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3rd March 2015

Hopping for hopscotch

Despite having a terrible injury whilst playing for univarsity, Alice Smith is determined to raise money for Ugandan playgrounds

Alice Smith isn’t the archetypal student. Whereas most of us made a News Year’s resolution of going to the gym or eating healthier before giving it up by February, she had different ideas.

Unfortunately for Alice, who was a contestant on Junior Apprentice, she suffered a shatter dislocation to her ankle, total tibia fracture and several partial fractures to her fibula, in only her second match for the Women’s Rugby team in December. This resulted in spending New Year in a wheelchair, and an operation which resulted in 35 pins being insered in her ankle. Yet when I met up with her last week, now walking about on crutches, she seemed unfazed by her injury, and more determined than ever to raise money for her Uganda trip that she is going on in June with charity ‘East African Playgrounds.

Mancunion: So, when you were in hospital had you already signed up for the trip to Uganda?

Alice: ‘I had already signed up for the trip before my injury. However, I was in hospital for 11 days, during which the staff were very ambiguous about what they were going to do. At one point, they told me had I been 16 that they would have amputated my ankle. My ankle was also too swollen to operate on for some time.

Another problem was that I was in Liverpool as that’s where the injury took place, so my parents drove up from Leicester everyday whilst the doctors were deciding what to do. However, I was determined to sit my exams in January still so I didn’t have to re-sit my exams in the summer and miss the trip.

M: Can you tell me a little bit about the charity and when you came up with the idea of the run?

A: It was when I was doing a blog for the Endometriosis UK, a charity I am also a Trustee for, when it hit me that the rug can be pulled from under your feet at any time, and you need a contingency for when things go wrong. I became focused on finding a way to turn this experience into a positive, and that’s why I thought of doing this run.
The charity itself is located near to where I live. Unlike other charities which are still intent on making money, the money for his project goes straight into building the playgrounds. It’s a far more effective use of time and resources and done for proper reasons.

The only reservation I have about going is that I’m worried I won’t be able to do the physical work. I’ll probably have to be a bit sensible, which isn’t going to be easy as I like pushing myself. But the whole point of charity is that it is meant to be hard, and that it costs something to you, as someone who is the position of being able to give.

M: I have to ask what your time on the Junior Apprentice was like?

A: At first, I applied because I never thought that I would get in, but one thing left to another and it snowballed a little bit. That being said, it’s a lot worse than it looks on the television, it’s really intense and you can’t be alone at any time… not even to go to the toilet. It wasn’t exactly a nice experience to be in, but I can be appreciative of I now as it’s probably been one of the most important things I’ve done, it certainly has opened a lot of doors and people read my emails now.

M: What would you say to anyone who wants to get involved in charity who feels like they can’t because of physical injuries or other problems?

A: I would say do things that are important to you. It doesn’t have to be big or dramatic. A massive thing that I achieved was giving blood just before my 19th birthday, whereas for others that is just seen as an everyday thing. Giving blood is as important as going to Uganda, or writing a blog. Once you achieve your goal, you’ll continue setting more, it’s infectious.

M: Finally, to my knowledge, Stockport is quite hilly. Have you visited the couse?

A: It is quite hilly… I really will be the last person, but I will have my bucket with me as well! I’m still looking forward to it though, hopefully people will ask about the charity and I can get the word out about it!

As well as raising money for ‘East African Playgrounds’, Alice is also a trustee for ‘Endometriosis UK’. Her run will take place on the 1st of March in Stockport, and you can donate to her efforts via her Virgin moneygiving page:

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