I find it upsetting that I can’t do things with Ben anymore and share experiences with him, so the challenge felt like something we were doing together – he would be walking with me every step of the way.

Hannah shares how turning 30 and the memory of her brother Ben inspired her to walk lengths of her garden a few steps at a time to raise funds for Child Bereavement UK.

 In February 2021 I turned 30; it felt like a milestone birthday. I am disabled and a powerchair user, following an injury when I was 14. I’ve progressed a lot over the last 16 years from being bedbound to managing to take my first step in 13 and a half years, and I wanted to mark this in a positive way.

April 2021 marked 10 years since my dear brother, Ben, died suddenly, aged 24. I also wanted to do something to remember Ben and keep his memory alive. So, with my parents, we decided it would be nicer to complete the challenge to celebrate both my birthday and Ben’s as a way to remember him, hence #BenHannah3530 was launched.

I find it upsetting that I can’t do things with Ben anymore and share experiences with him, so the challenge felt like something we were doing together – he would be walking with me every step of the way.

My challenge was to walk 30 lengths of our garden in very small stages with my four-wheeled walker, splints, and the support of my parents, before my thirtieth birthday. Then I would walk 35 lengths of the garden in the three months approaching what would have been Ben's 35th Birthday at the end of November 2021. I walked the final length of my challenge on Ben’s birthday up to Ben’s tree, which was planted in his memory. 

I decided to raise money for several charities, I know have suffered so much in the pandemic, but make such a big difference - Child Bereavement UK, White Lodge and Starlight Children's Foundation. I have personally benefited from White Lodge and Starlight.  I also wanted to support a charity that had helped Ben but, as he died so suddenly, there wasn’t really a charity that supported him or us at the time of his death. As a family we didn't have bereavement counselling, but I feel we should have and that Ben would have wanted us and others to be supported, so I decided Child Bereavement UK felt particularly appropriate.

To prepare for my challenge I practiced walking on my garden path, increasing the frequency. Child Bereavement UK’s fundraising team provided me with a T-shirt, banner and balloons and checked in regularly to see if they could help in any way.

The challenge has given me a sense of achievement and also of keeping Ben’s memory alive. I feel I have achieved it with Ben, and we have made a difference by raising a lot of money for charities.

 I’d say to anyone else thinking of doing a challenge to just go for it! You gain a great sense of achievement completing something that is both a challenge for you and raises money for a worthwhile cause.

 To support Hannah’s fundraising, visit: https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/BenHannah3530-ChildBereavementUK