I have always given my £10 a month to a few charities, I didn’t really look into the charities that much other than if I had heard of them then I would donate. 

Every year I would buy a couple of cakes for the big national charities knowing my 20p was going towards helping people. 

I never thought I would need help from charity, I never really understood what charities did other than helping people who need it.

I didn’t have to think about it, so I worked on the ignorance is bliss side of things.

It wasn’t until I was in a position where I needed help in getting sensory equipment for my children, that I understood what charities could help with.

It wasn’t until I needed someone to talk to going through the same thing, that I knew that charities brought families in similar situations together.

It wasn’t until I needed to talk to legal advisors about my son’s educational rights, that I understood they helped practically.

It wasn’t until I needed to speak to people about rare conditions and tests and what it meant emotionally for a parent that I understood what help there was out there.

I didn’t realise there were a lot of nationwide charities that had been around for decades that I had never heard of.

I hadn’t realised there were nationwide charities that are the only ones specialising in certain support until I needed them.

I realised how easy support was if you could find the right charity.

I realised that to get funding for equipment or for some private therapy, a lot of charities needed you to be claiming middle or higher rate Disabilities Living Allowance, that numerous doctor’s reports stating that you had a child with disabilities wasn’t enough to get the funding you need, that you need the government to officially say you were looking after a disabled child to get the help.

I realised quite quickly that there are a lot of charities who are pretty much unheard of except in the disability community who really help change the lives of those living with disabilities.

I realised that these lesser known charities are the ones I would have said no to giving a monthly donation.

I realised that living with a child with Autism and a baby with undiagnosed neuro muscular condition would have been 100 times harder if I hadn’t found certain charities for support in all aspects of our lives.

I learnt that instead of feeling ashamed that I need the help of the charities, I felt so much better for asking for help.

I wasn’t any less of a parent and in fact saying I needed help makes me a better parent to a degree.

This International World of Charity Day (5th September) I will remember and spread the word that, charities are more than just the people trying to stop you in the street on your lunch break.

The right charities really do help the people who need help, the people who are silently struggling, they help find their voice. For that I am truly thankful. 

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