Wiltshire Publications

Issue 493 – Charity’s work inspires hairdresser to raise £1,500 with half marathon

A WESTBURY hairdresser has pledged to raise £1,500 for a charity that supports the parents of critically ill children.

Suzann Large, who co-runs The Hair Company on Maristow Street with Karen Wilkin, found out about Ronald McDonald House when Karen’s daughter Grace had to stay at Bristol Children’s Hospital for an operation.
She was so inspired by the service they provide she has pledged to run the Bath Half Marathon on Sunday 7th March to raise sponsorship.
The Ronald McDonald House provides free accommodation for families whose children have to stay in the hospital, saving them from either commuting from home or staying in a hotel.
Suzann said, “I’ve known Karen for 15 years. When Grace was in the hospital they stayed at the Ronald McDonald House, where families can stay for free. It relies on charitable donations and money from McDonalds.
“We went down to visit Karen and you don’t really appreciate what it’s like until you see it. Lots of families were staying there. It was inspiring and I thought ‘Right, I’m going to raise some money’. That’s why I’m doing it, it touched me to see it.”
The house is located near the hospital and has 16 bedrooms, three fully equipped kitchens and laundry facilities. There are also phones in each bedroom that can be connected to the children’s bedside phones, allowing parents to regularly check up on the condition of their offspring.
Suzann has thrown herself into training and is looking forward to the 13 mile challenge, her first half-marathon.
She said, “I’ve done the race for life, which is five kilometres, but I’ve never done anything this far before. I’ve got a month left, and it’s going well so far. I have set myself a fundraising target of £1,500 and it’s doing well. Lots of clients, friends and family have donated.
“I’ve got up to the distance on my training, and now I’m working on my speed. I’m quite determined and if I’m going to do something then I want to do it well.
“I’ve been dragging my husband along with me, on his bike. He’s not so keen when it’s raining, but he’s been really good and helpful. My son Sam has also come along with me a few times.”
When Karen’s daughter Grace was just a day old she underwent an operation on her heart to correct a valve that hadn’t developed properly.
Karen said, “Grace spent two weeks in intensive care, and the Ronald McDonald House was just a God-send. It was only a 10 minute walk up the road from the hospital, and it was a lot more convenient than having to commute. We’re only an hour away, but the hospital covers the area all the way to Cornwall, so it’s even more important for families from there to have somewhere to stay.
“Because everyone was in the same boat, they understood what you were going through.
“I’m really chuffed that Suzann is running for the house. We all believe in the hospital and what the house provides.
“It’s sponsored by McDonalds, and that’s what the collection tins in McDonalds are there for, I don’t think a lot of people realise that when they’re stuffing straws in there.”
If you would like to sponsor Suzann then pop into The Hair Company, located at 11 Maristow Street.