When I was eight years old I remember joining thousands of other people lining the streets of London, waving and cheering as streams of people ran past. At the time I didn't really understand the enormity of what those people were doing, running mile after mile, some fast, some slow, some walking but all in the aim of completing 26.2 miles. Amongst those people was my Dad.
Fast forward a few years and my Dad had to take every ounce of energy he had and a hell of a lot of drugs to pull himself out of his wheelchair and slowly holding tight on to me, walk a few steps down the aisle of a church on my wedding day. He had been diagnosed with multiple sclerosis (MS) the year before and had his world turned upside down. From being fit and healthy, in the Police to being forced to take early retirement and a complete change of life.
For years after I watched my Dad, I would watch the marathon on TV every year saying to myself 'one day', and since taking up running the itch has needed scratching so I decided the year I turned 40 to make my bucket list dream happen to take part in the most amazing marathon in the world.
As soon as I heard I'd been accepted to run for MS-UK I set the wheels in motion for my fundraising, looking at where I could start generating easy money with little effort whilst I planned a big fundraiser. Sponsorship started coming in as soon as I announced my challenge and as a Slimming World Consultant I have had amazing support from my members for my fundraising. I have a change pot in group and my members along with other groups in Chelmsford, Essex agreed for the next few months to have these for MS-UK. Everyone's odd 5ps, 10ps are really adding up to over £50 a month donated this way. Again members supported through donating their slimmed out of clothes which were swapped for cash and a Christmas raffle in my groups raised £284.
Michelle who runs Chelmer RoadRunners, a local running group which is where I first learned to run completing a couch to 5km course, sings in a local band and I approached her to sing at a charity night I was planning. Seen as she got me into the mess in the first place it seemed fitting to have her at the event! A local pub was the venue (free hire to maximise funds raised!) and with the fabulous entertainment, a raffle to be held. After hundreds of letters, emails and approaching local companies I managed to secure some great donated prizes and started selling raffle tickets to people who couldn't make the night, again to ensure I raised as much as possible. Promotion of the event went out on social media, posters up locally and great support from local papers - three have now printed my story to help further support!
The charity night went well, everyone had a fantastic time and most importantly a brilliant £1,186.06 was raised to bring my total fundraising over my initial aim of £2,500 - but I'm not stopping there - a sweepstake planned, further change pots and sponsorship will hopefully bring the total to £3,000, or more! Every penny will help MS-UK give amazing support to people like my Dad.
So now, the countdown is on till the big day itself where I shall be so proud to be running the same streets that my Dad did in 1986 (but not accepting his challenge of beating his time of 3 hours 35 minutes!)
This year MS-UK is commemorating 25 years of supporting people affected by multiple sclerosis, and I have a fun, easy way for you to show your support and get involved!
Just add our Twibbon to your Facebook or Twitter profile picture and help us celebrate our 25th anniversary!
There are lots of other ways to support us as well, just visit our website to find out more.
Jill Purcell, Fundraising Manager
In this Fundraiser of the Month blog, Kimberley tells us all about becoming one of the first 500 people to enter the London Classics Hall of Fame...all in aid of MS-UK!
I’m a bit of a have a go girl…I’ve done marathons, swam up to 10km in a river, triathlons up to iron distance and I do love a challenge, particularly if you end up with some serious bling to keep! In among that, I am the sister/daughter of two amazing family members who lived their lives with multiple sclerosis (MS) and while they are no longer here I am still inspired by them to keep on ‘having a go’ and also raise awareness for MS-UK who offer amazing support.
Having completed the Virgin Money London Marathon in 2005 and 2006 and RideLondon in 2015 I was really excited to see the launch of the London Classics at the Swim Serpentine Event last year.
You could earn a fourth bit of bling – serious bling too – for swimming in the 2 mile wave of the Swim Serpentine event. So I entered! I was one of the first 500 to complete this spectacular trio and earn two medals in one day! We were also able to earn a place in the ‘Hall of Fame’, which will grow every year now.
So, if you have done one of the events, or two, then try to complete the third as a personal challenge and earn the most amazing bit of bling and bragging rights too!
It also adds a unique twist to your fundraising strategy as not many will achieve this goal very quickly. So just go for it and bring on the bling! Yours in sporting bling Kimberley!
In this guest blog, we celebrate our first Fundraiser of the Month of 2018! Find out more about how Chris Leslie took on a new year's dip in aid of MS-UK...bbbbrrr!
‘Happy New Year’ was still circulating around the web, mobile phones were recovering from meltdown. Some people were recovering from the night before.
No such luxury for me, I had been offered the opportunity to have a new year’s day ‘dip’. It was the good people at Bognor Regis swimming club who offered me space.
I thought this was bit special, so I accepted on the basis that I could raise funds for a charity of my choice, so having done many daft things in the past for Justablefriends and other charities, I decided that this was to be a charity that was really close to me, I chose MS-UK.
A simple choice really for me as I’ve seen what multiple sclerosis (MS) does to people, and the effect it has on people and families. I can’t claim that I can help to find a cure for MS that will help those close to me, but I can raise a few pounds to help towards the support work that MS-UK get involved with.
So, I set up the link to donate to my Page for the charity. I then got on social media, and it turns out that there were a lot of people either affected by MS, or, who knew someone that was. Alternatively a lot of nasty people that just wanted to see me get cold!
When I realised that this was the case, (that there were a lot of people affected by MS) I contacted MS-UK to let them know what I was doing. They provided the shirt for me that I just about managed to squeeze into (too much turkey I think over Christmas).
At the time of publishing this, running total for funds raised is £195 plus gift aid, with some more pledges to come. So my big thank you goes to all those that sponsored me, thanks to the swimming club for making it happen (unofficially) and also to MS-UK for the chance to tell people about the work they do.
And just before it gets too late, ‘happy new year to you all’ and if you talk about doing something like this, follow it through, because the feeling is great (the cold isn’t).
In this guest blog, we celebrate our Fundraisers of the Month for December. Martin, James and Stirling all took on the Santa Run on 03 December to raise vital funds for MS-UK, so we can continue our work supporting people affected by multiple sclerosis. Here is their Christmas tale of running...
First off my name is Martin Hughes.
I first decided to throw myself into fundraising for multiple sclerosis after my partner Dominique was diagnosed earlier on in the year after having our first baby. This is something that had been hanging over us for about three years but up until then she didn’t have enough symptoms to be diagnosed. Even so with us always knowing there would be a chance it was still a massive shock for all of us.
I didn’t know how to help her or how to get my head around it, so I decided to put my energy into helping other people with MS. This way I felt like I was making a difference. I hope to raise money to help the people already affected but I’d also like to raise money to help find a cure also. That would be my ultimate goal, to help find a cure for Dominique.
I first decided to do the Santa Run as a starting point for me to see how I got on with raising money and to see how well I would do. It also seemed fitting to have a bit of fun also, I think everyone needed that. Mine and Dominique’s friend James Paskins heard about my plans and jumped at the chance to join in and help with the fundraising and to also run with me. Following that our friend Stirling Woodside also wanted to help raise some money to do the Santa Run because of the ties he also has to MS. His girlfriend’s Mum also has the condition. So for our own personal reasons we put all of our efforts into doing the cause proud by fundraising and spreading awareness.
James and I decided to put on a family and friends fundraising event at Dominique’s parents’. This also being a starting point for more ideas in the future but it was a huge success and we were extremely chuffed.
We cooked big pots of stew, casserole and chilli the night before. Dominique and myself organised the pub quiz and a raffle, which went down so well. All we asked for was a donation of their choice to participate in the evening. It was good fun and everybody enjoyed themselves. We are still now being asked when the next one is going to be. Just in that one night alone we raised £385 with roughly 18 people.
We are hoping to do more of these with friends and family who couldn’t attend this one, and then to hopefully branch out with more public fundraisers.
On the build up to the Santa Run, I had good intentions of preparing for the run. I’m usually athletic in playing football every week but I had been injured so hadn’t played for a little while. I’d torn my hamstring, but this wasn’t going to stop me participating in what I’d planned to do for so long. So I got there on the day with no training and hardly any fitness behind me. It was hard, but not only did I do it but I finished it in under an hour and that was what I was always aiming for. Would I do it again? Yes! It was good fun and I’m hoping to get a few more people involved in doing it next year.
In total we have all raised just over £1,500 and we are still going. Never did we expect the support we’ve been given but we do appreciate it so much. If you would like to donate to MS-UK our links are underneath, it really is a great cause and helps the lives of so many that are affected by multiple sclerosis.
We thank everybody that has donated and that has helped us with the first of many fundraisers we hope to do in the future.
Martin, James and Stirling
This November, Glenn shares his fundraising story with us. Glenn is taking on three marathons in aid of MS-UK. Fundraising means a lot to Glenn, who is running for his mum Kelly, who lives with multiple sclerosis (MS). Here is his story...
Hello my name is Glenn Morrison and I am a welding apprentice from Aberdeenshire in Scotland, and I hope to raise £3,000 by running the Inverness, Dublin and London marathons for MS-UK .
My mum Kelly suffers from severe MS and was diagnosed almost 20 years ago. Sadly the decision was made that our mums level of care and risk was too high and she was to move into full time care. This was very hard for our family as mum felt we would never see her again.
That is why this fundraiser means so much. We wanted to show mum that we would still do anything for her.
We started organising fundraisers big and small aiming for people to get something back in return for sponsoring me. I started telling people why we were raising money and the response was unbelievable. People weren’t only donating money but raffle prizes, their time, support and advice on training and fundraising.
Some great advice to anyone fundraising would be, use the strengths of others! You don’t have to do everything yourself.
My sister loves to bake and we held a ‘homemade coffee and donuts day’. It went down better than expected and we raised £130. One of my mums best friends is great with arts and crafts and made a beautiful hamper with matching glitter Prosecco and glasses. We sold lucky squares for £3 each and the winner won the hamper, this raised £350. One of my friends decided they would do their own little fundraisers in their shop. She sold word searches for £1 each with prizes to be won. Her granny made home bakes and they sold them at the shop and put out buckets at the counters for small change. Small fundraisers soon mount up and she has raised over £300.
My work mates soon got in on the action and organised a bingo night at the local fish and chip shop would you believe! Everyone who attended received a fish supper before the bingo started and we held a raffle and bottle stall. The night was a huge success and raised £1,000.
The day after, our local football club let us hold the raffle for their quiz night and we raised another £300.
On Saturday 04 November I’m holding my next fundraiser, a dinner dance in aid of MS-UK. The organising is done and it is set to be another great night.
Since I started this challenge and have completed 2 out of the 3 marathons with only London to go. We have now passed our £3,000 target and we’re on track to raise a further £1,000 before the end of November. And we have made plans for our mum to travel down to London next year to see me finish the next marathon.
Although I am delighted to be fundraiser of the month I have to give credit to everyone that has put in so much of their time and effort for this cause. If it wasn’t for the support and encouragement of all my friends and family, our fundraising efforts would not be this successful.
Find out more about fundraising at MS-UK. Just call us on 01206 226500 or visit our website to complete our contact form.
Our fundraiser of the month for October is Sarah, who has supported MS-UK for years now and continues to do so! Read her story her, plus her top tips!
I’m Sarah from Derbyshire and I ran the Royal Parks Half Marathon in London for MS-UK.
I am a life-long ‘jogger’, although I have had a number of “career” breaks, I started running seriously again about 5 years ago which enabled me to slowly learn to love British weather, extra food and the views of the countryside (OK – so one of those was a lie!!) I have run a number of 10K, half-marathons, marathons (including London on an MS-UK charity entry) and Ironman 70.3s. I find the half-marathon distance is my preferred since they tend to be just long enough to enjoy a pub lunch afterwards. However, my racing ambitions seem mostly based on a principle (much like cake) of biting off more than I can chew.
With running – fun and enjoyment has always been my priority, I always felt that there was no such thing as a bad race just good stories. I loved the social nature of the running community and on some occasions even managed to perfect the skill of smiling for race photographers.
I like to follow a training plan which I think suits my lifestyle, however, my nearest and dearest will tell you that it actually takes over my entire life and I’ve continued through injuries on many occasions. Although, I guess I should be grateful for: being introduced to the joys of energy gels, an endurance runners best friend (once the stomach is trained!) that we are given 10 toe-nails for a reason… so that we can afford to lose a few and to appreciate that I now spend more money on a pair of trainers than a pair of high heels.
So why did I choose to run for MS-UK? Someone very close to me was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis (MS) which as you would imagine came as a huge shock to both them and our family, and although I’ve known of other people affected by the condition I now understand, in part, how this can impact someone’s life and those around them first hand and considering there is currently no cure my decision to run for MS-UK since 2013 was a “no-brainer” to ensure I could do my bit to raise as many funds as possible. I hope that my fundraising efforts not only raise money to provide dedicated support and information to anyone affected by MS but to also increase awareness of this life-changing condition.
Throughout my running experiences I have been truly overwhelmed by human kindness and generosity from friends, family, work colleagues, schools, gym clubs and strangers!! Which brings me to a great tip – when going out on your long runs wear your charity vest – on one occasion I saw a lady in her garden and asked if she would mind refilling my water bottle, when returning with my refill she gave me a donation of £5 and insisted that every time she saw me run past from thereon in another £5 donation would follow.
In closing – “eventually” I hear you cry! You need a good reason to get out of a warm bed and pound the streets for hours and I found that without doubt, a powerful motivating factor is the knowledge that I’m doing it for such a great cause and on race day it is with great pride I race as an ambassador for all those affected by MS.
My training tips…
My fundraising tips…
Our fundraiser of the month for September is Tijmen Wigchert! Tijmen recently accepted one of our places for the Virgin Money London Marathon and introduced us to his company CBW, who have now chosen us as their charity of the year! Here’s Tijmen’s story...
This means that CBW will support and take part in charitable activities for MS-UK until August 2019 and I’m very pleased and proud to be organising events for this over the next two years.
My mum was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis (MS) quite a few years ago. At the beginning I had no clue what MS actually was but the MS organisations helped me to get to know more and more about the disease. I have to say that I am still learning more about it every day.
My mother set up the intensive care department in a hospital in The Netherlands all by herself, so it was weird to see how she needed help after she has been helping others day in and out. She luckily still works there, but it depends how much she can work on how she feels. MS has shown me to appreciate every single moment because it can be a true rollercoaster.
This is also the reason why I am fundraising for MS-UK. I wanted to do it obviously for my mum, but also for all the other people with MS. Especially since it is so different in everybody who has the disease. Alongside this I am raising money for MS-UK as it will also be a great opportunity to create more awareness.
I can’t wait to run the Virgin Money London Marathon, this will be my first marathon and it will be such a challenge. Over the next couple of months and years I will be updating more information about CBW’s Charity of the year on CBW’s Facebook page and on my own page: marathon.tijmenwigchert.com. Here I will be discussing my way to the marathon, and how I am raising money and awareness for MS and MS-UK.
So far, we already have a great fundraising plan and something I have learned along the way is: Don’t be afraid to ask, you will be amazed how people would like to help!
You can find out more about MS-UK’s Virgin Money London Marathon places by clicking through to our page. If you have an employer interested in partnering with MS-UK please contact Jill on Jill@ms-uk.org or read more here.
Our fundraiser of the month for August is Mel Foyle. She got in touch with us in April to tell us about a fundraising day that she was planning with raffles, games for the kids and food and drink. The event took place on the 01 July and was a great success!
My name is Mel Foyle and I have recently done a fundraising event for MS-UK.
A little bit about myself, I am 27 and I have a little girl called Millie who is 3 :)
I was diagnosed with relapsing-remitting MS in 2015, but symptoms first started in 2011. At the start of the year, I made a resolution that I would raise some money and awareness for MS-UK. I wanted to do this because I've seen my friends' mum and her friend raise so much money for them and I wanted to do my bit as well. I also know how much this charity does and I wanted to do a UK based one, I never know when I will need their help.
I wanted to do my own fundraiser and I chose a family fun day! It took me a few months of organising, with help of family and friends of course - especially my 2 best friends and my mum.
The day started at 4.30pm at Thatcham Football Club. We charged people to get in and inside had stalls for cakes and sweets, a bar, a tombola and some games. We also had a DJ, and decorated the hall with balloons in purple, green, orange and white.
Outside we had a bouncy castle, an ice cream van, some more games and a big penalty shootout. I also held a raffle later on, with nearly 60 prizes ranging from evenings in London to meals out, family days, haircuts and beauty products. These sold very well! The plan was to also have a burger van, but after it was half an hour late we soon realised it wasn't going to turn up! I had to try and stay calm, and luckily my best friend and brother in law took it on themselves and went and got loads of food and a BBQ, so none of the worry was on me. My dad and father in law cooked away and managed to have it all under control, I'm lucky to have them all!
Overall we had around 100 plus people there and the weather was hot and sunny. It had been rubbish weather all week so I was happy when the sun decided to come out! Other than the burger van fiasco, the day went so smoothly! I feel really proud of myself that I managed to pull off such a good event and I will be doing it again for sure, just not for a while haha. But I will continue to try and raise money and awareness wherever I possibly can.
My final total, from the event and my JustGiving page, was a massive £1,790, which was way more than I ever expected! I couldn't have done it without my wonderful partner Chris, he has supported me through absolutely everything. Big thanks to Nick at MS-UK for all his support, help and advice from start to finish!
This month our fundraiser of the month is Joshua Joseph. Joshua ran the British 10k for us on 09 July and has been fundraising for the last month in support of MS-UK! Here is his story...
My name is Joshua Joseph, I’m 25 years old and I fundraised for MS-UK in the Virgin Sport British 10K run.
I chose MS-UK because very recently my best friend was diagnosed with MS. It’s in its infant stages, however I felt so lost and scared that the only thing I could do was try to raise some money and support the cause the only way I knew how. I did the British 10K in the past and thought this would be a good place to get fit and do something that showed support for my best friend.
In all honesty, I chose MS-UK because when I was looking online I really liked what I saw, plus I really liked the logo! I remember the day I found out about my best friend, this run literally came into my head and I thought it had to be done, that was my only drive to do this event.
I tend to keep quite fit, however cardio is my kryptonite, I think it always will be. I found myself out on some of the hottest days of the year, doing an odd 3K, 4K here and there. I remember one day I did an 8K and my knee was killing me, which made me realise that I needed to wear a strap when running. I wanted to have little sachets of peanut butter, but because of sheer laziness, that didn’t work out lol. I thoroughly enjoyed my training, I think that’s one thing you need to do. It’s a very serious thing and doing it really helps to get your mind in the right place. Training really allowed me to understand exactly how much my body could take.
I managed to raise (at the time of writing this) £1,206, my target was £1,000. I originally thought of aiming for £500 as I thought that might have been a push, however my friend said, ‘Go for a grand, you can do it…’ – So I did. I made the page on JustGiving.com and put the link on my Instagram and Facebook. I think because a lot of my friends have a large social following, the message spread quite quickly, that and the fact my first donation was £200, which came from a very close friend of mine, so that gave me a good bumper to start my fundraising.
In terms of fundraising, I would say don’t be shy when it comes to telling people that you’re raising money for something, especially when it’s such a great cause. I will continue to raise and I will continue to push myself to do different things.
This has been an amazing journey.
I honestly don’t think it’s set in for me that my best friend has MS yet. He was there when I was born, he named me, I honestly can’t think of a time we didn’t speak. So if by raising money, or simply answering a text or call when he’s annoyed is all I can do, I’m going to try my best to take care of him.