V24 has always been about so much more than football - yes football is extremely important and it is obviously the reason why you're reading this post, but it's important to know what else V24 is looking to achieve.
Many of you will know about Vinny's story but for some of you, this will be the first time you've heard of it:
On July 28th 2014, Vinny Dean was born prematurely at just 24 weeks weighing less than 500g - his eyes still fused together.
Doctors gave him just a 5% chance of surviving the night.
But thanks to the incredible NHS doctors and nurses at the Oxford John Radcliffe Hospital, Vinny not only survived the night but brought love to his family for 17 months.
SSNAP provides the John Radcliffe with state of the art life-saving equipment for sick, newborn children - without them, Vinny would not have lived the short, love-filled life he did.
Vinny was a fighter himself - he fought on so many fronts and gave so much joy and happiness to this world.
Through Vinny, doctors were able to learn from his life-threatening situation so they can help poorly babies in the future.
Vinny grew his wings on January 1st 2016.
To honour Vinny, we at V24 chose SSNAP as the charity that we will always look to raise funds for. This could be through sponsorship, events, raffles - the possibilities are endless.
What does SSNAP do?
In the UK, 1 in 10 babies need specialist care at birth. SSNAP supports sick & premature babies and their families in the Newborn Care Unit at the John Radcliffe Hospital. Imagine your newborn baby needing specialist care at birth. Instead of those very special days getting to know your baby as a family, you’re catapulted into an unfamiliar world of incubators, wires, medical tests and interventions. While your baby has specialist treatment, we provide emotional and practical support to help you through the trauma & upheaval. We’re there to help families cope, and provide state-of-the-art medical equipment and nursing expertise that could save babies lives.
To kick off our fundraising, V24 coaches Deano, Greg Andy and I all ran the MK Half Marathon on the 26th of June.
The aim of the race? To complete it and raise as much money as possible - finishing times didn't matter, although Greg clearly didn't get that memo, posting an impressive time of 1 hour 50 minutes.
Pleasingly, the other two guys and I were not too far behind with all of us completing without stopping.
While training and then ultimately running the race would have made some difference on our physical fitness, it was in the raising of funds is where the real difference would be made.
Thanks to donations from friends, family and the likes of yourselves we managed to raise the incredible amount of £4545.72 for SSNAP - more than 125% of our original target.
We would also like to give a special thank you and shout out to Nadine Lathwell and Nadine Stacey of Applegreen UK for their very generous donation of £1000 to this very worthwhile cause.
This was only just the beginning of our fundraising adventures. We already plan to run the MK Half in 2022 and are looking for a few new faces to get involved (watch this space), as well as holding a charity football match in 2022.
Vinny's legacy will of course be a generation of two-footed players in Leighton Buzzard, but more importantly, his legacy will be one that will help other babies survive a premature birth - babies who will then go on to live long and healthy lives.