With both of us having parents who are sufferers of multiple sclerosis (MS), we both believed it would be important to try and raise money to help them as best we can. At first, we looked at participating in a triathlon, but on second thought believed we should do something more extravagant, and so turned to the idea of a skydive. We knew this would put us both outside our comfort zones and looked forward to the challenge. We collected donations for around three months prior to the jump, both setting a target of £500, with an overall goal of £1,000.
As you can imagine, at first both of us made a lot of money but after a while the donations began to dry up. Therefore, we took to advertising our JustGiving page on social media, sending it to friends and family. We also asked around our schools for donations, which contributed significantly. Our jump took place on 03 November at Hinton Skydiving Centre in Brackley.
Family and friends came along to support which was a big confidence boost due to a high level of nerves. We had our briefing, met our tandem jumpers, and set off on the fifteen-minute journey up to 13,000 ft. The journey up was the worst part because it came into perspective just how high we were jumping from. On the way up, we took in the view of Silverstone racetrack and had one final briefing before the long fall back to ground. Alex jumped first, and Dan went second.
Both of us thoroughly enjoyed the experience and both genuinely believed it was the best of our lives. The feeling of falling is very hard to explain, but it's an amazing sensation like no other that fills you with high levels of adrenaline and excitement. We would thoroughly recommend a skydive to anyone thinking about doing one, the experience is so unique, and you will not regret it.
Overall, we are delighted to say to that both met out targets and ended with a total of £1,497. Once again, we would like to thank MS-UK for their unconditional support and we hope our money goes to a good cause.
Dan Wood and Alex Greene
‘Our sister and cousin, Nicola, 48 year old mother of three, was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis (MS) in 2017.
‘Obviously such a diagnosis came as a shock to us all. From the beginning the support she has received from MS-UK has been tremendous. It gave her a forum to discuss her fears and engage with people who also have MS. In turn, it continues to give her strength and courage and is empowering her to live her life to the fullest.
‘Through Nicola we heard about the MS-UK sponsored places at the Royal Parks Half Marathon and as runners, it was an obvious way for us to give back, do an activity that we love, make a difference...all in all, a win-win situation.
‘Out the outset, as busy people, we wanted to keep our fundraising efforts simple to achieve our target of £800.
‘We canvassed family for their suggestions on how best to raise the money and the consensus was very much in favour of fundraising activities rather than just donations. This enabled us to bring our family and friends together and the desire to have some fun along the way!
‘We agreed our two events would be a garden tea party and a quiz to make the most of the lovely summer we had this year. Both activities exceeded our expectations – you can see we raised an amazing amount on our fundraising page!
‘The key challenge for us was to ensure that our guests at both events went away feeling they had an enjoyable experience and the £10 fee was good value. Feedback from both events exceeded our expectations, with suggestions we should set up our own afternoon tea business and turn the quiz into an annual event.
‘We smashed our target and raised approximately £1,200, which enabled us to spend the latter two months focusing on training for the race.
‘Both of us came away from this experience feeling a sense of pride in achieving some personal physical targets (we both set a new personal best) and in our own small way we have made a difference.
‘So what’s next? We are delighted to be volunteer stewards for the upcoming Colchester Half Marathon and looking to engage as many family members. Maybe we will see you there!
Karen and Maxine
Sue Bowles recently completed the West Highland Way in aid of MS-UK - a gargantuan 95-mile Scottish trek from Milingavie to Fort William! Sue tells us all about the challenge in her Fundraiser of the Month blog!
I decided to do this walk for MS-UK due to the inspiring way an ex pupil of mine has dealt with her diagnosis of multiple sclerosis (MS).
Kadeena Cox was a pupil of Wetherby High School and I had the privilege to teach her PE and coach her hockey. Kadeena was a very talented PE student and went on to be captain of the school hockey team. However her main talent was her speed and she became very involved in the Leeds Athletic Club where she would go most nights to train.
Kadeena's dedication to her training paid off and she earned herself a place in the elite Olympic camp. It was then, while training, that Kadeena was diagnosed with MS.
However she decided that she would not let it get it in the way of her ambition to become an Olympic competitor and she continued with her training, earning herself a place in the GB Paralympic team in 2016 in Rio, Brazil. Not only did she compete in cycling and sprinting events but she brought home gold, silver and bronze medals. She followed this up with many more achievements in the World Championships in 2015 and 2017. Kadeena is now focused on the 2020 Paralympics, and I am sure she will be as successful as ever.
She is a great role model showing that whatever obstacles come into your life you can adapt and still achieve many of your goals. Her attitude to MS mirrors the ethos of MS-UK whereby you can cope with challenges and still live your life to the full. That is why I chose to fundraise for MS-UK and to raise awareness of MS and the support that is available.
After completing the West Highland Way, which is set in stunning countryside, I decided it should be named the West Highland Challenge! I loved the whole experienc - all the blisters, rain, wind, and glorious rainbows! Whenever I was finding it tough I kept thinking about why I was doing it and I knew it was just for the moment. If I could just help a little bit for people who have to cope with an added challenge everyday then it was nothing.
I hope in some way my story might help to inspire someone else to promote awareness of MS and support MS-UK with all the work that they do.
My name is Charlie Stebbings and, along with a 14 strong team, I cycled from London to Paris between 04 - 06 May.
Myself, Mortimer McKechnie, Paris Baker, Millie Bampfylde, Tom Sater, Alicia Hanmer, Rob Gibson, Occy Cobb, Paddy Rogers, Lucy Munday, Robin Butler and Tom Everard decided to commit to this challenge in aid of three fantastic causes - MS-UK, Cancer Research, and SUDEP Action. Along with our amazing and indispensable support drivers Jack Smail and Helen Callaghan, not to forget our two broken bone casualties Katie Barton and Minty Naylor, we made a formidable fundraising team intent on giving as much support as we could to these fantastic causes.
MS-UK has been a fantastic support to our family over the last eight years since my mother was diagnosed. The work they do for suffers and their families is integral to all those affected by multiple sclerosis (MS) and therefore it is always a privilege to fundraise for them. Having said that, the pain you experience near the top of the mountain on day two at mile 95 was accompanied by a ‘what are we doing’ moment, but that is part of the fun! We organized this challenge to test ourselves and push us so that everyone felt that sense of achievement and success.
The 300 mile trip over three days was a brilliant way to do just that, and apart from Tom Sater Cycling into the back of Lucy Munday as he was being sprayed by a very friendly Frenchman watering his plants, and my exploding tire in Paris, we made it without a hitch. The 30 degree weather was both a blessing and a hinderance, but there is no doubt it kept moral high and helped those of us often void of a tan suitably rosy.
The fundraising experience is one that we can all approach in different ways, but we liked to get people engaged with the trip and run fundraisers instead of solely distributing letters or emails etc. I think there is nothing more enjoyable and motivating than hosting an event which shows you how much support you have for the charities and how many people genuinely care for your cause. I recommend it to anyone who haven’t involved people tangibly in their fundraising to try it. It adds that extra dimension and can remind you why you are doing this often crazy challenge!
Gift aid included, we raised £20,600 and am delighted to be able to give MS-UK some of that money. I must thank my team for supporting this charity with such enthusiasm. It means a huge amount to me, my family, and hopefully everyone in this community.
On to the next one!
Hello we’re Lily (eight-years-old) and Amelia (six-years-old) Smith. We recently completed the Westminster Mile to raise money for MS-UK because our mummy has multiple sclerosis (MS) and we wanted to help those affected by it. Mummy and daddy have previously raised money for MS-UK by completing the Virgin Money London Marathon and we wanted to do the same but we're a bit too young to do a marathon. So when daddy told us about the Vitality Westminster Mile we wanted to do it, both to help raise money and get a big medal at the end!
On the day it was very hot and sunny, and this made running very difficult. We had to drink lots of water to stay hydrated. The course itself was very flat but difficult for our little legs, but we kept going to the end, even sprinting the finish! The best bit about the day was getting the medals at the end. We wore them for the rest of the day, even when we went to Covent Garden with our daddy. We got to race with Mo Farah, and Amelia was luckily enough to get a picture with him! Amelia finished the Vitality Westminster Mile in 11 minutes and 51 seconds, and Lily in 13 minutes and 21 seconds.
We raised approximately £350, exceeding our target of £100, and fingers crossed there will be some more to come. If you would like to donate to us then you can visit our fundraising page.
I hope you enjoyed our post. Keep an eye out for us in the future, we hope to make the Olympics one day!
Lily and Amelia Smith.
Since 2013, Chris has managed to complete 100 marathons in aid of MS-UK, racking up over 2,500 miles! What is the secret to Chris' success? We spoke to him to find out...
I ran the Virgin Money London marathon in 2013 and 2014, the London to Brighton 100km (63 miles) challenge, the 15 marathons challenge in 2015, and the 30 marathons challenge in 2017. My 100th marathon, at Betteshanger Country Park, was also in celebration of MS-UK!
When my wife Jennie was diagnosed with MS in 2011 we turned to MS-UK for help. They were brilliant. They gave Jennie access to the help and support she needed at the time and ever since. I decided to do something to support the brilliant work they do for people living with MS. Now, seeing the centre grow and the facilities develop, it feels great to have played a part.
I have run several navigational races and normally get lost which adds to the fun! During the London to Brighton challenge in 2014, a fellow runner was following my head torch to help get over a stile but missed the jump and fell over in style!
I found it easy to raise money the first time around as the 100 marathon challenge is a massive commitment that everyone is eager to see you complete. In the years that followed I have found events such as quiz and music nights really worked well. I hosted a fundraising penalty shootout which worked well too.
For my next fundraising challenge I will be taking on a 100 mile run in Dover in 2019. As 63 miles is the furthest distance I have ever run, I feel like this will be my biggest challenge yet! If you would like to donate you can visit my JustGiving page!
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.
Our fundraiser of the month this month is Wendy Cole, who ran a 100k ultra challenge for MS-UK on the 27 May!
Hi! My name’s Wendy Cole. In August 2015 I took part in my first 100km ultra challenge, London2Cambridge. I’m a runner who fancied a change, so decided I would walk the route. I enjoyed the experience so much that I decided pretty quickly that I would take on another challenge, this time the London2Brighton 100km challenge on the 27 May, raising funds for MS-UK.
Back in 2014 I was very fortunate to receive a charity place with MS-UK in the Virgin Money London Marathon and found them so supportive prior to and during the race that it was a pleasure to get the opportunity to raise funds for them again.
I lost my Mum in 1997 at the age of 50 to Primary Progressive MS, so this is a cause very close to my heart and it’s great to be able to raise awareness of this disease and the work MS-UK do, supporting those affected by MS.
So, in July last year I signed up for London2Brighton in memory of my Mum. I knew I’d completed the distance before but also knew that this challenge would be much hillier. Too right it was!!! There’s a particularly huge hill at 88km, just where you don’t need one.
Again I decided to walk this ultra. I’ve run 11 marathons and 32 half marathons and found walking with a full rucksack quite different from running. You’re on your feet much longer, which is tiring, and you’re using different muscle groups, so ache in different places.
In the lead up to the big day, my training consisted of running three marathons, Brighton on 09 April, London (guide running with a visually impaired runner) on 23 April and Stratford on 07 May. I wouldn’t necessarily recommend running three marathons in five weeks!! I also walked the canal route from Worcester to Birmingham (28.4 miles) two weeks before the challenge.
At 8am on Saturday 27 May I set off from Old Deer Park in Richmond with just over 1500 other eager participants taking on the full challenge. The heavens opened just 0.6 miles from the start, but the rain stopped by the time we’d got our macs out. It was then dry for the remainder of the challenge. We walked day and night, on road and off road, over numerous stiles, taking in short refuelling stops every 25 kms or so at the checkpoints until we reached our final destination at Brighton Racecourse at 7.06am…still smiling, and for me, blister free.
I’m delighted to have exceeded my fundraising target of £300 and would like to thank Nick Adams from MS-UK for regularly making contact with me, offering support and generally seeing how my training was going.
My recovery’s been good. Two days after the event I felt pretty normal again and even managed to wear a kitten heel to work!!
I often wonder what my Mum would think of me now. I was a total couch potato until I hit the age of 40, so she has never seen any of these achievements. She’d probably think I was bonkers!!
Anyway, time for a little rest now…until the next challenge. I’m running New York Marathon in November and Tokyo Marathon in February, so will have a few weeks off over the summer until training starts again.
My name is Louise and I decided to set myself the challenge of 5km every day in December for MS-UK. The idea came to me in November when I was in bed for a week with the flu!
As a regular runner I was bored and fed up with not being able to run, I am not sure what part of me thought such a running challenge only a few weeks later would be a good idea! My Father was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis (MS) when I was just five years old, so 29 years later, I decided it was time I do something for an MS charity. I chose MS-UK because when reading what they do and what their aims are, it made me realised how much it would have helped my family if they were around at the time my Father was diagnosed.
I usually run 3-4 times per week and have never run more than five consecutive days in a row. I did not intentionally train for the event as I ran a half marathon in October and had, apart from when I had the flu, continued running since then but I suppose you could say I have been training since I started running two years ago! I really didn’t know how my challenge would be received. When I started my fundraising web page I did not put a target as I really did not know what to expect but as soon as I told people what I was doing, I was overwhelmed by the support and sponsorship I started to receive.
The challenge as a whole went well but there were certainly ups and downs! I work fulltime and have a four year old daughter so to fit the runs in I did the majority around 6am, which did start to take its toll after a few days!
I documented each day with photos and the number of the day on my hand, which had its challenges, such as working out what way to write the number to ensure it is not backwards on the photograph! The first ten days ticked along well but then my body decided to make it even harder for me by developing a rotten cold and cough thereafter. It isn’t sensible to keep running when you have a cough but I was keeping the pace steady and 5km is not a particularly long distance so I managed to carry on.
Day 17 was a highlight for me. I took my daughter with me for the first part of my run and she managed a whole mile! She enjoyed dressing in some of my running gear and having number 17 written on her hand! She loves her Granddad and enjoyed doing her run for him.
She did spend the next five days complaining of achy legs and so perhaps in hindsight a mile was a bit too long! Day 23 was slightly hampered by being the day after the office Christmas party! Just like not running with a cold, I do not think you are meant to run with a hangover either! Whenever I told people about my challenge they responded in surprise “what, you’re running Christmas day too?!!!” The Christmas day run went well, I got it out of the way at 6am and did quite a quick time so I could get back and check Santa had been. The last week was certainly tricky as my legs decided they wanted to run no more but finally, 31 days later, I made it! 5km x 31 days would have been 155km or 96.1 miles, so deciding that wasn’t enough running I set myself a secondary aim of running at least 100 miles.
In the end I managed 100.1 miles or 161 km and I must say I was rather pleased with myself!
Completing this challenge made me realise how many people will get behind you and support you if you are doing something a) to push yourself and b) for a charity. I was surprised how many people had a family member who has MS or who knows a friend who does, which was another reason why I believe I received so much support.
I certainly have the fundraising bug but I think I will do something in the summer next time!