Why you need to be at Wembley in October

Posted in: Blog, by kayleighb2a, on 4th August 2014 | Comments Off on Why you need to be at Wembley in October

– Mark Topley, CEO

It’s hard to believe that 10 years ago, I had just made my third visit to Tanzania, working with Founders Ian and Andie on the concept for something totally new in short-term dental volunteering. The trip in June was to prepare for our first Dental Volunteer Programme in October which my wife Jo also flew out to help deliver. It broke new ground in using 2 week volunteers to do something that would bring long term change. To treat, train, and relieve pain.

It was also on that trip that we sat around with a bottle of wine and discussed whether the Wilsons were going to take the biggest risk of their lives and leave the job Ian had with another organisation in Mwanza and start Hope Dental Centre – another unique model of providing dentistry for a fee, which would generate income for the charitable activities of Bridge2Aid.

18 months later Jo and I left West Sussex and started life on the shores of Lake Victoria, joining our great friends and increasing the size of the Bridge2Aid team by 50%, from 4 to 6.

The time between then and now has been a blur – we’ve now run 61 dental training programmes, we’ve seen the growth, success and recent relocation of Hope Dental Centre to new premises with 3 full time dentists, we’ve seen a great deal of work at Bukumbi Care Centre and the many teams that came to do that refurbishment, and we’ve seen countless fundraising challenges and thousands of wonderful people who have joined with us and become the Bridge2Aid family.

The great danger in life, and something we talk to our now 50+ strong team about each quarter, is that when you are focussed on doing something good, and achieving more, you never stop and see how far you have come. There are very few opportunities to take a step back and reflect on what has been achieved, and where all the hard work, sacrifice and commitment has got you. I am as guilty as the next person – we don’t make time to celebrate enough, to enjoy the success, thank and recognise each other, to pause and have some fun before we dive back into things and get on with doing, achieving, making things better.

And that’s why I am SO excited about the 10 Year Birthday Bash coming up in October.

Being involved with BridgeAid and meeting and working with the majority of people who are part of the family has been an absolute privilege. We’ve met in all kinds of circumstances and at hundreds of different locations across the UK and in East Africa. But there has never been the chance to bring all those groups together in one place to say ’Thank you’ and ‘Look what we have achieved together so far’.

And now there is.

10thBirthday-badgeSaturday October 4th at Wembley Stadium, we have the chance for DVP Teams, Bukumbi Teams, Kili Climbers, Runners, Skydivers, Swimmers, Hikers, Bikers, Bucket Shakers, Donors, Friends, Volunteers, Unity Partners, Corporate Friends and every other type of Bridge2Aid Family member to be together and celebrate the massive achievements of the past 10 years.

It will be a landmark evening, putting a full stop on the first chapter and looking ahead to the next. And having a lot of fun together – squeezing out more of the fantastic relational glue that holds the whole Bridge2Aid family together.

As someone reading this, no doubt you’ve been involved with us in some way. This is your chance to call the people you shared your experience with, get a table together, and join with us on October 4th as we celebrate.

There aren’t enough opportunities in life to do this sort of thing, I’m not going to miss this one. I hope you’ll take your chance too.

Tickets are available by calling the UK Office on 0845 8509877 or by emailing birthdaybash@bridge2aid.org.

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