“Challenges are what make life interesting and overcoming them is what makes life meaningful”. –Joshua J. Marine.
I like to think I set myself challenges and that I have met the majority that I have. However, I have never set challenges as great as Jonjo Heuerman or achieved as much as he has and all by the age of 12. I have followed Jonjo’s work from the very start as he raises money for charities very close to my own heart and of course is a fellow Hammer. As Jonjo is about to embark on his next challenge on Tuesday 18th Feb, I thought it was the perfect time to ask him some questions and find out more about his work.
I am sure most people who follow West Ham know of your work but could you please tell us a little bit about yourself?
I am 12 years old and I was my Nanny’s only grandson when she passed away from bowel cancer. I started secondary school in September and I have only just told my school that I fundraise. I like to keep my school life and my friends separate from my fundraising. I really like meeting people and I love football.
What else do you like to do when you are not raising money?
I love to be at West Ham United, I have been a season ticket holder since I was 4 years old. I also collect 1966 World Cup and West Ham United football memorabilia. I’m just a normal kid and I do normal things. I play on my Xbox and I love to play football and see my friends. My favourite time is playing football with my dog. She is a great goalkeeper. I am really interested in cooking and I would like to be a chef when I am older.
Which charities do you raise money for?
I fund raise for The Bobby Moore Fund for Cancer Research UK. I chose this charity because my Nanny and Bobby Moore both died from bowel cancer.
When and how did your charity work start?
When my Nanny died my sister did some fundraising. She raised £10,000 for our local hospice. I watched what she did and I helped her. I wanted to do something for my Nanny’s memory too so I asked my Mum if I could walk from Wembley to West Ham United. She is not very good at directions and she thought because they were in London they were close. My first walk took me 3 days and was 27 miles and I way 9 years old. I started on my own with my family and I was on TV a lot and when I finished lots of people came to walk with me.
I do my walk every year in February half term because it’s the same week as my Nanny and Bobby’s anniversary. People from around the world come to walk with me and people send me angel names of people who they lost to cancer too. I put all the names on my walk Tshirt and I read out the names on the last day of my challenge at a special memorial ceremony. I have walked almost 200 miles now for nearly 300 angels. I also help by organising events all year too.
Can you tell me about some of your biggest fundraising events?
My biggest event was The Big Football Tag. I asked every one of the 92 English Football League club captains to give me a signed captains armband. I then organised a tag event where fans from each club took their club captain’s armband to the next club in the tag. The armbands were attached to sashes with GPS trackers attached. On the first day of my 2013 challenge I waited at the gates of Upton Park to wait for the armbands to arrive on foot and to tag me. It was amazing, from all around the country they came and within half an hour I had every armband. I carried them to Wembley to get the England captain’s armband for Bobby and bring it back to Upton Park. My walk took me 6 days and I walked 66 miles. All of the armbands are being auctioned for the charity.
I have seen many West Ham greats and other famous people support your work, have you any special memories from any dealings with them?
I was invited to meet David Cameron at Downing Street. That was pretty special. He is an Aston Villa supporter and I told him he supported the wrong claret and blue and he thought it was funny. Speaking at events at the House of Lords was great too.
I have met Billy Bonds a lot and last time he was telling me off for not eating properly. I am a really bad eater and he was trying to get me to eat chicken with him. He made me promise and to train properly for my challenge. All of The Boys of 86 are kind to me and is the first team squad, the owners and staff at West Ham too. A lot of celebrity fans follow me on Twitter and they are kind too and Stephanie Moore is very proud of me. I have had a great time meeting people.
You are due to start another event this Tuesday, could you tell me more about it?
I am starting a 50 mile 5 day football dribble from the centre circle of Southend United to the centre circle of West Ham United before kick off against Southampton. I start the day after my nanny’s anniversary and I finish the day before Bobby’s anniversary. I have two footballs and I am inviting people to come and dribble with me. Lots of people are joining in and I am trying to raise £50,000 for The Bobby Moore Fund.
How can readers support you and contribute to the cause?
They can support me by visiting my Website and buying my charity badges and wristbands or by donating on JustGiving or by coming and joining in. I am trying to get fans to walk the last mile with me – One Moore Mile. They can meet me at the junction of Romford Road and Green Street on 22nd February 2014 at 1:30pm. There is a lot of information about my challenge on my website and I will be wearing a GPS tracker so people can watch my progress or find me to join in. There are maps on my website too.
If fans cannot walk with me they can meet me at the Barking Road statue at 2pm on 22nd February for my memorial service. There is a lot of people coming and it’s going to be really special this year. They can also follow me on Facebook and Twitter. I like reading the messages on there because it encourages me.
What are your future ambitions?
I want to be a chef and I want to keep fundraising and help find a cure one day. I am walking in Ireland in April and I have been asked to walk to The Vatican, and to walk in New York but I don’t know how or when because of my school work.
Is there anything you would like to say to the readers out there?
I want to say a big thank you to West Ham fans and the club for helping me. I have raised £150,000 so far and the charity estimates that I have generated over £1m in awareness too and I couldn’t do it without lots of help. Thank you for helping me Make Bobby Proud
I would really like to thank Jonjo for taking the time to answer these questions for me, the day before such a big event. I am sure, like me, you find his work inspirational and would encourage you all to support Jonjo and help him reach his fundraising targets. Good luck Jonjo from the West Ham family!!
Please donate as much as you can help Jonjo’s efforts on his JustGiving page