DATE WITH DESTINY: Jason Arday and tennis ace Andy
NOT EVERYONE can say they have raised over £250,000 for 70 different charities, particularly while juggling a career and managing a serious health condition.
However, Jason Arday is not your average 27-year-old. When he’s not busy teaching at a university or studying for his PhD degree, he spends whatever free time he has left fundraising.
Arday has spent the past 10 years raising money for local and national charities, including Cancer Research despite living with epilepsy.
His desire to help others came about when he was 17-years-old after visiting a homeless shelter, an experience which had a “big effect” on his life.
“I decided I wanted to dedicate my life to raising as much money as possible for charity,” Arday said.
Ever since he made his bow, the avid fundraiser has worked tirelessly to achieve his goal. He counts running 35 marathons in 30 days, in which time he raised thousands of pounds for a children’s hospice, as one of his biggest feats.
It was this challenge that saw him win a spot on ITV family programme Surprise Surprise after his fiancé and friend nominated him.
In return for his selfless charity work the tennis fan won a paid trip to New York and an opportunity to meet his sporting hero, US Open champion Andy Murray.
After hearing about Arday’s extensive charity work Murray called him an ‘inspiration’.
Arday told The Voice he was humbled by Murray’s words. “It was quite weird for someone to say something like that to me and then [repeated it to] others; it’s quite a nice thing,” the ardent fundraiser said.
Since the age of 18, Arday has suffered numerous seizures as a result of epilepsy. He said a cocktail of medication and meditation allows him to manage the condition.
Despite the risk of repeated seizures, Arday said he won’t let his illness get in the way and has never let it halt his progress. In fact, he said “it’s made me a lot more motivated. I was motivated before, but I remember thinking I am going to try even harder now.”
Although some people set out to inspire others through the work they do, Arday said for him it is purely about helping others.
“If that happens to inspire people then that’s really great but that’s not why I do it. I do it because I like helping people.”
The physical education (PE) lecturer who works at Liverpool’s John Moores University and has a degree in PE said he never thought he would have achieved all that he has so far.
“People do amazing things everyday and I’m just fortunate to be around people who appreciate it. I always say that if I die tomorrow I have completely achieved everything I thought I’d do in my life,” he said.
While 2012 was a busy year for Arday, who alongside fundraising and moving from London to Liverpool, was also selected as an Olympic Torchbearer for the London 2012 Games.