worthwhile than presents for us! It really is so easy to do and you often find that people who wouldn’t normally give you a birthday present or send you a card generously donate money instead! We will continue to take part year on year until a cure or treatment is found…these children need us.”
The money raised will go towards the charity’s work funding research into Duchenne – a rare genetic condition which affects all the muscles in the body, causing them to waste away. Harrison’s Fund’s goal is to get as much money as possible into the hands of the world’s best researchers, who are working to find a cure. The charity is currently funding 16 research projects in the US and the UK.
Luci Roberts, campaigns and fundraising executive at Harrison’s Fund said: “Most people hope to have at least 70 birthdays in their lifetime which can mean a lot of presents, some you love and some that may go quickly into the charity shop or sold on eBay. Children with Duchenne certainly don’t live anywhere near 70 and in most cases, it is often only until they are 20 years old, so do something wonderful, and give up your birthday this year and donate the cost of your celebrations or ask your friends to donate the cost of their present to us. Give children with Duchenne the gift of hope and a future.”
To take part in the ‘Birthday for a Birthday’ campaign please visit www.harrisonsfund.com