THE GREATEST GIFT OF ALL: FUNDRAISING TO SPREAD SMILES AT CHRISTMAS
Cody McManus was awarded the Diana Award in 2018 for his fundraising work supporting less fortunate children at Christmas. Here he explains the importance of being charitable and how even the smallest acts of kindness can make a difference.
My fundraising journey began at my boxing class. My friend at boxing told me he didn’t get anything for Christmas which made me feel sad for him. I wanted to help him have a good Christmas and for him to wake up on Christmas morning with presents to open. So I began to think of ways to help him get presents. But then I learned that there are hundreds of children across the UK that don’t get gifts at Christmas. So I decided to try and help them all.
I started my own fundraising idea, aiming to raise toy donations so I could give toys to children that don’t get anything for Christmas. I took on a sponsored boxing challenge, boxing eight other boxers from my club back to back for two minutes each. My dream for this fundraiser was to fill a full-sized boxing ring with toys so it looked like a massive toy box. So when I saw the boxing ring getting fuller and fuller with toys, I realised that lots of people were supporting me and lots of children were going to have a good Christmas because of me.
“Everyone can make a small difference to others. What might be just a little thing to you might be a huge thing to someone else.”
Since then I have done more Christmas fundraisers, including one to raise bikes for kids from families that can’t afford them. Altogether, over three fundraising campaigns, I have helped about 1,000 children get toys and bikes in my community. I am really proud of myself for getting through the challenges and really proud of everyone that helped me by giving toys.
But I know there are more children who are waking up to nothing all over the world. I know I can’t help them all, so in the future I’d like for everyone to go out and find a family that lives near them or a family in their children’s school that needs a wee help, not just at Christmas but throughout the year.
I want to inspire people to take ownership of their own kindness. Everyone can make a small difference to others. What might be just a little thing to you might be a huge thing to someone else. It doesn’t take much to do something for another person.
When I got my Diana award I heard all about the things Princess Diana did for people she didn’t know and how she was kind to others and didn’t make a big deal about it. Everyone says that I’m a bit like that too, because I don’t really think about me when I’m doing my challenges even when they are really hard. My head teacher says I’m just a normal wee boy with a big heart.
I’m really happy to be a Change_Maker because it made me think about what I was doing for other people and how I have changed the way lots of children feel about Christmas. It’s a good feeling helping other children and when I woke up on Christmas morning the first thing I thought about was all the children I helped who would have presents to open. It made me smile thinking about it and I hoped all the children liked their presents and smiled too.
If anyone is ever thinking about doing stuff to make a difference to other people then you should just do it, because you can’t assume that someone else will.
I was only eight when I did my first Christmas fundraiser so if I could do it at that age then anyone can. You just need to care.