AFC Wimbledon will be staging a collection with WAY Widowed and Young this weekend and if possible we'd really appreciate your kind generosity.
You may remember a few months ago we asked supporters to vote for two matchday collection charities for this season. Fans chose WAY Widowed and Young as one of them.
Their local team of volunteers (pictured) are really looking forward to meeting as many fans as possible at the match against Peterborough United on Sunday. Look out for them with their buckets - they'll be wearing bright blue hoodies!
What is WAY?
WAY is the only national charity in the UK dedicated to supporting people who’ve been widowed at a young age. The charity was set up 20 years ago and now has more than 2,600 members across the UK – including an active local group in South West London.
WAY is run by a network of volunteers who’ve been bereaved themselves so they understand the challenges members are facing every day as they adjust to life after loss.
The charity offers:
- A completely secure members’ only website that’s available 24 hours a day for members to offer each other support and advice
- A free, confidential telephone helpline that offers round-the-clock financial, legal and medical advice as well as 1:1 bereavement counselling
- Regular get togethers for members and their families – both locally in South-West London and further afield
- A Memorial Fund to help members who are struggling to afford to attend WAY events such as an annual activity weekend.
“Without WAY, I wouldn’t have made it this far..”
WAY is sometimes described as “a club nobody wants to be eligible to join” – but the charity offers a lifeline to many of their members, including AFC Wimbledon fan Sara.
Here’s Sara’s story:
“In May 2014, my much-loved husband David passed away unexpectedly leaving myself and our 12-year-old daughter heartbroken. Our dreams of a future together were destroyed.
David was born in Birkenhead but moved down to London in the early 1980s. Always a fan of the underdog, he fell in love with Wimbledon. I’d never been to a game until we met, although I was born in Wimbledon. It wasn’t long before I was hooked too! Now I go to every home game with my dad – both of us are season ticket holders. It helps me feel close to my husband and I'll never forget that wonderful day at Wembley, two years to the day after David died, when Wimbledon got promoted to League One. He would have cheered the loudest.
At a time when I needed the support of my friends the most, it was amazing just how many of them melted away because they didn’t know what to say or how to act around me. Thankfully, I found WAY (Widowed and Young) and through this fantastic charity I met other young widows and widowers. Through WAY’s members’ only website, we could share our stories and talk about our loved ones without fear of being judged. Someone was always there for advice or just to listen if I needed to talk.
It took me a while to build up the courage to go to my first meet-up but I was made to feel so welcome by everyone. Since then I have made some really good friends – friends who understand the pain I’m going through and who help me through those tough times. Without WAY and their advice and friendship I really would not have made it this far.”
You can read more about WAY in your match programme on November 12, including an interview with Dons legend Lawrie Sanchez, who lost his wife Heather to cancer 20 years ago.
The match also coincides with Remembrance Sunday, so we hope you’ll take this opportunity to remember lost loved ones with us.
And we hope you’ll show your support for WAY by donating generously so that they can continue to support young widows and widowers like Sara in future – helping them to find a way forward after loss.
You can find out more about WAY at www.widowedandyoung.org.uk
Or find them on social media at:
Facebook - WAYwidowedandyoung
Twitter - @widowedandyoung
Instagram - widowedandyoung
This Remembrance Sunday, please take a moment to remember lost loved ones with WAY…