Karen's Sleepout Challenge

Last weekend Karen completed her sleepout challenge, determined to not let her Spina Bifida and recent heart attack define her; this is why Karen wanted to take on the Advent Sleepout Challenge.

Inspired by my friend who was taking part in the Westminster Abbey Sleepout challenge I wanted to take on the challenge but knew that I couldn’t do it in the same way as her because my disability and health conditions wouldn’t allow it. That was when I came up with my own plan of doing it in my car, in a safe location, in Margate, Thanet, the town where I live.

The issue of homelessness is very close to my heart, nearly five years ago I had a heart attack and cardiac arrests, at which point I then went temporarily blind. A very special friend of mine told me about a man and his cat. The man had been homeless when an injured stray cat came to him and sat by his side while he busked for money on the streets. The man, James Bowen, adopted the cat and wrote a best-selling book, A Street Cat Named Bob. Reading this book was a big part of my recovery and James and Bob have become a big part of my life.

The Sleepout Challenge is a way for me to give something back. I can’t literally sleep on the street because I am in a wheelchair due to being born with Spina Bifida so I’ll be in my car instead. It will give me some insight of a cold and uncomfortable night and help to raise money for people without a warm bed to go to and hopefully give them the opportunity to find a bed in a local shelter.

StoriesAbi Bates