Why I took on the Go the Distance challenge for ActionAid

2 June 2021

Go the Distance cyclist Lewis explains why he supports ActionAid and why he took on the challenge to cycle 200 miles and raise more than £200. 

A huge thanks to Go the Distance cyclist Lewis

A huge thanks to Go the Distance cyclist Lewis. Photo: ActionAid

The ongoing coronavirus pandemic has reverberated through every inch of society – changing our behaviour, exposing disparities in society and standing in the way of our most innate desires (to hug, to meet and spend time with others).

But for me, the pandemic has also given me an abundance of time and an opportunity to broaden my perspective and understanding of the world.  

That's where my support for ActionAid comes from – I’ve always thought of myself as someone who's hungry and keen to know more and to be more.

So during the first lockdown, in May 2020, I decided to embark on the challenge of making a positive difference – and firstly, I did this by sponsoring a child. 

Sponsoring a child is about contributing to a better tomorrow

From my perspective, sponsoring a child was an opportunity to give a young person a chance, and to invest in the future for a better tomorrow.  

A year on, I've received multiple letters and drawings from my sponsored child. The journey, the progress and the happiness within these letters brings me so much joy.

Seeing the impact of my monthly contribution is the most inspiring benefit of sponsoring a child – giving that young person a chance, and contributing towards tools, infrastructure and education in the hope that they can lead a better tomorrow.  


Lewis was inspired by the different places he explored in his local community. Photo: Actionaid

Why I wanted to go even further to help people in need

As a result of this desire to help make a positive change in the world, I then decided to take on ActionAid’s Go the Distance challenge.  

I wanted to embark on the challenge for many reasons; I wanted to give more support to ActionAid, I wanted to challenge my limits and I wanted to be a voice for those affected by the climate crisis.

During the pandemic, I've been unable to lead my life with complete freedom - rightly so, as we’ve all had to play our part to reduce the spread of coronavirus. But when thinking about this, I understand that it's transient and will pass in due course.  

On the other hand, many people in places like Cambodia are subject to much more long-term challenges, like the climate crisis, which is displacing people and destroying their livelihoods and homes. It’s difficult to fathom how distressing and difficult this must be.

I knew the Go the Distance challenge was a great opportunity to raise awareness and fundraise in an attempt to alleviate some of these hardships. 

Using Twitter to spread the message

With this in mind, I took to Twitter (@ActionAidLewis) to raise awareness and document my journey as I embarked on my challenge to help those in need. 

The original aim, cycling 200 miles and raising £230, seemed daunting, and I questioned my ability to hit the targets I’d set.

But with the help of the ActionAid community, and my documentation on Twitter, I soon found myself surpassing 200 miles (completing 350 miles by the end of the challenge) and raising £235 (which will be doubled by the UK Government’s Aid Match).

The best part of the Go the Distance journey

Spreading the word and encouraging others has been the most rewarding part of my campaign for the Go the Distance challenge. It was demanding, but it was also fun, enjoyable and contributed to a cause that’s so much bigger than all of us.

I often reflect on how difficult the pandemic has been for all of us, and how it’s cajoled society in all sorts of directions.  

But through our collective effort, we can beat coronavirus.  

And it’s that same collective effort that’s needed to tackle the climate crisis and build a better, more sustainable tomorrow.  

The Go the Distance challenge is just one part of that much bigger picture, and I’ve loved being part of that collective action to make positive change. 

Take part in your own challenge

If you enjoyed Lewis' story, why not take on your own challenge - whether it's on wheels, on foot or even from the comfort of your own home?

Whatever your style, there's an event to suit you, and you'll be making an enormous difference to the lives of women and girls in some of the world's poorest countries. Explore our events today!

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