I’ll admit it straight up: I’m a lucky guy. Every morning, I get into my car full of energy (well, usually). Out and about, whether I’m going to the office or seeing customers, working together to always make things better. That’s where I get my energy from. I used to take this for granted. But then I met some people and all that changed.
When life comes to a standstill
A few years ago, when Light4U was coming up to its 10-year anniversary, Wim and I asked ourselves: what shall we do? Shall we throw a fantastic 10-year anniversary party perhaps? But something else was going on as well. Shortly before that, we had come into contact with people suffering from muscle ALS (also known as motor neuron disease, or Lou Gehrig’s disease) during a Lucky Ajax match. And I can tell you, meeting people like that makes an impression. Riding your bike to take your children to school, taking the dog for a walk around the block or simply getting into your car to drive to work – suddenly, these activities are no longer possible for someone suffering from ALS. Their lives come to a standstill. It’s a huge blow, for themselves, and of course for the people around them.
The fight against ALS
When we heard all these stories during the match, we decided to join forces as a company in the fight against ALS every year. So, we didn’t throw a party, but we did have a lot of fun! Since then, we have crossed eight thousand kilometres in an old Volvo through Europe, during an ice-cold winter. We have conquered Mont Ventoux as a team. We have supported swimmers in the Amsterdam canals. And every time, we have felt more and more connected with the goal. Once again, we’ll be doing something this year as well.
Challenge for your team?
Together with HZ & PC, a swimming club in Heerenveen, we are organising the Estafette KerstSwim (Relay Christmas Swim) on 22 December. This is a major swimming tournament with one component that stands out: the Estafette500, when 25 teams will be doing a crazy relay swim, raising money for the fight against ALS. That 500 is not a meaningless number: every year 500 patients die and 500 new patients are diagnosed. You can -just like us – join as a team (tip 1). But what if you’re not a champion swimmer? Don’t worry, neither are we. Fortunately, it’s not about being fast, it’s about having fun! Or perhaps you hate jumping into cold water? Then you can sponsor a team (tip 2).
Give ALS patients freedom
The goal of the relay race is very specific. When you have a muscle disease, it’s wonderful to be in the water. As you can imagine, none of this is easy. Fortunately, there are special floating suits. They are very expensive, but worth every penny because they give people who love swimming the feeling of freedom. It’s our aim to raise enough money for two of these suits. And any additional donations we receive will go directly to the ALS Foundation to finance research (which has been successful –read here for the recent breakthrough!).
A sparkle is there to share
We are delighted to be working on this. Of course, earning money and developing yourself is all well and good. But I also think it’s important to think about people who are less fortunate. Giving attention and sharing your ‘sparkle’, that’s what it’s all about. As a person, but also as a company. That is precisely why I – together with my colleagues – will be plunging into the water on 22 December. It gives us energy to achieve something outside the routine of our daily work.
Boost for everyone
The beauty of the KerstSwim is that it serves multiple social goals. We raise money swimming, bring ALS to the attention of young people who are swimmers, we promote exercising and boost the local swimming club. You can probably guess by now where I’m heading: I would love it if you – just like us – could jump into the water, sponsor the swimmers or make a direct donation (tip3).
Whatever you do, I promise that it will boost your energy. Thank you for your support!