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Sarah Cogzell


Challenge complete

Fundraising for this challenge has ended so we're no longer accepting donations. Thanks to everyone who supported this challenge.

Total raised so far £0.00

Target £0.00

Total plus Gift Aid: £0.00

Raised offline: £0.00

My story

[p][b]The Short of It….[/b][/p][p][b][i]I am raising money for Helen Arkell Dyslexia Centre by running the London Marathon on the 22nd April 2018. The centre helps support children and adult dyslexics as well as teaching educationalists and employers, strategies that help them achieve their potential.[/i][/b][/p][p][b]My Story (the long of it, the reason why)[/b][/p][p][b][i]When I was 6 my teacher tapped my bottom because she thought I was not paying attention when I was unable to read to her, at her desk. This understandably put me off reading and books for some time. When my parents moved me to another school in year 3 it took another 3 years before I was given extra help to learn to read and write. My way of coping before this was to sit next to the cleverest girl in class and copy her work. I was often sent out for chatting and not paying attention. In secondary school I can recall my heart beating fast worrying whether I would be asked to read out loud in class (something I still get nervous about)and I often couldn’t take in what was being taught as I was too busy copying the board which took me longer than others due to not being able to spell, I learnt to look at the board and write on paper without looking at it, I found my own strategies to cope and when my parents questioned my poor spelling and writing they were told I wrote how a typical Bristolian speaks. I chose GSCE subjects like drama and typing and being good at maths saw me leave school with half decent grades. [/i][/b][/p][p][b][i]After having my second son I was fed up of feeling like I wasn’t clever and had always dreamed of going to university, so I worked really hard to complete a college course and then had to fight for my place at university on the Children’s Nursing course. This was one of the hardest things I have ever had to do. I seemed to spend hours longer than others to read the literature, put essays together and would often stay up without any sleep trying to do this only most of the time to get an average grade.[/i][/b][/p][p][b][i]During my time at university my second child Ethan had started school and when he as in year 1 I was told he was at the bottom of the class and no matter what I did, even if he had 1:1 help he would always be at the bottom of the class. I was angry to hear this as he was 5, a boy and being born in July, one of the youngest. I refused to listen and moved him to another school for a year which was more creative, this helped his confidence and made him a happier child but put him further behind. For this reason I decided to move him again, to a good school known to get good results, however I soon learnt this was for the more able child as in year 4 I was told he was 3 years behind but because he was making progress, albeit very little progress he wouldn’t qualify for extra funding which meant not much extra help.[/i][/b][/p][p][b][i]In year 5 a LSA who was working in the school suggested I got an independent education psychologist to test him, which was very expensive but I did and was told he had dyslexia and auditory memory disorder. Once I got the report I thought this would be the magic bit of paper that would finally get him the help but after another year of fighting, I fell pregnant with my third and ran out of steam to continue to fight as I felt I wasn’t getting anywhere. In year 6 I was told about the toe by toe programme (an intensive programme some schools use to help older children read), the school refused to do as they couldn’t commit doing 20-30 mins a day 1:1 with Ethan. I therefore did this myself at home which as you can imagine was a struggle seeing I struggle which phonics and rules myself.[/i][/b][/p][p][b][i]After I finished my maternity leave I was offered a 2 year place at university to do my health visiting degree, it was during this time both tutor and practice teacher noticed things about my writing and the amount of extra hours I would spend in the library, (I literally spent every spare moment often on my days off staying in there 12 hour a day to get essays written). They suggested I too might be dyslexic and that I could be tested for this. I remember the day well, I always knew I was, but to be told that ‘yes’ I was dyslexic and then be told how well I had done to come this far using my own coping strategies was a very emotional moment in which I cried. I cried not just because for the first time I felt there was a reason I had to work that extra harder and wasn’t thick or stupid but also because I felt guilty that I had passed this on to my son and I was the reason why he was struggling so much at school. On the flip side for him, I think he felt less alone and that I understood what he was going through so it brought us closer together. He was my drive in completing that degree, he attended my graduation. I felt it was important for him to see the struggle I went through but at the same time that anything was possible, despite having dyslexia, if you really wanted something and worked hard for it then maybe it would happen. [/i][/b][/p][p][b][i]For the first 3 years in secondary school he did get some extra help and he finally felt like he fitted in socially, so I took a step back and left him to just enjoy it, thinking as long as he was happy that was all that mattered, unfortunately along came the gcse’s and the government scrapping any chance of him doing a vocational course one day a week at college. They let him reduce the number of gcse's to 6 and eventually in year11 and after much fighting they let him go to college one afternoon a week which he loved. The pressure was huge for us as a family as we found out that even vocational courses such as plumbing the government had set hard standards, wanting them to have at least 5 E's to get on this course so we spent every night revising in the 16 weeks run up to the exams, unfortunately he didn’t get much more than e’s and f’s and again I had to fight for him to gain a place on a level one plumbing course which he started this September. [/i][/b][/p][p][b][i]More recently it’s been brought to my attention that my 7 year daughter might also be dyslexic, I had thought it had bypassed her as she is able to read but she’s starting to show signs that she may benefit from a different way of learning too. I wanted to share my story not only to raise money for an organisation like Helen Arkell Dyslexia Centre who do an amazing job at supporting parents and children through their struggles with dyslexia but to raise awareness of how hard it is to get through school/life with dyslexia. What I would love to see change, is that everyone with dyslexia get the support they need to build their skills and confidence to enable them to succeed in whatever it is they want to do. [/i][/b][/p]

Share Sarah's story


Apr 22, 2018

Maggie Patch

Well done Sarah. I haven’t forgotten you telling me about Ethan and well done you. Both my girls are dyslexic and struggle in different ways. Your story rings so many bells.

£10.00 plus £2.50 Gift Aid

Apr 22, 2018

Julie cogzell

Well done Xx

£15.00 plus £3.75 Gift Aid

Apr 22, 2018

Vicki Vowles

What a week! From loo lady to runner.... You're amazing! Lots of love, Vicki xx

£10.00 plus £2.50 Gift Aid

Apr 21, 2018

Bev Ballagher

Wishing you all the best Sarah Xxxx

£20.00 plus £5.00 Gift Aid

Apr 17, 2018



Apr 12, 2018

Sheralyn X

Go on Sar!!! Fantastic Charity, all the best you will smash this like everything you do Xx

£5.00 plus £1.25 Gift Aid

Apr 6, 2018

Juliet lamble

You are an amazing woman, mother and wife, all your family and friends must very proud of you. I completely understand your fight and drive. Xxx

£30.00 plus £7.50 Gift Aid

Apr 6, 2018

Vicky and Chris

Good luck Sarah, I hope to see you to cheer you on!

£20.00 plus £5.00 Gift Aid

Mar 20, 2018



Mar 5, 2018


Good luck Sarah

£20.00 plus £5.00 Gift Aid