Avid runner and local fundraiser Andrew Crossland recently challenged himself with at least a 5km run each day for 2021, raising money for the Bassetlaw Food Bank and Shireoaks based charity the National Kidney Federation.

Explaining his reasons for the fundraising and why both of the charities are close to his heart Andrew said:

“Over the past year as a Trustee, I've seen the amazing work that Bassetlaw Food Bank do in supporting local families in crisis. We see so many people struggling for a number of reasons and we help pick them up and get their lives going again.

Over two years ago, my dad passed away at 60 from kidney cancer. It was a horrible diagnosis and it highlighted to me how hard kidney cancer is to diagnose and treat. The National Kidney Federation (NKF) are a fantastic local charity supporting kidney issues. I've really enjoyed to help support both charities amazing work.

My personal fundraising challenge began on the 1st January 2021 and finished on 31st December 2021. My other target whilst running this challenge, was to reach the target distance of 2021km in the year of 2021. I am pleased to say I completed my challenge and goal and have raised £1,327, I find this incredibly rewarding and I appreciate my friends and family supporting me with their lovely messages and donations, they really have been encouraging throughout it.

This challenge was set in memory of my dad. My dad, known to most as Fred, was my best friend and closest confidant. He was a real leader and enabler. He was brought up on one of the mining estates in Retford and claimed to be a rogue at school. He managed (much to his parent’s delight and shock) to get into the grammar school where he got into more trouble.

He then got into university and was the first in the family to do so. I think this is when his eyes really opened, and his degree (which majored in psychology) enabled him to go forward with his career. He knew that getting the best out of people was the best way to get things done. Dad did that in the railway where he worked all his life.

Dad retired early at 59 years old, but a very sudden diagnosis of kidney cancer came. He had just finished walking 10,000 steps every day for a year and the weight loss was attributed to that. The doctor missed the signs, diagnosed pneumonia and wouldn't do any tests. Had he done so he might well have found the cancer before it was too late.

My dad was given a very short time to live, but actually lived 6 months with his diagnosis. He never complained or moaned and treated the cancer as part of life.

My dad was amazing; he would not want anyone to suffer what he did. Fundraising for the NKF and Bassetlaw Food Bank is exactly what he would have wanted and is something that I am sure is making him proud.

For the last year I've been working with Bassetlaw Food Bank and seen how the charity does miracles supporting hundreds of families recover from sudden hardship. These are people like you or I, or people that have just fallen on hard times. The food bank is keeping people alive in Bassetlaw and I'm really keen that the fundraising helps them continue to help those in need.”

Speaking about his running experience Andrew continued; “I’ve run the London Marathon twice and a few other half marathons. I love running but this was definitely the hardest thing that I’ve ever done as it needs so much dedication!

Barriers have been thrown my way though, I did get mild pain in my legs at several points, and ended up going to see a sports massage therapist to unlock everything, but I continued each day with the challenge – not letting anything get in the way!

The challenge has required me to find time to run every day be that in the sun, rain and yes, even the snow and ice! It’s been brilliant for my mental health.

Juggling my social life too was a commitment, my girlfriend currently lives in London so commuting in between for visits, along with work life, seeing other friends and doing this challenge was something I needed to consider when planning my days – plenty of runs were completed at 1am in the morning!.

Christmas morning was also tricky as I needed to take in to consideration not to drink too much! But all in all, I’ve loved every run, it has been great!”

Locally based the Bassetlaw Food Bank started in 2012 as groups in the community and agencies came together to look at rising food insecurity within Bassetlaw. It was becoming evident that more people had to rely on food banks to prevent hunger.

Sadly, hundreds of people across Bassetlaw are finding it impossible to make ends meet. Many suffer in silence, too embarrassed to speak to anyone, instead skipping meals as a result. In 2021 they supported over 5,141 individuals with emergency food parcels. This is a fraction of those in need.

There is no single reason why people find themselves experiencing food insecurity. Redundancy, illness, benefit delays, debt, zero-hours contracts, welfare reform and domestic violence are just some of the reasons why people, many of whom are families with children, are referred to them. More households are turning to food banks, including many who have never needed to before.

Bassetlaw Food Bank is powered by an amazing team of volunteers, who do everything from collecting and sorting donations, to packing and delivering food parcels. Without them, they wouldn’t be able to function.

The charity does not receive any formal funding. They rely on donations of stock to fill the parcels, and money to cover the expenses. They are a charity for the community, backed by the community! The challenge that Andrew set himself was immense but the money he has raised and continues to raise on his JustGiving page will make a big difference.

The National Kidney Federation (NKF) campaigns for improvements to renal provision and treatment to support the estimated 3 million people in the UK who have kidney disease. NKF have their own national patient support services including a free helpline and peer support service for patients, carers and healthcare professionals, which takes around 200 calls a week. NKF have their own website which has rapidly become the hub of the renal community, viewed by more than 1,000,000 patients, carers, renal professionals, doctors and nurses nationwide every year.

The NKF raises money directly from the public and is also supported in its work by the renal industries surrounding and supporting care of kidney disease. The charity exists solely because of the generosity of those sponsors and supporters, however money is always tight, and much more could be done with greater sponsorship.