By Amanda Murthy
A genuine act of kindness service to the community and immense gratitude for family life led Perth wife and mother of two, Emma-Lee Woodward to volunteer her time and talents with the hopes of raising $10 000 for Pregnancy Assistance.
Emma will run 100 km over two days, beginning Saturday 26 October and ending her journey at the J H Abrahams Reserve between 2 to 4pm on Sunday 27 October.
Ms Woodward spoke to The Record about what attracted her to the cause and her enthusiasm to support charities.
“I had been thinking about the idea of a run for a little over 6 months before I approached Pregnancy Assistance. I’ve seen people abseiling to raise funds for various charities, always doing things that are out of the normal comfort zone. Running is out of my comfort zone, and I like a challenge,” Emma said.
“I did a lot of research into what charity I wanted to approach and since I have two little girls Evelyn (2 years) and Olivia (10 months) at home, it was a no brainer that I wanted to do it for a charity that helps families.
“In Queensland there is a charity that supports families in crisis to ensure little ones have their basic needs met in conjunction with local support agencies and I loved the idea of this, however I wanted to give back a local charity.
“So I spent a few weeks looking into charities in Perth and Pregnancy Assistance really caught my attention as they help families at all stages, whether they are trying to conceive, during pregnancy or after – and not just with practical things, they help emotionally as well which is amazing,” she noted.
Admitting that running was never her forte, Emma reflected back on the first time she took up the hobby.
“I started off small. My first run was three kms and I thought I was going to never walk again – I now run 10 to 15kms four to five times a week, with one run a week being a longer distance that has been increasing over time.”
She urged the community to support services like Pregnancy Assistance, which she admits always gets forgotten and does not receive as much exposure as they should.
“If I hadn’t searched for them (Pregnancy Assistance), I would have never found them which I think is sad as it’s such a great service,” she cited.
“My goal for this fundraiser wasn’t just money, but mainly for awareness.
“I honestly wish everyone knew about them and what they can offer, sometimes all someone needs is hope and a listening ear which Pregnancy Assistance definitely offers.
“I’d just like to thank Pregnancy Assistance for being so welcoming and helpful with absolutely everything, from the moment I walked in the door Lisette and Anita welcomes me with open arms and treated me like family,” she concluded.
Pregnancy Assistance was founded by Perth Emeritus Archbishop Barry Hickey in 1995 and established a year later.
The service provides emotional and physical support for women seeking help in areas such as pregnancy testing, abortion alternatives, post-abortion counselling and accommodation referral. The service is also extended to father’s-to-be.
Pregnancy Assistance Board Chairman Eric Jas said the team was surprised and excited when Emma-Lee randomly approached them with this ‘extremely generous act of kindness,’ adding that the run will be the biggest fundraising activity by Pregnancy Assistance up to date.
“In the past we have hosted fundraising events such as movie nights, dinner gala’s, quiz nights, but nothing close to this scale,” Mr Jas stated.
“As we rely solely on private donations in form of money, clothes, baby items, Emma-Lee who is hopeful to help us raise $10 000 will help so many women in need.
“God Bless Emma for coming forward and volunteering her time and talents to help the cause and I know her random act of kindness will inspire all to do more for the community!” he added.
Mr Jas added that the event will not only be an opportunity to create awareness but also a rare opportunity for all the staff and volunteers to meet and get to know one another better.
“Currently, we have four permanent staff, ten to twelve regular volunteers and another ten volunteers who come from time to time – and because they all work on different days, most of them don’t know each other,” he explained.
“Therefore, we are taking the opportunity for all staff and the wider community to mingle.
“We strongly encourage everyone to come down with their families and friends to show our support to Emma-Lee and enjoy great fellowship for a good cause by coming down to the J H Abrahams Reserve – bring your own snacks and we will provide water and the venue space,” he concluded.