Horsham family makes marathon effort to thank charity for support

Manda and Richard Grover from Horsham with their two-year-old twins Jessica and Jack SUS-180904-135710001
Manda and Richard Grover from Horsham with their two-year-old twins Jessica and Jack SUS-180904-135710001

A Horsham family is going the extra mile to raise funds for a charity supporting children with Down syndrome in return for all he help they have received.

Richard and Manda Grover have been getting support and advice from parent-led charity PSDS since contacting them a few months after their now two-year-old twins Jessica and Jack, who has Down syndrome, were born.

To help the charity continue its self-funded services, the Grover family have set themselves various challenges with friends and family now getting onboard.

Manda said: “We just can’t thank PSDS enough for all they do to help Jack.

“But hopefully we can do our bit to make sure PSDS has the funds it needs to keep growing and supporting not just the families who are currently part of the charity, but new families who might need help in the future too.”

PSDS, which stands for Providing Support for children with Down Syndrome and their families, was started by three families who themselves all had a young baby born with Down syndrome within a few months of each other.

Now, 12 years on, more than 80 families living in West Sussex and Surrey are regularly accessing services provided by PSDS, including the Grover family.

Richard said: “The support we receive from PSDS is incredibly important - not just to Jack who benefits enormously, but also to Jessica and ourselves.

“Jack receives access to specialist therapies as part of a PSDS pre-school early development programme, which is all about helping Jack reach his potential when he goes to school.

“But the charity offers so much more than that - including family coffee mornings, social get-togethers, practical advice and support and the kind of invaluable information that only families going through a similar experience can provide to each other.”

To provide its current levels of support, PSDS has to raise over £80,000 each year. A big task for a small charity.

Last September, Manda (who also writes a blog – Twins - My Life Upside Downs) took part in Run Reigate completing a 10k course and raising funds for PSDS.

She was joined by her some of her very good friends, two of whom managed to run the half-marathon - and their children who wanted to help too. With their efforts, ‘Joggers For Jack’ was formed!

Together, they raised over £2,200 for PSDS in 2017 and have now set their sights even higher, with an expanded ‘Joggers For Jack’ team signing up for Run Reigate 2018 and Manda herself committing to run her first ever half-marathon at the event.

Inspired by Manda’s fundraising efforts, Richard decided to take up a challenge of his own.

This coming weekend he will run the Brighton Marathon, the first time he has taken on a run of this distance having only ever previously completed 5k courses.

Richard is taking his training seriously and working hard to raise funds too. Donations via his JustGiving page currently stand at just over £1,500, but Richard is determined to increase this. He is being supported by close family friend, Dan, who is going to run with him and is also raising funds for PSDS.

Manda said: “We just want to raise as much as we can for PSDS. We’re very lucky to have amazing friends and family who want to help raise awareness about Down syndrome, because they’ve been so inspired by having Jack in their lives, and they’re jumping in to help us fundraise too. We’re also really grateful to everyone who supports us by donating.”

One of the Grover’s friends raised over £1,000 towards the end of 2017 selling a calendar featuring his photography.

Other friends and family members are signing up for Run Reigate, whilst Manda’s good friend Chloe is taking on the Edinburgh Marathon in May.

Chloe has raised just under £1,500 for PSDS so far and donations are still coming in.

The youngest Grover family members, Jack and Jessica, have got involved in raising funds and awareness too.

The twins attend a pre-school in Horsham, where they and their friends recently took part in the PSDS ‘Rock Your Socks’ campaign by wearing colourful mismatched socks on World Down Syndrome Day (March 21), an initiative also supported by Manda’s work colleagues at the Cisswood House Hotel and her yoga group too.

Richard said: “Jack’s development to-date has been simply amazing and I know that with the continued support of PSDS his development will continue to blossom and grow so that he can realise his full potential.”

To support Richard’s visithttps://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/richard-grover78