Throughout June Santander took part in an annual staff engagement and health and well-being initiative which saw them raise funds for our fight for every heartbeat.
Over 70 teams of 10 Santander employees took part in a sponsored “50 million steps” pedometer challenge. The teams were tasked to collectively walk 50 million steps over two weeks, by the end of the challenge the teams had walked just under 70 million steps.
As well as physically challenging themselves, the Santander branch network got customers involved by holding teddy bear raffles and a stock donation appeal to raise further funds.
The activity has raised over £90,000 with Gift Aid and matched funding from the Santander Foundation.
For one employee this activity was more than an annual challenge. Claire Higgins, was a member of the top fundraising team, “Sophie’s Sassy Steppers”. Claire and the team were spurred on to raise as much money as possible by Claire’s daughter Sophie’s story.
At just two days old, Claire and her husband were told Sophie had several life-threatening conditions including a large hole in her heart. These are complex conditions that make Sophie’s future uncertain.
Claire said: “It was devastating. It still is. Seven years later, we still can’t believe it. We didn’t know anyone in a similar situation so we called the BHF Heart Helpline and it was a big help to me.
“Sophie’s an amazing child and we don’t want to wrap her in cotton wool. We want her to do as much as she can and regular monitoring helps with this.
“Her first day at school was very emotional for me. We are so very proud that she has reached these milestones.
“We’ve told Sophie that she has a special heart. We had to make her aware that she will be getting it ‘fixed’ one day. We are just always hoping that as time goes on research funded by the British Heart Foundation will find something that will help Sophie. More time might give us a chance to sort it”.
Sophie is now 7 years old and lives with these conditions every day. She’s been in and out of hospital her whole life. But she’s a fighter.
Thanks to the effort by the employees and customers of Santander we will be able to fund further research to help families like Claire’s.