Stepping Stones DS

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Q&A with Sarah Sutton

1) Tell us about your involvement with O2e
I am involved with O2e as Chair of Trustees of Stepping Stones DS which is one of the charities that O2e supports. Stepping Stones DS is a local volunteer led group, supporting children and young people with Down Syndrome in their families in parts of Hampshire, Berkshire and Surrey.
We support nearly 140 families with youngsters ranging from birth to 20. We provide a wide range of support, services and activities, designed to support our young people in reaching their potential.As I like to say we want to support our extraordinary youngsters in being able to do ordinary things!  

2) What has been the most memorable event or challenge you taken part in, or supported, for O2e?
I have taken part in took O2e Walks the Worlds. It’s amazing how this challenges pulled a remote group of people together with a common aim to walk 100 miles in May. Walking a little over three miles a day may not seen like a challenge, and it is probably eminently achievable for most O2e supporters with a little bit of thought and planning. You can skip the tube or walk the school run.
However for many of the children that O2e supports walking 3 miles a day is impossible. This challenges really resonates with me because it is a really ordinarily challenges but for some people achieving it is an extraordinary feat.
The first year I took part my daughter had open heart surgery in May and I racked up the miles walking the corridors at Southampton hospital. The second year it was just be walking the school run back and forth every day – which meant my girls had to take part too! For Zoe who has Down Syndrome the 0.75 mile walk to school is a real challenge so she used wheels in the form of her scooter. The team spirit amongst everyone taking part is always amazing as we swop stories and tales AND raise pennies for O2e.

3)What is it about the O2e ethos that resonates with you?
O2e is a small organisation that likes to really get to know the charities they support and understand the unique charities that they face. I think this sort of relationship is only possible between small organisations who still have face to face relationships and where supporters can get to know the children and families that they are supporting. 

4) How can people get involved in O2e and why do you think they should?
Anyone can get involved with an O2e challenge – I think Walk the World is the most accessible challenge – it has a really good feel good factor in terms of raising money for amazing causes, being part of a team working towards the same objective and the walking is really great too and soon becomes something that makes you feel good and you really enjoy.

5) Finally, tell us about your next event that will take you from ordinary to extraordinary?
The next thing that will take Stepping Stones DS from ordinary to extraordinary is in September when we will take over a building and have our very own home for the first time. This is an extraordinary achievable for a small volunteer led support group such as ours and is only possible because of the support we receive from O2e and others.