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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: 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.

Local man smashes London Marathon target after revealing MS diagnosis

Posted on: June 15 2018

A Colchester man who recently revealed his diagnosis of multiple sclerosis (MS) has made history by raising the £2,000 needed to run the 2019 Virgin Money London Marathon for MS-UK in just four days, smashing the charity’s record.

Since opening up on his blog about his MS and his struggles with mental health, Tom Cutts, 26, has attracted 107 supporters to his JustGiving page and raised a stunning £2,330*, cementing his place in next year’s prestigious race in less than 96 hours.

The former Wivenhoe Town footballer was diagnosed with MS in October 2017 after feeling pain in his chest, head and stomach. Since then he has admitted to falling into depression as he struggled to come to terms with a future living with the incurable neurological condition.

Mr Cutts said: “At first I thought it [the pains] could be to do with the usual stress of work but even with medication these pains never subsided.

“Getting that diagnosis sent thoughts spiraling throughout my mind. The first once was ‘what is multiple sclerosis?’ I’d only ever heard the word one or twice in my life but never knew what it meant.

“My diagnosis has caused me to fall into depression, my anxiety levels have skyrocketed and at times so have my stress levels. Coming out of depression takes time, there’s no one-click solution.”

When asked about how he felt about raising the money in record time, he continued: “The response I have received on my sponsorship page has left me speechless.

“To hit my target in less than 96 hours and to raise over £2000 that quickly doesn’t feel real. Recording MS-UK’s quickest time to hit this mark has made me feel privileged to have so many great people in my life who have allowed me to achieve this. It has been one of the most amazing experiences I’ve ever had.

“Since announcing my diagnosis to the public on Friday evening I’ve received so many messages of support from friends and people around the world that it has been hard to manage all these conversations at once.

“As well as raising money for MS-UK, my aim is to raise awareness of both MS and mental health, which are both very personal to me.

“Sharing my experiences of MS and opening up about my depression was important to me as even though I am going through a hard time in my life and struggling inside, if I am able to help just one person then my blog is a success.

“I hope to help people realise that they are not alone with these battles in life. People keep telling me that I am inspirational but to me I’m just being myself!”

You can visit Tom’s JustGiving page www.justgiving.com/fundraising/tomcuttsmsuk or read his blog www.mscontroltomajortom.com

 

*Figures as of 13 June 2018

A thanks to #TeamPurple at Virgin Money London Marathon 2018

Posted on: April 27 2018

Team Bradshaw 2.jpgLast Sunday #TeamPurple took to the streets of the capital to take part in the hottest Virgin Money London Marathon on record, raising an incredible £248,396.54 so far!

With temperatures topping a sweltering 24C, over 100 MS-UK runners managed to complete the 26.2 mile course in front of a bumper turnout. Then it was back to the QEII building in Westminster for a well-deserved massage, courtesy of volunteer physiotherapy students from the University of Essex, and a celebratory lunch with friends and family.

We at MS-UK would like to thank everyone who ran for us, their sponsors, and all our volunteers who make this event happen.

Chris Bradshaw and his dad John, otherwise known as ‘Team Bradshaw’, spoke to us about their own Virgin Money London Marathon 2018 experience running as Father and Son...

Why did you take part in the Virgin Money London Marathon for MS-UK?

Chris: The answer is simple; I wanted to run for my father-in-law Mick Denne who has had multiple sclerosis (MS) since he was 28 and is now confined to a wheelchair.

John: I supported Chris in the Virgin Money London Marathon 2017 and I was so inspired by all the charities that I was moved to volunteer and run for MS-UK in 2018. At the tender age of 61, and having never run a marathon before, I knew I would have to start from scratch, training and gaining injuries just like all the others on the incredible marathon journey.

Chris: The support MS-UK provide for Mick and other MS sufferers is second to none and spurred me on to run the race in both 2017 and 2018.  

John: The first time I met with MS-UK was in 2017 and it was like joining a new family - a family that would support me throughout my journey. I was now a member of Team Purple

We would both like to wish every member of Team Purple who ran on Sunday 22 April, including and all the staff and volunteers at MS-UK, a big thank you for an amazing day and a family memory we will never forget. 

The ballot for the Virgin Money London Marathon 2019 on Sunday 29 April is now open! 

Apply for the a MS-UK Gold Bond place today - just complete our online application form. 

 

Today #TeamPurple take on the marathon!

Posted on: April 22 2018

Photo of runner message for marathonIt's a beautiful day in the capital, and our amazing #TeamPurple runners are getting ready to take on the Virgin Money London Marathon in aid of MS-UK.

They will be joining so many other dedicated charity supporters this morning, and at last count the event had raised collectively over £20,000,000 for charities!

So, why have our runners decided to get involved? Vic, from Essex, remembers watching her Dad run when she was a child. Now she's running in his footsteps, as he no longer can. Sue and Ellie-Rose are a mother and daughter team taking on the mighty 26.2 miles together. The Boland family are all in it together and have flown over from the USA to run today. So many reasons, but each one has been touched in some way by multiple sclerosis (MS).

All week we have been at the Expo event, meeting our runners and wishing them lots of luck.

Have a look at the messages of support, positivity and determination that they wrote on the MS-UK #TeamPurple runners wall in our Facebook album today!

For everyone running on 22 April 2018, whoever you're running for, good luck.

We'll be cheering you all on every step of the way!

You can follow MS-UK on Twitter to see marathon day live updates!

The runner round up

Posted on: April 20 2018

Each and every one of this year’s MS-UK Virgin Money London Marathon runners has a personal connection to multiple sclerosis (MS). All of them have a different story to tell and have been affected by the condition in a different way, but the one thing they all have in common is that it has caused them to take action and to help others with MS.

MS-UK is a national charity with a number of services used by thousands of people affected by MS every year. From the MS-UK Helpline and the new counselling service, to New Pathways magazine and the MS-UK wellness centre, Josephs Court, none of these services can exist without the help of fundraisers, donors, volunteers and legacies. So to thank those who have given up their time and celebrate their upcoming achievement on Sunday here are just a few of their stories…

 

Shaun Marriott works through the grit to run this year's Virgin Money London Marathon for MS-UK

After falling ill and not being able to train, Shaun Marriott is back up and running and ready for this week’s Virgin Money London Marathon…

Running for Dad in this week's marathon!

Our April Fundraiser of the Month 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...

Rosie's marathon for MS-UK!

Rosie Rollinson, who is set to take on the capital at this year’s Virgin Money London Marathon in aid of MS-UK, explains why she's running 26.2 miles all to raise vital funds for the charity…

Running for Mum

In this guest blog, Ryan Hallworth shares why he is taking on the Virgin Money London Marathon and it’s all because of mum…

Setters & Lady’s London Pootle 2018

Setters and Lady (or Chris and Fran to normal people) tell us all about why they are taking on the Virgin Money London Marathon for those who can’t…

If you can’t join us at this year’s Virgin Money London Marathon, why not follow the excitement of the day on Twitter and Facebook.

 

 

 

Virgin Money London Marathon opened by the #SpiritofLondon winners

Posted on: April 19 2018

Wednesday 18 April saw the opening of the Virgin Money London Marathon Expo, the event that kicks of the marathon and where this year’s runners register to receive their official running number for Sunday’s big event.

This year’s expo was opened by the Spirit of London winners Matthew Rees and David Wyeth. Swansea Harrier Matthew famously helped David, whose legs began to buckle beneath him due to exhaustion, down The Mall to the finish line in last year’s race. It was that very moment that encapsulated the unique spirit of the Virgin Money London Marathon and inspired the theme for 2018.

Matthew and David are the first winners of the new Spirit of London award, followed by former boxer Michael Watson, who completed the 2003 London Marathon 12 years after suffering severe brain injuries in a world title fight against Chris Eubank. Watson spent 40 days in a coma and six years in a wheelchair before taking part in the marathon in April 2003.

This year MS-UK has 109 runners running to raise money for the charity so it can continue to support anyone affected by MS. On opening day the MS-UK fundraising team saw a record number of runners attend, ready to get their numbers and excited to run on Sunday.

Reminding runners to make sure they come along and sign up, MS-UK Fundraising Manager, Jill Purcell, said: “Runners can visit the Virgin Money London Marathon Expo from Wednesday 18 April to Saturday 21 April to register for their running numbers. We’ve seen a record number of runners attend on the first day alone and are looking forward to seeing each and every one of you.

“Every year I’m brought to tears by our runner’s stories. Everyone’s reason for running is different, but the one thing they all have in common is that we are all working hard to support people with MS. I’m incredibly proud of all our runners. I’ve seen and heard how much training and hard work they have put into their preparation and I have no doubts that they’ve got this!”

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

Guest blog: Shaun Marriott works through the grit to run this year's Virgin Money London Marathon for MS-UK

Posted on: April 17 2018

After falling ill and not being able to train, Shaun Marriott is back up and running and ready for this week’s Virgin Money London Marathon…

Hello everyone, I'm Shaun Marriott and I will be taking part in the Virgin Money London Marathon for MS-UK this year!

When applying for a charity place in the Virgin Money London Marathon there was only one cause I wanted to help and that was MS. I know two people with the condition, one being my stepdad. He is a kind man whose everyday life has become a lottery on how, if and when he has a bad flare up. His headaches can leave him hidden away, he suffers with shingles and viruses every month, yet he still continues to battle on and support me and his kids, he is also a fantastic step-grandfather to my boys. The other person I know is the wife of a friend of mine who has struggled over the years too.

I feel the work that MS-UK does is massively important, as there’s no cure for the condition, but the help, support and facilitates they offer are vital.

I believe a positive mind and healthy lifestyle can be the medicine, so when I found out I was doing the Virgin Money London Marathon I started training. I was only running 3-5 miles every other day, but it was easy because it was nice weather and I had more time.

Since coming into the winter, trying to find time to train has been harder because I work as a gritter driver for the Council. I’d been trying to run when I should have been resting, which I think resulted in getting an illness half way through December. I wasn’t back to feeling 100% until late January. Thankfully I have come out the other side and training is now going well again. I’ve just got a few more big runs to do before the big day!

A lot of my fundraising was undertaken at my wife's family business Grendon Lakes, they hold weddings, camping and glamping. I had collection pots on the bar for guests to put lose change in and held a raffle offering a chance to win a night in one of the luxury couples tents. I sold tickets for £1 and raised a total of £500 from the pots and raffle. £2,000 seemed a lot of money to raise and I'm nearly there with help from family and friends. All I hope for on the big day is that I can do everyone who has helped and supported me proud and support a fantastic charity.

Thank you everyone!

You can sponsor Shaun today online!

 

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

 

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