Monday 20 January 2014

RL4ALEX - A Fundraiser Day

As everyone in the world probably knows by now, rugby league is a huge part of my life now that the Husband coaches and my eight year old son plays.

There's always training, friendlies and league matches to attend - and I'm really surprised to say that I love every minute of it.

Don't get me wrong those 9am's on freezing cold, wet, Sunday mornings, spent huddled up in a muddy field can take there toll, but seeing the boys so happy, coming together and working so hard as a unit really makes it all worth while.

My son's team mates are a fantastic bunch of kiddies too, they all get along really well and look forward to seeing each other every week.  They genuinely do care for each other, and are brilliant friends both on and off of the pitch.

As a parent it's a brilliant thing to see - we all want our children to make friends, be sociable and confident, all whilst enjoying themselves through the things that they love.

And why shouldn't children have these experiences.

All children should be able to have these opportunities - no matter what.

So when I heard about the charity RL4ALEX I was really interested, and jumped at the chance to help out during a fundraiser day organised at The Kirkgate Centre in Bradford this weekend.

RL4ALEX is a charity that was set up to provide sporting opportunities, and to help maximise the potential of children with Autistic Spectrum Disorders (ASD).

ASD are three times more likely to affect boys than girls, and can be categorised in three areas:

~ difficulties with social interaction
~ impaired language and communication skills
~ unusual patterns of thought and physical behaviors

RL4ALEX was established in May 2013, in a bid to help children with ASD feel that they can be included within the sport that they love and not be made to miss out, feel segregated or "different" from other children.

The charity helps to educate others - team coaches for example - so that they have the appropriate skills and knowledge necessary to coach children with ASD properly and accurately, allowing the child to fully integrate into a team and be taught the skills they need to succeed.

Fantastic Stuff!

The fundraiser day was great.

My son and some of his rugby team mates, helped members of RL4ALEX give catalogues out and draw attention to the cause whilst collecting donations from the shopping public.

Members of The Bradford Bulls and The Dewsbury Rams came along to help out too, and there was a rugby raffle, with lots of lovely, signed rugby bits and bobs on offer to win.

The Bull Man was a huge attraction - the kiddies loved him (or absolutely hated him in some quite funny cases) and I'm sure the adults rather enjoyed his cuddles too!

We were also very pleased to be able meet the inspiration behind the charity - the main man himself - ten year old Alex Whiteley.
Being a huge rugby league fan, Alex had a passion to play the sport he enjoyed so much, but his family found that he faced many challenges when trying to get into a mainstream rugby league team - simply due to his uniqueness.

Such challenges are obviously not only faced by Alex, and many children will no doubt go through a similar thing.

Wanting to make a difference for Alex and others, RL4ALEX was born, allowing every child to feel properly included in the activity that they love.

I really hope I have an opportunity to work with RL4ALEX again - Alex is a lovely boy, and he really made an impression on the other children he met and played with on the day - they can't wait to catch up with him soon.

RL4ALEX is an inspiring cause helping to bring all children TOGETHER AS ONE

Make sure you help support this fantastic cause to help ALL children feel included

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