Sarah & Waffle | The Rickshaw Challenge 2020

Danielle Petch

Sarah, 16, was born profoundly deaf, due to an infection as a baby that left her unable to hear. From struggling to sleep to communicating with others, for Sarah, this meant that everyday life was a struggle. 

But that all changed when she met a certain four-legged friend, who — in Sarah’s words — changed her life completely...

“I found life very difficult before I met Waffle, I felt isolated and lonely but Waffle completely changed my life and I feel so lucky to have her.” Sarah

A girl sitting down in the park with her arm around a dog

Sarah was assigned Waffle, a cockapoo hearing dog, by Hearing Dogs for the Deaf. They train assistance dogs like Waffle to alert deaf people to important and life-saving sounds, which they would otherwise miss. Waffle now acts as Sarah’s ears and has helped her to become the confident, independent young person she is today.

After being nominated by the team at Hearing Dogs for the Deaf, this year Sarah will be taking part in The Rickshaw Challenge to help raise money for Children in Need.

“I received a call from the Children in Need team who said that Sarah had been nominated by Hearing Dogs. I couldn’t believe it. Sarah said she would love to take part so after the phone call, Sarah attended a selection day and then shortly after we found out she had been accepted." Sapedeh, Sarah’s mum

A girl sitting on the sofa holding a dog

Now in its 10th year, Sarah and five others plan to take on the challenge by cycling the equivalent of Matt Baker’s first solo Rickshaw ride in 2011, from Edinburgh to London, at the Goodwood estate in West Sussex. The team will begin their challenge on Friday 6th November and will need to cover a variety of terrains in order to reach their target each day, in time for a live broadcast on the BBC's The One Show.

“Taking on something like the Rickshaw Challenge is something I would have never dreamed of doing before I met Waffle, but now I know that I can do this. I hope that my story helps to inspire other young people like me.” Sarah

The money raised for Children in Need will go to deserving charities like Hearing Dogs for the Deaf, and will help them to continue transforming the lives of deaf children just like Sarah, by providing ongoing support to ensure they are getting the most from the partnership. 

A girl standing outside a house holding a dog in her arms

Team Trusted first met Sarah and her family back in 2018 with the launch of TrustedHousesitters Pet Plaques — the first plaque scheme dedicated to celebrating inspirational pets. 

Waffle was just one of the inspirational pets awarded a pet plaque in 2018, in recognition of her life-changing bond with Sarah. Much more than just a family pet, Waffle's strong bond and unwavering friendship has given 16-year-old Sarah the confidence she needed, and has helped her connect with the world around her.

There are now over 20 pointy-eared, green plaques commemorating pets (both past and present) across the UK, each one proudly displayed on the pet’s most-loved place in the world — their home.

This year, due to Covid-19 restrictions supporters are asked to not attend in person, but to support Sarah and Team Rickshaw by watching along at home on The One Show, sending messages of support on social media, and, if you can, donating to Team Rickshaw and Children in Need by clicking here

From all of us at Team Trusted — we wish Sarah the very best of luck! 

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