Grieving dad appeals for your charitable pledges

A grieving Sleaford dad is urging people to sign up to take part in challenge events for a charity that made his daughter’s dying wish come true.
Simon Cross (right) with family including daughter Hannah meeting stars on the set of Coronation Street. EMN-220117-144854001Simon Cross (right) with family including daughter Hannah meeting stars on the set of Coronation Street. EMN-220117-144854001
Simon Cross (right) with family including daughter Hannah meeting stars on the set of Coronation Street. EMN-220117-144854001

Paul Cross, 52, is urging the public to fill 650 event spots this year in support of Make-A-Wish UK, after the tragic death of his 13-year-old daughter Hannah.

The challenge spots must be filled by the end of January, to help grant the wishes of over 60,000 seriously ill children.

Simon’s daughter Hannah was first diagnosed with cancer in August 2012. She was granted her wish of meeting the Coronation Street cast on set before she died of the disease in September 2014.

Simon and Donnsa Cross have done fundraising events for Make a Wish UK. EMN-220117-144905001Simon and Donnsa Cross have done fundraising events for Make a Wish UK. EMN-220117-144905001
Simon and Donnsa Cross have done fundraising events for Make a Wish UK. EMN-220117-144905001

Make-A-Wish UK needs an army of volunteers to help grant the wishes of over 60,000 children living with a critical illness. The challenges that Hannah faced before she died have inspired Simon to take on numerous challenges of his own, including 13 half marathons in a year and two long-distance walks.

He said: “I set myself big challenges, but even the biggest fundraising challenge is nothing compared to the challenges that critically ill children and their families face every day. Knowing that I can help more children like Hannah by facing a challenge of my own is hugely motivating.”

Referrals to the charity have doubled in recent months, with a particular increase in urgent referrals for children who have very little time left or are due to have a major medical procedure. An estimated £180 million is urgently needed to grant wishes.

Those that sign up can use a wish code WISH22 for 22 per cent off the registration fee of selected events, including the Brighton Marathon and Cardiff Half Marathon.

“The impact of a wish, on the child and their family, is profound,” said Simon. “Before the wish, it’s something you can all look forward to. During, it’s a time where you can forget about hospitals, scans, all the things that come with a critical illness. Then, afterwards, the memories last a lifetime.

“To help create those memories for seriously ill children and their families, I’m asking anyone thinking of taking up a fundraising challenge as part of their New Year’s Resolution to please join the Make-A-Wish army today.”

Jason Suckley, CEO of Make-A-Wish UK, said wishes bring light and joy to children and their families during the darkest times, but the Covid-19 pandemic has had a catastrophic impact on their ability to grant wishes.

To find out more visit www.make-a-wish.org.uk or follow @makeawishuk .