Walking on fire and glass: a journey for Peeps HIE | Bolt Burdon Kemp Walking on fire and glass: a journey for Peeps HIE | Bolt Burdon Kemp

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Walking on fire and glass: a journey for Peeps HIE

Have you ever wondered what it feels like to walk on fire or glass? No, me neither, at least not until I and 12 of my colleagues were invited to do so to raise awareness and funds for Peeps HIE, a wonderful charity that helps families affected by hypoxic-ischaemic encephalopathy (HIE), a brain injury caused by lack of oxygen.

Of all the fundraising challenges I’ve been thrown into since working in the Child Brain Injury Team, the fire walk and the glass were the maddest and most memorable!

What is HIE and why does it matter?

HIE is a condition that occurs when the brain does not receive enough oxygen, usually during or around the time of birth. It can cause damage to the brain cells and affect the development and functioning of the child. Some of the symptoms of HIE include seizures, feeding difficulties, low muscle tone, and developmental delays.

HIE can have a huge impact on the lives of the children and their families. They may need ongoing medical care, therapy, and special education. They may also face emotional, social, and financial challenges. That is why they need support and guidance from people who understand their situation and can help them cope.

Who are Peeps HIE and what do they do?

Peeps HIE is the only UK charity dedicated to supporting people affected by hypoxic-ischaemic encephalopathy (HIE). It was founded in 2018 by Sarah and Steve, whose daughter Heidi suffered from HIE at birth. They realised that there was not enough awareness or information about HIE, and they wanted to change that. They created Peeps HIE to provide emotional, practical, and financial assistance to anyone who needs it, at any stage of their HIE journey.  Their mission? To ensure that no one walks the path of HIE alone.

Sarah says “Every HIE journey is going to be different. There can be similarities, celebrations, uncertainties, and worrying times. Peeps can be along-side you whenever you need us, whether that’s today, next week or in a few months’ time. Our vision is that every person in the UK touched by HIE can access appropriate support at any time”.

The Call to Adventure

As a member of the Child Brain Injury team at Bolt Burdon Kemp, I’ve witnessed the challenges facing those affected by HIE and the transformative work of Peeps HIE. When the call came to raise funds and awareness through a fire walk and a glass walk, I was ready to step up to support this worthy cause.

What was it like to walk on fire?

In Manchester, the cold April rain wasn’t enough to put out the fire rising from the hot coals along the 10-metre path. As we contemplated the 600°C of heat, nervous and excited, we received a thorough briefing on how to overcome our fears and focus our minds on the positive outcome. Chanting a mantra, “cool moss” to trick my mind into thinking I was walking on something other than red hot embers, and with words of support and encouragement from the team, I walked across the fiery path as fast as I could, feeling the heat on the soles of my feet.  It was all over in a few seconds, although it felt like an eternity, and the elation that followed was immense.

The Walk on the Broken Glass

The glass walk in London was a different beast altogether. We faced a 5-metre-long path of sharp broken glass bottles and jars.   The fire walk had been hot and fast, but the glass walk was the complete opposite: cold, slow, and steady, so as not to lose balance. With each step, I could hear the terrifying crunch of the glass and feel the pressure on my feet, but with a supporting hand, managed to pick my way delicately along the path of shards and back again, emerging unscathed and euphoric, and closer to smashing (pun intended) our fundraising goal.

I am happy to report my feet are still intact and, with photo evidence to prove my achievements, I am happier still to have had the chance to support this great Charity.

How can you help Peeps HIE?

All charities need continued support, as their services are vital but costly. Peeps HIE is no exception. They work hard to make a difference for families affected by HIE, with kindness and compassion. Their website is full of useful information and resources. They rely on donations, volunteers, and events to keep going.

If you want to help Peeps HIE, you can visit their website and:

  • Donate whatever you can afford, as every penny counts.
  • Volunteer your time and skills, as they are always looking for new buddies, fundraisers, and ambassadors.
  • Join their events, such as walks, runs, quizzes, and auctions.
  • Follow them on social media and spread the word about their work.
  • And it’s never too late to sponsor our fire and glass walk challenges by following this link.

I could not have walked the fire and glass paths alone.  Together, we can make a difference for people affected by HIE and ensure they do not have to walk the path of HIE alone.  Thank you for reading and supporting Peeps HIE.

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