Why a £2 donation and a 9-year-old’s bike ride matter

As coronavirus continues its destructive path, we find reasons to be optimistic in the actions of our supporters.

It’s a behaviour that almost perfectly defines what it means to be a good person: to make a personal sacrifice without expectation of getting anything in return. In other words, a selfless act. And we’ve seen many of those this last few weeks:

  • The donation of £2 which came with the message: “Sorry it’s not much, I lost my job due to COVID-19, and it’s all I have.”
  • Another one with the note: “I offer a small donation. A small drop in a large ocean I realise, but state pensions don’t stretch far these days.”

These two messages will be printed in large type and hung on the walls of our charity offices when we are allowed to return. They will be shown to both new starters and old hands as a reminder of how much this charity means to the people we serve, and why we should treat every two pounds as though it was our last.

Last week, nine-year-old Alfie Aitchison of Croglin, Cumbria, decided to ride 100 miles at home on his bike, rigged up to a cycling simulator. He set off at 7am on Sunday and after nearly 12 hours in the saddle completed his goal. That’s an entire day to a nine-year-old, taken up with a gruelling physical challenge.

Alfie did this because he wanted to help, and in doing so raised more than £2,000. The money is significant. It will make sure that someone will get the care they desperately need. But perhaps even more significant is the gesture itself and the message it sends out. Already we are seeing other children – and adults – taking on their own challenges. Goodness spreads.

The actions of the state are important, but it’s the actions of the people that will determine how the UK and the wider world can expect to emerge from this great upheaval.

Get on board: how you can support GNAAS from home

We are all witnessing the outpouring of appreciation for those working to hold our society together – the carers, the NHS workers, the postal workers, the shop staff, and everyone else playing their previously unheralded part.

We are all witnessing the absolute selflessness of those on the frontline of this healthcare crisis as they continue to confront the virus, thinking first of their patient and only then of themselves.

And what we are witnessing at the Great North Air Ambulance Service, in the silent and unprompted actions of our supporters, in the pensioners’ donations and the nine-year-olds riding 100 miles, is that there are many out there ready to make their sacrifice in an effort to improve the world for others. It might not seem it at times, amidst the death and disruption, but these are the reasons we can all be optimistic.

Get on board, online!

There are lots of ways to stay involved with the charity while staying at home and doing your bit to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

Find out more

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