The Troxy, Fundraising and a Catalyst

Wow, what a night.

Such an honour to attend the National Fundraising Awards 2016 which celebrates excellence in Fundraising.  We were there because of the efforts of Felix and all of those wonderful people who have supported him and his amazing fundraising efforts since his diagnosis in January.

Yet again, we still marvel at the fact that we can now do these things.  We kind of underplayed the whole event because we still cannot 100% be sure that our plans won’t change at the last-minute because of Felix’s risk of infection.  So, 36 hours before the event started, the plans started to take shape.  It was full steam ahead.  We would be taking the train to London with our posh frocks and suits, boiled sweets for the journey and anti-sickness just incase.

And here we are, home again.  Buzzing, so very happy and shattered!  So, what became of the whole event?  Well, as you can imagine, it was a whirlwind of emotion, pride and reflection.  Felix led us through the winding passages of the Jubilee Line, Central Line and DLR with the confidence of someone who had been living in London for years.  Rufus admiringly followed showing total faith in his brother’s new-found confidence whilst Talia keep a careful eye on me tottering around in my ridiculous high heels.  Dylan proudly walked us into the event with his head held high and spoke with love and compassion about how we came to be at The Troxy on a school night.  I relished the atmosphere of celebration, achievement and altruism within the context of our last 12 months.  We met the most wonderful, inspiring, witty and intelligent people who have all given something above and beyond the call of duty in this last year.

For everyone I spoke to, the fundraising and need to make a change was the result of a catalyst.  Quite often this catalyst was one borne from hardship, trauma or loss and in some cases it was a desire to change the world around them; for them, for society, for the future.  It was this that struck a chord with me the most.  We, as a family, have made changes recently with the aim of providing us with greater flexibility, more control and a different pace of life. We have supported Felix’s fundraising efforts and continue to make plans to raise more money in the future.  We never used to do this sort of stuff.  It is unlikely that we would’ve made these changes without our catalyst.  Yet the impact of these changes have already affected our way of life for the better, for all of us and others.

I now have more time to listen and consider the world around me.  On a daily basis I see that the world is full of talented people with huge potential who are waiting for their catalyst.  They seem to want and need change as I have done in years gone by, but have felt powerless to do so.  I suppose, I wish that we had been able to make the changes without our catalyst because we now know the enormous good that can be achieved.  Watching and listening to the stories shared last night filled me with awe and admiration.  The young lady who won Young Fundraiser of the Year raised over £110,000 for Haven House Hospice whilst the wonderful woman I met who was in the running for Best Volunteer Fundraiser, made a deal with herself to wear pre-loved clothes from Cancer Research Shops in order to raise money and awareness.

I suppose, what I am saying is that if you don’t have a catalyst then make or fake one.  There is so much to achieve in the world and so much hidden talent in us all which is just kicking and screaming to be let out.  What can be achieved is mind-blowing.  This time next year it could be you.This time last year the thought didn’t even cross our mind.

Thank you for having us last night.  It meant the absolute world to us and saw all of our stars shine with achievement, pride and love for each other.  One proud moment for Mr & Mrs Brown.

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The School Run

I cannot put into words how much I relish and enjoy the school run.  For me it symbolises how far we have all come in this last year.

I watch as Rufus and Felix scoot, laugh and make mischief on their way to school.  They find things in the world that often pass us by as adults.  The piling of autumn leaves on their scooter, the wonderment of the man fixing a roof, the joy as they master another scooter trick.  There are the bitesize conversations about what they are looking forward to that day, the enjoyment of meeting friends on the way and the enthusiastic ‘thank you’s’  to the Lollipop Man.

During intense treatment, school runs always exposed that things weren’t as they should be.  It might have been that Rufus was being taken to school by someone else or that we had to drive because of the pain Felix was in.  There were times when Felix could not bear facing people in the playground so stayed in the car; they were times I couldn’t face the playground but had to.

The school run in the afternoon feels me with equal joy.  Listening to the boys gabbling away to each other about the successes and fails of the day as we drive to collect Talia.  Talia spent months hitching lifts from a variety of people, sometimes unsure of who would be at home or how gravely ill Felix would be.  There were months when no friends or family really came to our home through fear of infection for Felix.   Rufus desperately wanted his big brother back at school because he didn’t know what to say when people asked how Felix was.  He despaired that he couldn’t say he was fine because it was obvious he wasn’t.  After school routines were subdued and often interrupted by medication, appointments or spells away from home.

Now the school run includes other children piling back to ours for tea or a sleepover.  There is football, trampolining, X-Box and sometimes even homework.  The lunch boxes, the letters, the dramas are invigorating and remind me every day how lucky we are.

At the time you don’t miss the little things as you are appreciating every moment when things are good.  In retrospect now it was the normality of the school run that I missed the most and now we have it again.  OK, so Felix is at the age where he tries to walk ahead of us and sneaks out at the end of the day to walk with his friends but its fine because it’s his choice.  He has control again, control over the things that we had taken for granted.  We all do.

So please join with me to celebrate the everyday ups and downs of what we know as The School Run! I loves it!

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Exciting times ahead!

As autumn turns to winter, change is taking place all around us.  The leaves that are changing colour and fluttering by, the warmth in the air that is giving way to the crisp and cold mornings and the imminent expectation of the festive season.  Life for us is also steadily changing towards a more recognisable sense of what it used to be.  The children are all at school again and enjoying life.  There have been breaks away, social events with friends and family and obviously plenty of football matches.  Yet there has been one thing that has not returned to normal and that is my return to work.

I am a different person to that one that frantically left her class on 28th January 2016.  I haven’t considered in any depth how I am different, I just know I’m different.  I have seen, heard and felt emotions which I didn’t even know existed.  I’ll stop there.

So, after months of discussions and deliberation, as a family we have agreed that I will take a break from teaching in the regular sense.  Instead, I am going to use my skills and expertise in a more innovative and creative way and start my own business.  It seems like a great opportunity to refocus my energy and enthusiasm.  By combining my passion for learning, growth and exploration with a more flexible work regime, I am hoping that we can continue to look to the future with excitement, positivity and strength whilst maintaining the stability we have achieved.

So, it is with great delight that I would like to introduce to you my new business, Go Fish Education, a concept developed and designed by #Teambrown.  I aim to provide parents, families and schools with a bespoke education service that promotes progress, achievement and well-being.  From grammar school tutoring to growth mindset workshops, bespoke interventions for schools to tailored training packages, educational consultancy for families to professional support for business, I intend to provide a person centred approach which seeks to realise aspirations and exceed potential.

So that’s my shameless plug!  If you would like to read more, firstly I thank you and secondly please visit http://www.gofisheducation.com.  If you would also be so kind as to like and share my philosophy and practice I would be very grateful!

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#Teambrown are by no means out of the woods yet but it definitely feels as though we can see the future with more clarity and perspective.  Mrs Brown will still be around sharing her witterings on the web but with the launch of Go Fish Education I will have something else to keep me occupied and out of trouble!

Thank you so much for your support and compassion to this point and I really hope you will continue the journey with me.  The confidence to go out on my own has been the result of all the wonderful words of encouragement that I have received through the blog over recent months.  I couldn’t have done this without you.  Thank you xxx

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