I am not someone that is naturally fit, or that has been able to prioritise exercise in their regular routine. In school I regularly got Cs and Ds for PE, but no one really cared because I was doing well academically. My dad, having grown up in Pakistan, used to tell me how proud he was of his belly: he said that it was a sign that he had made it, that he could feed himself, that he was a success.
Now I have an opportunity to change. Change is about challenge and I am setting myself the biggest challenge possible. I have the wonderful privilege of being part of team NSPCC that are boldly aiming to raise £1 million for charity as a result of running the London Marathon this year.
I work as a paediatrician, and I regularly see children that
are victims of abuse, mental health problems and of lack of social support. It’s heartbreaking that after over a decade of training I still see children suffer in ways that I am not able to fix or find a support service to help them. Before doing paediatrics it hadn't hit me that children as young as 8 could not only have thoughts of depression, but could actually hang themselves because they felt like there was no hope and no purpose in life. These problems we associate in adults are all too common and all too ignored in children, which is why organisations like the NSPCC are so vital.
All too often I see a child having faced unimaginably horror
turning up violent, depressed, even having worrying thoughts about harming themselves, yet mental health services have to say ‘We are sorry, they do not meet the threshold for intervention” or “we don’t have the staff to maintain this service”.
I have campaigned through parliament and the media to reverse the underfunding, understaffing, and under resourcing of the NHS. But there are also wonderful organisations like the NSPCC that are doing things that I wish we could, and I now have the opportunity to support their fantastic work.
For example, the NSPCC run Childline, a service where by children can get help when they have nowhere else to turn to. 295,000 calls were taken just last year, almost treble the number of patients any doctor sees in their lifetime. The NSPCC plan to make 5 million children safer over the next five years: anything we can raise together will help them on that journey.
Put simply a child contacts childline every 24 seconds. It costs £2 to fund each of these volunteer calls which is probably the best £2 you can spend.
Thank you for taking the time to read this. For more information about the NSPCC and their amazing work, visit https://www.nspcc.org.uk