Both of us have had the privilege of growing up in not only one of the world’s most beautiful places, but also one of the most protected ones. It is an enormous privilege to have the kind of jobs we do and at the same time being able to engage in both physical and mental challenges when we wish. Not everyone has had the same opportunities as we have had. To work with sick children has given us a perspective on life that we would like to share with our readers. It is our strong wish that in this way try and help the exposed, poor and exploited children all over the world. We will try to achieve this goal by raising money for different charities during our bigger competitions.
To date, Jakob & Jakob, together with Jakob’s dad Jozef, have raised more than 96 000 SEK for various charities.
The summer of 2015 saw us fulfil one of life-long dreams of competing in the Ultra-Trail du Mont Blanc for the very first time. My dad, Jozef, competed in the OCC (53 km, 3300+D) and I myself had a coveted spot for the mother of all European ultras: the UTMB itself. Luckily for us, Jakob crewed for us during both our races. And during these races, we raised € 2 760 (~26 00 SEK) for Hand In Hand International. Hand in Hand International was founded in 2003 by Dr Kalpana Sankar and Percy Barnevik, and their initial goal was to get local children out of factories and into schools. With time however, it became clear that in order to deal effectively with child labor they needed to get to the root of the problem: combating poverty. And what better way to deal with this problem than creating jobs? Which is why Hand in Hand started to focus on fighting poverty through creating jobs with grassroots entrepreneurship.
In the summer of 2014 we ran the Lavaredo Ultra Trail in Italy, and in so doing raised $ 2 325 (15 000 SEK) for Reece’s Rainbow Adoption Grant Foundation. They sponsor families who wish to adopt children with Down’s syndrome or other special needs, often from orphanages overseas. These children are viewed as outcasts with no ability to learn or be functional members of society. They languish in mental institutions, hidden away from the world in shame. To date, Reece’s Rainbow has helped more than 1000 children to find their adoptive families and raised more than $4,5 million in grant funds to sponsor these families.
In the spring of 2013, Jakob & Jakob ran the desert ultramarathon Marathon des Sables in Morocco, and in so doing raised a total of € 2 625 (around 25 000 SEK) for the Children’s ward at Saint Francis’ Hospital in Zambia. SFH is a rural hospital in the district of Katete and serves the local population (200 000), and even though it is fully integrated into the Zambian Health Service and partly funded by the Zambian government, it relies heavily upon funding from the Anglican and Catholic churches and donations from primarily Dutch and British support groups. The hospital has a brand new Children’s Ward which was officially opened by the Zambian Minister of Health in November 2012. The ward has 54 beds and an additional 18 cots for the smallest children, and beside the ward the hospital also has a Children Outpatient Clinic and an Under 5-Clinic where among others some 600 children a year receive treatment for HIV with anti-retroviral drugs. Jakob & Jakob have established a cooperation with the Dutch organisation Stichting SFH Medical Support Group (MSG for short) and the money donated went via MSG straight to the Children’s Ward at Saint Francis’ Hospital.
In November 2012 we were supposed to run the New York Marathon, but unfortunately the race was cancelled due to the aftermath of hurricane Sandy. We nevertheless managed to raise £ 2 135 (more than 26 000 SEK) for UNICEF! UNICEF is a UN organisation and primarily helps children and their mothers in developing countries. UNICEF does not receive any financial support from the UN and solely relies on gifts and donations.
Edinburgh Marathon in 2009 was the first race where we raised money for charity. Although the sum was small (£ 365, around 4 000 SEK), it gave us a taste for running for charity. Hope for Children is a British non-profit organisation that exists to help orphaned, poor, exploited and other marginalised children in developing countries and in the UK.