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Expo has arrived!

Posted on: April 18 2018

Hi everyone,Photo of the MS-UK fundraising team

Today marks the beginning of Expo, four days of fun-filled excitment at ExCeL in London where runners taking on the Virgin Money London Marathon will be registering this week!

Every year over 100 runners run 26.2 miles in aid of MS-UK, raising thousands of pounds for us. Over 100,000 people in the UK live with multiple sclerosis, and we want to be able to provide our vital services to everyone who needs them, so every single penny they raise goes towards helping MS-UK continue our work.

The MS-UK fundraising team is ready to welcome #TeamPurple to Expo this week, so if you're coming along please say hi to us on stand 583!

Expo hours

Wednesday 18 April 11:00-20:00
Thursday 19 April 10:00-20:00
Friday 20 April 10:00-20:00
Saturday 21 April 09:00-17:00

We'll be live tweeting all week from Expo (and of course on marathon day itself this Sunday) so follow us on Twitter to stay updated!

Jill

Jill Purcell, Fundraising Manager

Running for Dad in this week's marathon!

Posted on: April 16 2018

In our Fundraiser of the Month article for April, Vic Darnell tells us why she is taking on the Virgin Money London Marathon in aid of MS-UK this weekend...and why every step will be for her Dad...Photo of Vic's dad running the marathon in 1986

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.

MS-UK charity night 3.jpgMichelle 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!)

You can sponsor Vic today online

 

Guest blog: Rosie's marathon for MS-UK!

Posted on: April 11 2018

With just over a week to go until the Virgin Money London Marathon, this guest blog is from Rosie Rollinson, who will be taking on the capital in aid of MS-UK! Read on to find out why she's running 26.2 miles all to raise vital funds so we can support people affected by multiple sclerosis (MS)...Photo of Rosie, MS-UK marathon runner

Hello!

My name is Rosie and I am in my second year of university, I am studying Politics at Leeds. I grew up in a very active family where Mum and Dad encouraged us to play team sports at school, took us on regular skiing holidays and liked us to push ourselves. Although not as athletically blessed as my brothers, I still took part and enjoyed every moment.

Upon arriving at university, hours spent doing physical activity dramatically dropped and by the end of my first year I knew I needed a challenge to get me going again. The Virgin Money London Marathon had always been on my agenda having watched my Mum train and run both London and New York for MS as a child and then more recently witnessed my older brother complete it. My Mum ran for multiple sclerosis for her brother who has lived with the disease for almost two decades…hence why MS-UK seemed an obvious choice for me! So one day as procrastination from some university work, I entered the ballot and applied to a couple of charities that were close to my heart, not really thinking anything would come of it. A couple of weeks later I received a call from Jenny who offered me a place for MS-UK, and I accepted it…and that is how I am here lining up to run the London Marathon!

Upon returning to university, I started my training plan…let me tell you nothing sorts out a hangover like a 5mile run in the cold! All was going well until the end of October when I started to get this searing pain in my foot every time I put it down, having ignored it for a while my friends dragged me to A&E and I heard every runners worse nightmare…you have a stress fracture. So I dutifully spent the next 7 weeks in a moonboot, doing very little and followed the doctor’s advice to the T as I returned to running. I am now well back on track, although I have to take it a little steadier than I would like, I have completed a half marathon in 2 and a half hours. I have three more long runs till the big day and the excitement is building with each week!

Finally, fundraising is going well! I have had some very generous donations from friends and family. My first sponsorship push was to write to all my Mum and Dad's suppliers and ask for donations, and golly were they charitable! Its been a busy couple of months juggling training, fundraising, university, eventing, working and maintaining some sort of social life but I wouldn’t have life any other way!

Thank you to everyone who has supported me and hopefully see you the other side of the finish line! 

You can sponsor Rosie today on her fundraising page!

 

Guest blog: Running for Mum

Posted on: April 05 2018

In this guest blog, Ryan Hallworth shares why he is taking on the Virgin Money London Marathon this month in aid of MS-UK...

Back in October last year I decided to apply for the running of the Virgin Money London Marathon in aid of raising money for MS-UK. It was less than a week later that I was delighted to receive the phone call that my application had been accepted.Photo of Ryan, MS-UK marathon runner

My Mum, who has had the condition for a number of years is the reason why I am running for MS-UK. 

Everybody who knows my Mum will agree, she is a completely selfless individual, always putting other people ahead of herself and has an admirable ‘just get on with it’ attitude towards her condition. By running the London Marathon for MS-UK, hopefully I am giving something back, however small it may be.

At the point of my Mum’s diagnosis, I wasn’t aware of the symptoms of multiple sclerosis nor had I heard of the condition at all, which, along with raising as much money as possible for MS-UK, is one of the main reasons I am sharing the fundraising as far and wide as possible – to raise awareness and understanding of the condition, which I know is an objective I share with the fantastic work that MS-UK undertake.

Having already raised in excess of £2,000 with over 7 weeks to go until the big day (at the time of writing this), the fundraising so far has been fantastic and has far exceeded the expectations I had. People’s kindness and generosity so far has been a huge source of motivation for those dark, freezing cold training runs which I have no doubt all the other runners for MS-UK are also enduring at the moment. 

Due to the recent weather conditions and a couple of injuries, I can’t say training has been straight forward but nonetheless, remains on-track and now approaches its latter stages with a few more long runs to go, before gradually tapering the distance down as race day approaches.

A massive thank you to everyone who has donated so far, it’s hugely appreciated by my Mum, MS-UK, my family and myself. I am hoping to keep the momentum going by reaching £2,500+ by race day so please read my story and donate if you possibly can by visiting my fundraising page.

Good luck to all the other MS-UK runners with the remainder of your training and fundraising.

Thanks for taking the time to read.

 

Guest blog: Setters & Lady’s London Pootle 2018

Posted on: March 30 2018

In our guest blog today, Setters and Lady (or Chris and Fran to normal people) tell us all about why they are taking on the Virgin Money London Marathon in aid of MS-UK...Image of Chris and Fran at 2017 marathon

Why?

Because we can. That’s why we run…for those that can’t. Multiple sclerosis (MS) has had a great impact on both our families. Fran’s cousin has suffered very badly for over 30 years but was only diagnosed 8 years ago, and is now effectively immobile. It’s heartbreaking to see her this way. My mum was diagnosed in 2016. We are still coming to terms with her reducing mobility; as each month passes that little bit more is taken away from her. My parents sold their lovely home last summer, which they so dearly loved, and have moved into a new home much more suitable to her needs, and without stairs! My cousin, at 38, was also diagnosed at the same time. So we took the decision to do something special and to raise funds towards helping out those close to our hearts, and many others, inflicted by this horrible disease.

How?

We always say we’d do one. And kept saying it for years and years. Now, well past our prime and in our naughty forties, the marathon word finally became reality. No more excuses; it was time to make some serious cash for an MS charity. Fran had already secretly entered both of us into the Virgin Money London Marathon 2017 ballot, and the first I knew about it was when ‘a lucky you’ package came through the post congratulating me on my place. First time of asking as well! So with my place confirmed, MS-UK kindly gave a Gold Bond place to Fran with the plan being to run together and raise money to help those with MS. We did all sorts to raise funds including charity bucket collections, bake-offs, sweep stakes and organising quiz nights. We had fantastic support from family and friends via donations to our charity page, and as we requested, many gave a donation in lieu of our birthday and Christmas presents. Our son even asked for the same - top lad!

Training was ‘interesting’ and certainly much more time consuming and hard going than we ever predicted. The MS-UK Marathon Facebook page was so useful for tips and encouragement. It was inspiring to see how others were tackling the same challenges, supporting and encouraging each other daily. It was also, oddly enough, quite comforting to see that others found it hard going too…we weren’t alone!

The Big DayPhoto of Chris and Fran with MS-UK fundraising bucket

For those of you that have already run it, you will already know the crowds are just amazing; the shouts of constant support really hits you. Literally every mile is packed with people spurring you on. You certainly won’t need those motivating iPod beats that accompanied you on your training routes, and besides, you won’t be able to hear it! The buzz and the relief you get from crossing that line makes all that hard work worth it. The time doesn’t matter, it really doesn’t. Who cares? The achievement; that’s what counts! Ride that wave, and you may even find you go faster than you planned. Fran managed a brilliant ‘Good for Age Time’, which meant…

Again?

…automatic entry next year! Wouldn’t waste that now. So despite saying we’d only run one, we are now doing it together all over again in 2018, and again for this wonderful charity. However, one massive difference stands out this time round: the weather. We had it great training up to and on the day for the London marathon in 2017; this time round it has been so pants!!! But that’ll make this years that little bit more special.

What next?

Another? Best ask us after we cross that line. Personally, I fancy a sponsored pub crawl!

Good luck everybody. We are all winners.

You can find out more and sponsor this amazing couple on their fundraising page. Good luck guys!

Guest blog: How I organised a virtual race evening in aid of MS-UK!

Posted on: March 09 2018

In this guest blog, Liz Hawkins tells us all about how she organised a virtual race evening in aid of MS-UK, as part of her Virgin Money London Marathon fundraising…


img_52281.jpg

So the halls booked. That was free, one of the perks of working in a school.

Now what to do.

It seemed there have been lots of quizzes recently fundraising for various charities so I wanted to do something different. One of the suggestions was a virtual race evening.

Ok what’s that?

It’s an evening of horse racing, watched on TV, races are bet on and the the race footage is shown to reveal the race and winner.

I was given the number of a man who would run the event for a fee of £200. Is it worth the money?

Well he would come along with the technology, so we would be able to all see the races, there would be race cards on the tables and he had a app on the laptop that places your bet, prints you out a betting slip and then works out the winnings. For me this was worth every penny. So race-man booked!

Do we/don’t we need a bar?

I know my audience, they would want to be able to have a drink on a Friday night and for work colleagues it was the end of term, so we are on holiday!

img_51271.jpgOK so I would need a licence to sell alcohol, simple, just fill in a lengthy form and submit to the local council, along with the correct fee, for me this was £21.

Then Christmas happened…

Following Christmas my daughter and I set up a Facebook event page and sent out invites.

On this page we were able to do reminders and I also asked for any unwanted gifts that would be suitable as raffle prizes, they came flooding in….

People that couldn’t make it to the evening, pledged money onto my JustGiving account, which I had also put into the page.

The week leading up to our race night, I hired glasses from the local supermarket, for a deposit. There would only be a cost for any breakages.

They also agreed I could return any unsold items.

So the the day of the event I collected the glasses, bought snacks and soft drinks along with alcohol.

Tony the man running the race evening arrived in plenty of time to set up. Friends helped me to set up for the raffle and the bar, ahead of my husband and friend running the bar for the evening.

Tony asked for two or three helpers who would be willing to be the tote, my daughter, her boyfriend and a friend offered to do this, so Tony took them through what they needed to do, apparently it was really easy!

All was ready when the first of our guests walked through the door, the evening was a great success, the races got everyone involved, the raffle went really well and the bar pretty much sold out!

My friends and family had a great night, but most importantly they helped me to raise a whooping £850 profit for MS-UK! With match funding of £350 I raised £1,200 – amazing!

Guest blog: A marathon with Mum in mind...

Posted on: February 23 2018

vlm-e-news-image1-10.jpgAs my first long distance running event (or running event in general in fact)…I decided that I wanted to challenge myself and run the London Marathon 2018! Fully aware that this is going to be a great personal achievement, I figured to make it even more worthwhile, I would raise money for charity at the same time, so people are not only supporting me with my running but supporting a great cause!

I have chosen MS-UK as the charity which I am raising money for, for the support which they provide to those suffering with multiple sclerosis. My mum, who is also my best friend, suffers from MS and even though she never complains and shows unbelievable strength and fights her illness; I know how it can affect individuals, and it means a lot to my mum that I am doing this with her in my heart and mind, along with others in her position, as my main motivation.

In order to raise the £2,000 I am receiving great support from my friends, family and work colleagues via my ‘JustGiving’ page. I am putting on some fundraising events such as pub quiz in local village pubs, raffles with prizes which have been generously donated including tickets to Ipswich Town Football Club home match and Woburn Safari Park! I am also putting on a fashion show at a nearby M&Co. store (Diss, Norfolk)!

Although I have regularly attended the gym for a long time, I am new to long distance running outside until about November 2017. I have been following a 16 week marathon training programme ‘Beginner to Winner’ and I am very much on track with it all; I have also been attending Spin, Yoga and Pilates classes to help with my training. I am completing Colchester Half Marathon in March which fits in perfectly with my training schedule and again is all in aid of MS-UK!

Now the count down to the big day, and I have ascertained that it will be here in no time at all!

Jasmine Mulley, 24, Suffolk 

Fundraiser of the Month: Kimberley

Posted on: February 16 2018

20170916_130921.jpgIn 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!

run.jpg

Guest blog: Fiona's two truths and a lie!

Posted on: February 15 2018

fiona.jpgFiona Sakal, who has been a Trustee of MS-UK for over decade, recently joined us in the office for a week to see what we do to support people affected by multiple sclerosis (MS) on a daily basis. We couldn't resist asking for an interview, and we started off with a 'two truths and a lie' question...

Two truths and a lie…
I was born and raised in Germany
I qualified for the Olympic Equestrian team
I was Cabin Crew, based at London Heathrow

Read on to find out all about Fiona…

I joined the board of MS-UK in 2007, when we were still MSRC and working from Peartree Industrial Estate with three car parking spaces, one toilet and not enough windows. My brother-in-law had MS for 24 years and although I was not fortunate enough to meet him, the impact his condition had on the rest of the family remains, so I was delighted to be asked to join the Board of Trustees.
Obviously, I was full of enthusiasm and committed to running the Virgin Money London Marathon the following spring! I definitely did not take into account the enormity of the training schedule that had to fit in alongside my final law exams, a full house renovation and a wedding. Ten years later and

I am almost ready to commit again, but not quite!

When Peter and I married in 2008 we decided that we would like to raise money for the charity rather than receive gifts. We were overwhelmed by the generosity of family, friends and clients and with the help of Roger Dakin and a game of heads and tails at our wedding reception, we raised £12,000.

Fast forward 11 years and two little girls, I am still as passionate about MS-UK as ever and love to get involved wherever possible. Under the leadership of Amy, the charity has grown to such an extent that I was beginning to need a flow chart to understand how everything fit together and wasn’t confidant that I was able to contribute effectively as a trustee. So here I am!

I have really enjoyed my ‘work experience’ and have found it invaluable to get to know everybody and experience first-hand what each role entails, both in the office and at Josephs Court. The atmosphere is very warm and welcoming and it is clear that everyone has a real passion for what they do. I am incredibly proud to represent MS-UK and excited to see what we can achieve in the future.

So, what was the lie?

I qualified for the Olympic Equestrian team!

Guest blog: Running for Dad

Posted on: February 09 2018

jess-armstrong.jpgIn this guest blog Jessica Armstrong shares her reasons for running the Virgin Money London Marathon this year in aid of MS-UK...

Hi everyone,

My name is Jessica. I was born and raised in a small town just outside of Toronto Canada. My partner and I moved to London in August 2016 with the plan to work in another country and travel Europe. When I first moved here I never had any plan to run a marathon. To be honest, I’d never in my life even thought of trying to attempt to run a marathon; the idea seemed impossible to me! However, my career as a Certified Athletic Therapist led me to working in a clinic that specialises in treating runners, many of whom run the London Marathon. I had no idea the hype around the London Marathon. I figured it was just another marathon. Little did I know the next year and a half of my life would be changed because of it.

When I was about 10 years old I remember my parents sitting my sister and I down at the kitchen table. They told us that my Dad had been diagnosed with something called multiple sclerosis. Being 10 years old all I really wanted to know was, what would happen to my Dad? My parents simple answer was, “we aren’t really sure.” I’m sure they tried to explain more, but those are the two bits that I remember most: thinking what is this condition that I could barely pronounce and feeling like it wasn’t that big of a deal because Dad looked normal. Fast-forward 18 years and my fathers’ initial diagnosis of relapse remitting is now secondary progressive. He now faces daily challenges completing tasks that most of us take for granted.

January 2017 I began treating many runners who were taking part in the London Marathon. Some were elite level runners and others were embarking on a journey completely new to them. While their efforts in training were amazing, it was their reasons for running that led me to applying for the marathon. I found it admirable the change they were trying to achieve with their fundraising and I decided I wanted to make a difference too!

It has been the support from friends, family and the Canadian MS Society that have helped to make each challenge my Dad has had to face a bit easier. After learning about what MS-UK does for those living with MS and their families I knew I wanted to run for them!

I’ve set myself a goal of £2,500. I am excited to be hosting my very first pub quiz as my main fundraising event alongside a couple smaller events leading up to the day. A “Guess My Time” poster has proven to be a fun way to get my clients involved in my journey to helping raise funds for MS-UK.

These events along with the tremendous support from family and friends will hopefully help me to reach my goals and help MS-UK continue to make a difference for those living with MS and their families in the UK.

Jessica

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