The remarkable 58-year-old who heads CHUMS - the mental health and emotional wellbeing service for children, young people and their families in Bedfordshire, Peterborough and Cambridgeshire - is setting out on a 100 mile walk from Southwold to Silsoe on June 22.
And she’s hoping her charity challenge will inspire young people to aim high and achieve their ambitions.
“They can do anything they set their minds to,” she says. “All they need is the right help and the determination to succeed.
“Look at me – if anyone had told me this time last year I’d be doing this, I would not have not believed them.”
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But that was before she started twice weekly workouts with personal trainer and CHUMS wellbeing lead Josie Meatyard.
“Josie has taught me so much!” she exclaims. “Now I go for long walks every weekend and I’ve got a plan to crank that up as D day approaches. I’ve got something to prove to myself and I know I’ll never give up.
“This isn’t about me as chief executive,” she adds. “This is a team effort. It’s fun and exciting – and for an amazing cause. “And I’m hoping the community will get behind us.”
Dawn’s looking for friends, supporters and sponsors to join her along the way – and she’s particularly keen that some of the young people CHUMS has helped over the years will be with her on that last mile, back to CHUMS HQ in Silsoe.
“That would be so lovely,” she smiles.
CHUMS started in 1997 as a children’s bereavement service within the NHS. It had a staff of two who dealt with 100 referrals a year. It grew beyond all expectations and is now a social enterprise employing 85 people, supported by 120 volunteers and supports over 5,000 children and young people each year.
CHUMS also deliver a baby loss service, bereavement service, support following a suicide, a trauma service, young carers support and has a disability friendship scheme as well as offering emotional wellbeing, football and music therapy.
>If you’d like to be part of this amazing journey and walk with Dawn for one day to help her reach her £21,000 target, email [email protected] or call 01525 863924. Or you can donate on the Just Giving page Dawns Southwold to Silsoe