A Bradford Bulls and Leeds United fan, Philippa Barraclough, is calling on the famous ‘Rugby League family’ to help her in a fund-raising challenge to raise £3,000 by August 21 for the British Heart Foundation and The Children’s Heart Surgery Fund, based in Leeds.
She has already raised nearly half of it, but her challenge was to hit £3,000 in 12 months and time is running out — fast.
Needing surgery at one week old to repair two holes in her heart and a damaged aortic arch, she will celebrate her 30th birthday on August 13 and she knows already that her brother, who was five on the day she had her life-saving surgery, has bought her tickets for the Rugby League World Cup semi-final in November at, of all places, Elland Road in Leeds.
Said Philippa, known to her friends and family as Pips:
“For someone like me who was brought up watching the Bulls at Odsal and who now watches Leeds United at Elland Road, that’s an amazing pressie and I’m very excited about it.”
Her original challenge was to complete the 660 miles from Bradford to Land’s End by bike, but because she’s visually impaired and also suffers from a curved spine that was out of the question.
Undeterred, and determined not to be beaten, she decided to complete the equivalent of 660 miles on a stationary bike in her garage.
She breezed through that and has now done another 524 miles, using the distances between Rugby League grounds, including the 27.2 miles from Warrington Wolves to Oldham and the 42.6 from Oldham RLFC to Keighley Cougars, as marker points.
“If I can get over the try line and raise the full £3,000 in time for my 30th birthday, I will be made up. I just want to do my bit and make a difference.
“My fundraising page for Twitter is @PipsTurning30. Here is a link to my fundraising page via Virgin Money Giving.
“I also have an update page on my blog to spread the word about the amazing work these two charities do. My latest blog is around Heart Disease and Mental Health.
“There are people who are not as fortunate as me and I would love it if I could make even the smallest difference.”
Philippa said she was looking forward to the World Cup and was also pleased that the Women’s Challenge Cup Final was televised because that showed the game was growing.