The tragic events at the Ariana Grande concert in Manchester a few weeks ago and in London at the weekend have given Mark cause for much reflection. The tragic loss of life, the physical and mental injuries inflicted on those who survived, who lost loved ones or attended the aftermath will remain for years to come and all those affected and those who rushed to help them are in our thoughts.

Why we need hope not hate.

Those who have read our story know that in 2005 after the July 7th suicide bomb attacks, Mark and I worked as part of the recovery teams at Edgware Road and Aldgate tube stations. For over a week we worked in the tunnels and we both saw things no one should ever see and it had a profound effect on us both. We saw first-hand how fragile life is, and how a few people filled with hate and rage can in a single moment do so much damage and hurt so many people, we benefited from the kindness of strangers, we saw how heroic and selfless people are and how beautiful and strong the human spirit is when faced with unimaginable horror and it changed us for the better.

We did not want to be bitter, and I hope we are not although I am the first to admit I struggled with a lot of anger for quite a while, we try to approach each day with the belief that we can with our words and our deeds create a positive change the world. At the heart of Dogstar, a charity that was founded as a direct result of our personal experiences in July 2005 is the simple belief that no act of kindness is ever too small EVER, we are all connected, and every single act of compassion counts no matter who it’s directed towards.

If you have been affected by these recent events our advice is, please don’t try to manage on your own, don’t think it’s a sign of weakness to ask for help or support, there are people and organisations who can help and if you are not sure where to go for help please contact us and we can connect you. We both struggled on for far too long before admitting even to ourselves we needed some support, and I would hate for anyone else to make the same mistake. When we refuse to allow these thankfully rare acts to create division and hatred amongst us, we have hope, and when we have hope everything is possible

Sam and Mark