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For those of you who didn't 'Meet the Experts', Jenny our Events Fundraiser fills you in

Posted on: February 14 2020

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If you didn’t attend the Virgin Money London Marathon ‘Meet the Experts’ event, our Events Fundraiser Jenny Poulter reveals you what you missed

On Saturday, Lucy and I went down to the Meet the Experts event organised by the Virgin Money London Marathon events team.

The day was broken into two-time slots with sessions in the morning and afternoon covering training, nutrition, fundraising and more. There was then a chance to visit the charities that had attended, have a sports massage, have your gait measured by New Balance and buy some new running gear! To see more on what was covered, visit www.virginmoneylondonmarathon.com/en-gb/event-info/meet-experts/.

It was also a great way to meet some of our #TeamPurple runners and catch up with you about your preparations for the big day.

Some of the points Lucy and I took from the talks were

Sustainability

The Virgin Money London Marathon is working really hard to become as sustainable as possible, and here are a few ways in which they are doing this.

  • Running numbers will now be printed on collection at the Virgin Money London Marathon Running Show, rather than being pre-printed
  • You will collect your post-race food at the Virgin Money London Marathon Running Show, rather than at the finish line of the race
  • Bottles on the course are 100% recyclable
  • There will be two stations of seaweed pods – Lucy and I tried one at the event and would recommend if you get the chance before the day to do the same to practice

Fundraising

  • Aim high, set your target higher and you will find it easier to reach your minimum sponsorship amount
  • It’s not just about reaching the minimum fundraising target, it's about challenging yourself to do amazing things
  • Be inspired by others around you and be proud of what you are doing
  • Get to know your charity so that you can confidently talk to people about the cause you are supporting

 

We’re hoping to get hold of the slides that were shown on the day to share with you all too. If you haven’t yet seen this video do take a look www.youtube.com/watch?v=VGBANm2xlhs – you will be part of this amazing event sharing its amazing milestone! It really will be one of the greatest days of your life!

Don’t forget we are on the end of the phone, so if you need any support from us just call us on 01206 226500.

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“Something wasn’t right, but I kept putting it down to a bad day at work”

Posted on: February 12 2020

3_4.jpgDr James Carvell experienced a variety of symptoms that he put down to a lack of sleep or not eating well before meeting a neurologist and finally realising he has MS. 

MS-UK is based in Colchester where I grew up. It’s where I spent my school years playing sport, making lifelong friends and where I met my wife! We now live in London, where I am a doctor and we’ve recently welcomed our first baby – another life changing event!

Speaking of life changing days, my MS diagnosis came on 29 July 2016. Three years later I’m pleased to say I feel a lot more in control, but I vividly remember those early days.

Before my diagnosis, work, activity and day to day life were becoming more difficult. I was experiencing a real mix of symptoms that seemed unconnected. I had blurred vision (I thought this was because I refused to wear glasses), travel sickness (my driving?), I’d trip up whilst out running (lack of sleep following a night shift?), a heavy, painful leg (was it too much running?) and urinary problems (not sure about this one!).

Something wasn’t right, but I kept putting it down to a bad day at work or the fact I hadn’t slept well or hadn’t eaten well. I excused every symptom, yet at the same time, I couldn’t ignore them.

My diagnosis

Over those two years, I had my eyes checked by an optician, my leg checked by a physio, my heart checked by a cardiologist (my symptoms seemed to come on with exercise). I never put everything together until I met with a neurologist. After reeling off all my symptoms, everything clicked and I just knew, even before the MRI showing lesions and a lumbar puncture, which after talking with my neurologist again confirmed relapsing remitting MS.

I now have an infusion every month and yes, life has changed. But I have met some great people and sometimes its rubbish but a lot of the time it’s great and I am loving the journey! Over time it has made me realise the things that are important to me in life – my family, friends and my health.

Lifestyle changes

I have reduced external stressors by going less than full time at work, my wife Lianne has been so supportive in enabling me to do this. Sport always has and always will be hugely important to me. I keep up my cycling, swimming and gym time. Running is my biggest nemesis but I won’t give up on it! I think it is so important to talk to 

someone about how you are doing, whether friends, family, team mates, medical professionals, anyone!

Being diagnosed with MS makes you look back and think what did I do wrong? Was it that night I had too many drinks or that I hit my head playing rugby? I may never know. At some point, I stopped looking back and started looking at how I could help those in a similar situation to see that there are positives to be taken from MS, although it may not seem it at the time.

Making a difference

I wanted to do something to help people like me; those just diagnosed, scared of the future and worried whether they can carry on life as they knew it. I wanted to tell people that they can carry on. It makes you realise what is important to you and to focus on this.

So a year ago Lianne and I set up “Monkey Sox”. Monkey Sox is all about a monkey (with ginger hair, like me!) who lives with MS and wears Odd Sox! We design the socks to be odd to mirror how the body acts and feels different left to right for those living with MS. I experience most of my symptoms on my right side; right leg, right eye, right foot.

We started with a small number of socks, selling them to fundraise for the RideLondon 100 miles cycling event that coincided with my 2nd year of diagnosis. Now we’re selling Monkey Sox at markets, on our website and a few stores local to us in London. Monkey Sox is not-for-profit and we donate 50% net profits equally to 3 MS charities of which MS-UK is one, alongside the MS Society UK and MS Trust.

The future

We have exciting plans for Monkey Sox to grow and donate more and more each year to our charities! Through our Sports Sox we want to encourage an active lifestyle to improve the health of those with MS or not. You may have spotted some Monkey Sox on the streets at this year’s Colchester half marathon, London Asics 10K and Prudential RideLondon cycle. We have met many fantastic MS-UK supporters this year, many of whom are wearing Monkey Sox to train, race and relax in - thank you all!

Watch this space as we’re making a #TeamPurple sock just for MS-UK too and they will be revealed soon! 8.jpg

MS is a life-changing diagnosis, there is no denying that. But Monkey Sox has really helped me talk about MS positively, feel supported and in control. I hope that other people feel the same when they find out about Monkey Sox. Whether you are newly diagnosed, have been living with MS for years, or are the partner or friend of someone living with MS. I know that Monkey Sox makes talking about MS easier!

Lianne and I would love to meet more Monkey Sox friends, so feel free to get in touch. Find us on social media @monkeysox or visit our website www.monkeysox.org to order your socks.

I end with a huge thank you to the team and community at MS-UK. You are all fantastic, and you’ve made a big difference to me and Lianne in more ways than you know, and we know you will for years to come.

Guest Blog - 'Through my running and raising money for MS-UK I feel that I can make a difference'

Posted on: February 12 2020

A Rosenberg.pngVirgin Money London Marathon runner Alison Rosenberg shares her journey

I started running later in life, my challenge just prior to my 40th birthday was to be able to run a 5km park run without stopping! I completed a ‘walk to run’ course with Chase Life UK then proceeded to regularly take part in park runs, 10KM races and eventually a half marathon.

Early on in 2019 a very close friend was hospitalised with what was a severe acute episode, an Multiple Sclerosis (MS) diagnosis followed. My friend received this diagnosis and to be honest, none of my friends fully understood what MS meant or how it affects the individual, family and friends.

So, after three years of running I had thought about maybe taking part in a marathon but had never really had the time or motivation to commit myself to the training. I attended the Virgin Money London Marathon in 2019 as a spectator and on that day, I decided that it was my time to apply! My friend has had to deal with so much and I wanted to show my love and support by raising money for MS-UK. I mean, what better motivation is there, than to run for one of my greatest friends in the iconic London Marathon!

As soon as I was offered a place to run London, I started my fundraising. Initially my head was just full of ideas! I could barely sleep with the mix of excitement and nerves all at the same time! I found it useful to sit and write all my ideas down and to talk to friends about which ideas were the most practical and realistic.

Firstly, I set up my Just Giving page followed by my London Marathon Facebook page. Facebook has been a valuable tool for me to advertise my fundraising events and update my followers with my achievements.

Fundraising has been a challenge, but enjoyable and rewarding at the same time! Here are some of the main ideas that have helped me reach my initial target

  • Diary dates (raffle)

I sold every date of the year for £2 each, with a great 1st, 2nd and 3rd cash prize!

  • Body Shop and goodies hamper

My friend has an online Body Shop products page, she supported me with making a marvellous hamper. It had around £75 worth of products and goodies, including Pizza vouchers kindly donated by Domino’s. I attended a couple of Autumn Fayres with the hamper followed by a Body Shop party hosted by a friendA Rosenberg 4_0.png

  • Cake break

I arranged three separate cake breaks at work. I was very busy making cakes, but my work, family and friends all supported me and baked cakes too! These cakes breaks to my colleagues raised £250

  • Dog hamper raffle

I emailed and telephoned many companies to do with dogs and dog walking! I was totally blown away with the generosity of both small and large companies who donated over £500 worth of products to me. I have two Labradors myself, which only added to the excitement of the wonderful prizes on offer and I was able to share this with all my fellow dog walking friends!

  • “Guess how many sweets are in the bouquet"

A local sweet shop kindly donated a sweet bouquet worth £22. The owner of the shop counted the sweets and wrote the answer in a card for me so that nobody else knew the answer!

 

I have emailed and telephoned several companies over the last few months, asking if they would consider donating to my London Marathon fundraiser for MS-UK. Many companies have emailed back to explain that they are unable to support me due to other charitable works, however others have supported me with wonderful donations. I have been so grateful for each one of my donations, however big or small, each one has helped me push forward with my target.

At just £106 away from my £2,000 target I received a message from a local accounting company to inform me that they would like to donate the remaining money to get me to my target. I was overwhelmed and very happy to meet with one of the Directors to collect the cheque.

Since reaching target I have continued with my fundraising ideas and have received further items from larger brand companies. I am busy planning my final event which will take place in March, a craft and products sale at our local social club. I have organised for people to come and buy a table to be able to sell their products, while I will be running a Tombola and “Name the teddy” stall.

A Rosenberg 2.pngI am the type of person that likes to feel that I can be of some help, to try to make a difference. Through my running and raising money for MS-UK I feel that I can make a difference for my friend - along with many more individuals and families.

To date, I am at the 15-mile mark with my training, this is a huge personal achievement, but I know I still have a long way to go! My running friends have all signed up to the Virgin Money London Marathon as well. All 10 of us are training together and raising money for charity. My friend Rachel is running alongside me for MS-UK and is keeping very busy with her own fundraisers! We are all excited and nervous for race day, but between us we know we will make it and in the process, raise as much money for charity as possible!

If you would like to support Alison and follow her on her journey to the Virgin Money London Marathon, you can donate to her Justgiving page below

www.justgiving.com/fundraising/alison-rosenberg

Ain’t no mountain high enough

Posted on: February 10 2020

Mark Seabright.jpgMark Seabright’s challenge is to scale England’s highest mountain.

This whole thing started with a throw away comment from a colleague stating that they would like to walk the highest mountain in England, Scafell Pike, and before we knew it, we were pulling a team together and agreed that we should do the walk in aid of multiple sclerosis, as a few of us have friends who are diagnosed with the condition.

It didn’t take long for a date to be agreed and the digs booked. Then came the realisation that a few of us may need to get in some practice before the big day. The idea is to do one walk a month on varying terrain and varying lengths. This should allow each of the team to judge if they need to put in any extra training.

First attempt

The first practice walk took place on the morning of the 25 January when we decided to walk up a local landmark – The Wrekin in Shropshire. Not all ten of the team could make it due to other commitments. I have realised that I am certainly not in the great condition that I thought I was, and this walk came as quiet a surprise, with its incline beginning straight out of the car park and continuing all the way to the top. We completed the walk in 1hr 12mins, with a distance of 3.23 miles and an elevation of 778ft.

The next walk is planned for the 29 February. We have decided to do a longer distance, with less of an elevation over the hills near Church Stretton and we are hopeful that the more of the team can attend this one. We are out walking around the block in our lunch breaks and doing our own little bits of exercise when possible.

Our aim is to raise £500 for MS-UK, which we believe is a very deserving charity. MS-UK have been amazing, supplying branded t-shirts, a banner, and neck tubes along with kind encouragement and support.  

Want to support Mark and his friends? Head over to his JustGiving page http://www.justgiving.com/Julia-Preston3

If you would like to take on a challenge like Mark and his friends, please contact Lucy today on 01206 226500 or Lucy@ms-uk.org