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Fundraisers of the month - Dan and Alex

Posted on: December 17 2018

This month, our fantastic fundraisers are Dan and Alex, who both did a skydive in aid of MS-UK recently. Here's their story of taking on 13,000 feet with their parents in mind...Photo of Dan and Alez

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.

Photo of skydiveBoth 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.

Photo of skyive

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
Aged 17
Northampton

Visit Dan's JustGiving page

Visit Alex's JustGiving page

Feeling inspired?

Visit our web page to find out more about skydiving in aid of MS-UK today! You can also email Lucy or give us a call on 01206 226500.

Guest blog: Laura's reasons for running a marathon...

Posted on: December 14 2018

In this guest blog, Laura Stokes tells us all about why she's set herself the mighty challenge of running the Virgin Money London Marathon in aid of MS-UK in 2019...Photo of Laura, MS-UK fundraiser

My name is Laura and I am delighted to have been given a spot in the London Marathon in aid of MS-UK. I decided to run for MS-UK to raise awareness and funds for all those that are affected by multiple sclerosis (MS), including myself. 

Since being diagnosed earlier this year, it has really motivated me to challenge myself and I thought that the London Marathon was the perfect way to do this. I must admit, the thought of raising a minimum of £2,000 was very daunting at first however with the help of my family and friends, I was able to come up with some great ideas in order to raise as much money for the charity as possible. 

Even though I still have plenty of time before the marathon, I am the type of person who cannot relax until I am meeting targets or seeing results so I wanted to begin my fundraising as soon as possible so that I had less pressure on myself close to the run and so that I had enough time to enjoy every minute of raising money and also training.

Photo of cakes from Laura's fundraiserI have recently hosted a coffee morning at my house which initially I thought would hopefully raise about £300. I got together with my family and friends who all pulled together to create a raffle, lucky dip, a treasure hunt and not forgetting the most important part...making cakes!

I managed to create some leaflets which I posted through neighbors doors and spread the word to as many people as possible. 

When the day came, I was astonished with the amount of people who attended to support me and help me raise donations. It was a very enjoyable and successful day which left me feeling very humbled by everyones generosity.

I managed to raise an amazing £1,200 with donations still flooding in even after the event!

It has left me feeling very excited to come up with even more fundraising ideas and I am so pleased that I have been able to raise that amount of money just a few months after I was given my sport with the MS-UK team.

Inspired by Laura's story? 

You can find out more about fundraising in aid of MS-UK by getting in touch with our team today using our online form!

 

Guest blog: Sharon's glamorous fundraising event!

Posted on: December 13 2018

In this guest blog, Sharon Everett tells us all about an event she is hosting in aid of MS-UK in February - and it sounds very glamorous!Photo of Sharon with the Glamour Girls

I was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis (MS) 19 years ago and would love to have been able to stay as I was then. But as is the nature of the beast it progresses and my walking has deteriorated. But I don’t let that stop me as I have 2 work from home businesses with Forever Living Products and Tessellate CBD oil which keeps me busy. Also 2 sons in the late teens, early 20’s!

I have great friends that I love to socialise with and a great network of MS friends that are my MS family. We socialise quite a bit with breakfasts, afternoon teas, dinners out – life is for living and although I’m not as mobile as I used to be I still like to get out with my friends.

Poster for the Glamour Girls eventMy husband and I like to holiday and for the last two years we have been back to the same accessible villa in Hisaronu, Turkey. We have seen The Glamour Girls perform twice now whilst we’ve been there. After seeing them this year we chatted about asking them if they’d do something for us in the UK. They spend their winter months back here in the UK touring but didn’t have much availability left. We then needed to find a suitable venue, which was harder than we thought. But when we went to view Colchester United’s large function room we agreed it would be perfect, big but perfect. So then we got to work.

I love having something I can get my teeth into. This is by far and away the biggest fundraiser I have ever organised. The maximum this room holds is 300 and I would love to be able to fill it, we’re almost half way so far! The more people in there buying raffle tickets the more money we make for charity and this is what excites me more. I’ve designed the tickets and posters using photos the glamour girls sent me and have been busy leaving posters with lots of businesses in our local town to display on their staff noticeboards. Some of my friends have also done the same. I’ve advertised it lots on Facebook, Instagram and Nextdoor and even contacted the local paper. I’ve also written to lots of businesses to see if they could donate a raffle prize for us. So there’s lots to do and I won’t rest until the night..!  Actually I probably won’t rest then!

It’ll be a great night, a feast for the eyes. With great costumes and songs, just a fun evening of entertainment for guys and girls.

To find out more about the event happening in Colchester, call Sharon on 0778 2240034!

Want to organise your own fundraising event in aid of MS-UK?

We're here to help! Just email Lucy or call us on 01206 226500. 

Guest blog: 12 days of Christmas charity campaign

Posted on: December 11 2018

In this guest blog, GFM ClearComms let us know all about their Christmas fundraising efforts in aid of a range of charities as they launch their '12 days of Christmas' campaign!GFM ClearComms Xmas photo of team

GFM ClearComms is getting into the festive spirit this year by launching a ‘12 Days Till Christmas’ charity campaign, whereby every day from 13 December up until Christmas Day we will be holding a charitable event in aid of a different UK based charity. 

To kick start this campaign the company has decided that rather than sending out Christmas cards, as they always have done in the past, this year they will be sending out ecards and then donating the money saved from not sending out actual cards to the Essex & Herts Air Ambulance. 

Bringing the campaign to an astounding conclusion on Christmas day, Justin Stone, Contact Centre Manager at GFM ClearComms, will be walking a staggering 55 miles from Colchester to London to fundraise for mental health charity Mind. The other charities that were chosen by members of staff to receive donations include MS-UK!

“We are proud to provide a variety of UK charities with our contact centre, marketing and fulfilment services; however, our interest in the charities we support goes beyond just working with them and we have and will continue to hold events like this to help these great causes. Everyone at the company is really excited for this campaign to start and looking forward to 12 days of fun activities and festive fundraising leading up to Christmas,” says Rachael Willis, CFO at GFM. 

To find out exactly what the company will be doing each day of our ’12 Days Till Christmas’ charity campaign check out our website and social media channels where we will be revealing the full details of each event daily in an advent calendar style fashion!

Essex businesses raise over £16,000 working 9 to 5 for MS-UK!

Posted on: November 29 2018

Team Photo cheering .JPGCongratulations to all the businesses across Essex who celebrated their fundraising success at our 925 Challenge awards night on 22 November! Thanks to their hard work and dedication, they managed to raise an astounding £16,700 for people affected by multiple sclerosis (MS)!

Back in September, MS-UK officially launched our first ever 925 Challenge. Nine teams of local companies were handed countdown clocks and tasked with raising £925 before the timer ticked down to the end of 9 weeks, 2 days, and 5 hours.

The challengers - comprised of teams from NatWest, Charles Derby Financial Services, Team Pivotal, Ellisons Solicitors, OPM Response, Whitehall Electrical, White Hart, Push Energy and Direct Solutions - fought to be the first to reach the fundraising target by bringing the workplace together and getting creative.

As each team grappled to get the upper hand, the fundraising events became more and more innovative. We saw a 'dawn to dusk' golf day, a Swimathon, video game characters tackling an obstacle course, a car wash, a race night, and so much more!

The ideas were so good that once the clocks stopped we struggled to pick our final award winners!

After some tough deliberation we came to our decisions. The awards for ‘most money raised’ and the ‘team spirit award’ were scooped by the White Hart pub in West Bergholt who raised an incredible £6,000 by involving the community in their fundraising efforts.

Other awards went to Ellisons Solicitors for their quirky ‘Wacky Hat Wednesday’ event, OPM Response for their outstandingly fun fundraising films, and Direct Solutions for their innovative ‘Display for MS-UK’ initiative. As well as great team work, MS-UK recognised some individuals who went above and beyond during the challenge including 6 year old Shara Stevens who individually raised £300 and swam over a mile during local business networking group Team Pivotal’s Swimathon.

Collectively teams in our first corporate challenge raised a wonderful £16,700, which smashed our target of £10,000. We are delighted with the energy and enthusiasm all teams have shown for the challenge bringing colleagues, clients and customers together to raise both awareness and much needed funds for MS-UK.

Fundraisers of the month - Karen and Maxine

Posted on: November 27 2018

Back in October Karen Shergold and Mazine Nunn took on the Royal Parks Half Marathon in aid of MS-UK. Here they tell us why fundraising for multiple sclerosis is so important to them…Photo of Karen and Maxine

‘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

Karen and Maxine’s top fundraising tips...

  • Start early – although we had 6 months, we planned our events 2 – 3 months in advance of the race to ensure that we had enough time in case we needed to raise additional funds
  • Do your research – our two activities were based on feedback on what people said they would enjoy, which meant that half the battle was won 
  • Good planning and organisation – a sense of humour and excellent delegation skills  
  • Spread the load – we were able to delegate key parts of these activities to willing family members
  • Keeping it simple – as we said above – focus on fewer but better quality activities
  • Don’t underestimate the need to continue to canvass support

Guest blog: Gavin's marathon mission...

Posted on: November 19 2018

In April 2019, Gavin King will be taking on the Virgin Money London Marathon in aid of MS-UK. In this guest blog, Gavin tells us about why he’s chosen to fundraise for MS-UK, and how multiple sclerosis (MS) has had an impact on his family...Photo of Gavin, MS-UK fundraiser

‘After missing the chance to run the Virgin Money London Marathon through the ballot, I decided that for 2019 I would fundraise for a charity close to my heart, MS-UK. I'm pushing hard, taking on multiple challenges and races between now and the marathon. So far, fundraising is going ok.

‘My Dad was diagnosed with MS when I was a child. I still remember the day he sat me down and told me. I had no idea how bad MS was or how it was going to change our lives and yet it still tore me apart.

‘Sitting here now typing this still breaks my heart and brings a tear to my eye.

‘For the past 20+ years, I've seen MS take my father away from me. At first, it was only really fatigue that was noticeable and a few days where he wasn't great on his legs.

‘As time went on, he lost the ability to drive and eventually couldn't even walk or feed himself.

‘MS has also damaged his brain, wiping out his short term memory and his ability to talk. This has been the biggest impact on me, not being able to speak to him, ask him questions and all the things a son should be able to ask his father.

‘I regret not making the most of the last good years with him while I still had the chance.

My Mum cares for my Dad 24/7 which really takes its toll on her, she's stubborn though and does everything she can for him.

I chose MS-UK and the London Marathon to show my support for my family and to raise as many funds for such a supportive MS charity that gets much of its funding through the London Marathon charity places.’

You can find out more and make a donation on Gavin's JustGiving page

We’re here...

If you have been affected by this story, you can contact the MS-UK Helpline via email, on 0800 783 0518 or via live web chat. We’re here to provide information and support, or just to listen.

Lighting up the 'big red boat' for MS-UK!

Posted on: November 08 2018

08 November 2018

Around the corner from the MS-UK offices in Essex, a bright-red boat is moored by the quayside. It's an impressive sight. The deck is busy with cranes and pulleys. Porthole windows gaze out across the water. The light tower that rises from the deck is seen by hundreds (possibly thousands) of commuters crossing the nearby bridge on their way to and from work.

So imagine our surprise when the Colchester Sea Cadets, who use the boat as their base once a week, said that they'd be willing to turn the tower light purple to show their support for MS-UK.

Last Wednesday evening, we made the short trip down the riverfront to see the purple light in full glow. It was astounding to behold! Set against the dark night sky, the light blazed, bathing the riverside in bright purple and causing a few passing heads to turn.

We spoke to a couple of cadets who had come to meet us, and they talked us through how they had planned the fantastic show of colour. While most of their explanation was far beyond our understanding of all things nautical, we were incredibly grateful to them for pulling off something so magical for MS-UK!

Thanks to Colchester Sea Cadets for welcoming us to their one-of-a-kind home and for helping us 'paint the town purple' in preparation for the Colchester Half Marathon 2019.

Why not get involved? If you would like to run for MS-UK in next year's Colchester Half Marathon, get in touch with Jenny via email, or by filling in an online application form today!

 

Sea Cadets 2.JPGSea Cadets 5.JPG

5 fearsome fundraising tips to kick off Halloween!

Posted on: October 29 2018

Darkness falls across the land. The midnight hour is close at hand. (But at MS-UK the day's quite grand!)

Halloween is creeping ever closer. Soon the streets will be full of face-paint zombies, bedsheet ghosts and passable attempts at characters from horror films. It's a fearsomely fun time of the year that gives us mere mortals a fang-tastic opportunity to get creative with our fundraising!

Whether you host a haunted house party, create and sell a batch of creepy cupcakes, or you channel your inner Thriller and hold a sponsored dance-a-thon, there's plenty of ways to get involved! And don't worry - even the smallest of donations can make a huge difference to MS-UK!

Want to get started? Why not sink your teeth into our top five freaky fundraising tips!

 

1. Your Halloween costume can make or break a party! Get it right and you're already halfway done...

 

2. Hosting a pumpkin carving morning is a super-simple way to get people together. You'll also have enough pumpkin left over to whip up about a year's worth of soup.

 

3. Brushing up on your dance moves is always a good idea. Don't be afraid to bring your spooky shuffle to the dancefloor!

 

4. Just another day at the office... Getting work involved with your Halloween fundraising is never not fun!

 

5. Release your inner showperson. If Halloween isn't a time to get silly, when is?

 

If you want to kick off your own Halloween fundraiser, get in touch with Lucy who can help you every step of the way!

Fundraiser of the month - Sue Bowles conquers the West Highland Way!

Posted on: October 18 2018

Sue Bowles - West Highland Way FINISHED!.JPGSue 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.

Challenge yourself with MS-UK

 

 

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