Archive for the 'Fundraising' Category

Push It for ME Research – 11 Sep 2011

my wheelchair at stowe poolI’m proud to announce my fundraising wheelchair push/walk is going ahead in just 5 weeks time.

Push It is a 10k fundraising wheelchair push/walk for ME Research on Sunday 11 Sep 2011 in Lichfield, Staffordshire, UK.

My condition means I can’t run a marathon or do a skydive to fundraise. So on Sunday 11th September 2011 a team of volunteers will push me in my wheelchair over a 1o km (6.2 miles)  route around Lichfield. Some will walk the full distance, others maybe just 1km (3/4 mile).

Sitting in the wheelchair while being pushed might not sound like hard work for me it’s actually going to be a huge effort on my part.  Due to ME/CFS I am mainly housebound and when I do go out it requires careful planning or my condition can be worsen very easily.

I’ll be documenting what happens and keeping you all informed through live updates via twitter and facebook

I hope you’ll join me on my adventure and help me raise money for ME/CFS research.

You can donate online or in the UK text “PUSH 50 £5” to 70070 (you can choose any amount up to £10 per text donation).


More information about how to join me and route/schedule



Push Me Update

Having discussed my Push Me plan some more with family and in light of my current back pain problems I’ve decided to make a few major changes to the event.

First I’m going to postpone it to August or September in the hope my back problems may have settled down a little.  Plus a bit less busy in terms of family events and appointments.

Second I’m going to make the event 10k instead of 10 miles.  That seems a much more manageable distance for my first pushed event.

So I need to revise my route and look at rescheduling the date. But I hope to still announce it for May 12th.

Push Me!

Since I first talked about my fundraising aspirations I’ve done some planning and scaled down the first event to be a bit more manageable.

stowe pool black and white D40

I’ve mapped out a ten mile route about my local city.  Two loops of 3.1 miles around the city, a short linking walk to next start point (0.2 miles) and then five circuits of the big pool/pond at 0.7 mile each. I’ll be asking volunteers to walk some or all of that distance with me and to push my chair for part of the route.

The larger loops are slightly more physically demanding as there are quite a lot of kerbs and chair tipping to be done but the final phase is flat and obstacle free.  That means hopefully that people of different abilities can take part.  Plus if the weather is good the pool/pond is a good place to gather to spectate and see the end of the 10 mile walk/push.

I’m aiming for a Sunday afternoon in July and have emailed my family today to see if I can enlist any willing volunteers to get me started.  Then I’ll get ME Research on board and look to publicise it all for International ME/CFS Awareness Day on 12th May giving me over 6 weeks to get it all sorted.

my wheelchair at stowe pool

At a leisurely paced walk with changeovers it’s going to take about 6 hours from start to finish which is an epic outing for me in my condition.  Plus I’ll be hoping to document the journey and do some live updates through the day.

But I have worked out that if I were to do a 10 mile walk by myself, doing as much as I am possibly capable of each week, it would take me around 80 weeks (yes eighty weeks) to finish.  I think that demonstrates the kind of debility I live with every day and will have to be included in my blurb to circulate.

I’ve also been working on a free weebly site for the event and have used google maps to plan the route and get the distances right.  It’s going to be a big challenge – organising it, publicising it, raising sponsorship and then actually doing it!  But it’s achievable.

UDPATE Change of date and distance

Aspiration to Fundraise for ME Research

The last 2 years I’ve been donating what I can in bits and peices to ME Research UK.  I was inspired by the Just Four Quid campaign in 2009-2010.

What I’d like to do is more to fundraise for ME Research.  I think research is the key.  Research and trials can bring better clincial understanding, diagnostic tests, treatments and maybe even a cure.  These in turn can change the way patients are considered by doctors, employers, insurers, the media, drug companies.

But on my own I can’t contribute a lot of cash.  I also can’t go running marathons or doing epic challenges to inspire donations. So I need to think creatively.  And I have a hope that if I can think of creative ways to fundraise maybe it will inspire other people with limited means too.

My plan for the last 6 months or more has been to cook up some fundraising scheme/event that I can announce for International ME/CFS/FMS Day on May 12th 2011 which also sees the end of my current year of donating what I save in a Just Four Quid model.

One of the problems is that not only does ME and life whilst juggling symptoms/crashes/flares impact on what I can do for a fundraising event it also limits my ability to plan and organise that event.  Plus I have to find something really catchy and find ways to use social media to engage people because I can’t knock on doors or bounce around the streets. I’m even relectant to use traditional media because the energy to be presentable and cohorent for journalists is kind of tricky (although maybe I can utilise a husband who knows how to wrtie for papers).

So major sticking point at the moment is The Event.  I could choose to organise an event that other healthy people participate in but that would be a lot of organising and a big commitment. So for now I’m thinking some kind of novel sponsored event I can do myself.

I did consider doing a physical marathon by walking a little bit of it every day. then I did the math. Gulp.

A marathon is 42195 metres. Let’s suppose I manage to walk 50 metres at a time which is about my limit of walking unaided so probably pushing it a bit. That would require 844 days. I’m not going to be walking every day because sometimes I’ll be too ill and sometimes I’ll need my energy for other things so say I do an average of 4 days a week. That would mean it would take me 210 weeks, or 4 years to walk a marathon!  I’m not sure anyone would stick around to be engaged in my fundraising event for 4 whole years.  And I have to tell you this calcualtion really knocks the wind out of me because I realise just how far away from a healthy fit person I am. Yikes!

So no marathon on my own two feet. I do quite like the idea of doing a marathon with other people helping me. To be pushed in my wheelchair for 26.2 miles by a team of volunteers perhaps over the course of a month during the summer.  It would still be a demanding event for me because being up, ready and going out is a big deal energy wise plus being along for the ride (with a variety of pushing approaches and speed!) and also engaging folks to fundraise also has to be factored in. But much more achievable than doing it myself!

By recruiting volunteers to push me I’d also be attracting more interest as hopefully each of those people would tell a few folks about their involvement.  Plus they could choose where they want to do their mile(s) – be it around my local streets, in a park, cross country (ouch), in a shopping centre, a circuit of a gallery … it could be anywhere!  It could be midday, at sunset or in the dark.  And I could take photos, maybe video and share the journey online.  Share it as an adventure.

OK so it does kind of sound like I have a plan!  But it needs some refining and I need to think it through.  I’d have to set a limit to how many miles I could do in one day and how often I could go out – but keep the schedule tidy enough to make it appealing to potential donors and easy enough for volunteers to get involved.  I’d also need to have some guidance to give volunteers on pushing the wheelchair.  I know my dad’s style of pushing is very different to my husband’s for instance.  My husband pushes me very carefully – my dad goes for speed.  Both are good in their own ways though speed is a bit more tiring as I have to fight not to get catapulted out the chair!

If I cast my mind around I can think of 3 or 4 people I’m sure would volunteer and I suspect others I know through Twitter might be happy to get involved if I make it easy and fun.  It might be that if I can iron out the details and announce it other people with ME who want to fundraise for ME Research UK might also do their own pushed marathons.

It’s not quite as quirky as I’d first imagined I’d aim for.  But then I don’t have to limit my fundraising to one event and I hope to do more over the year.  But it is potentially something that could capture interest if I market it well enough. And it does seem I have a lot more in my brain ready to go than I realised when i started writing this blog post! I need to start proper planning. I have less than a month to firm up my plan and start recruiting/marketing if I want to announce it for ME Awareness Day. Gulp.


UPDATE: Having one some thinking and planning it really is a massive commitment. It would mean an outing just about every other day for a month. Gulp. Still doable but would surely take a toll. So I’m also considering the idea of doing a big push (literally ha ha) and getting people to relay push me a marathon distance over a weekend. It takes one person about 8 hours to walk a marathon with comfort breaks. Four hours a day over two days sounds achievable albeitwith  a calculated crash afterwards andweeks to recover possibly. Need to think some more to decide which is the best approach.

Just a Little Bit: Year long fundraising for ME Reasearch

11/365 moneyLast year I took part in the Just Four Quid campaign to raise money for ME Research.  The idea was to use money saving tips to save cash for yourself and then give a little of what you saved to charity.  With a lot of support from friends and family I managed to raise £390 for ME Research UK

The campaign ran from May 2009 to May 2010.  But once it finished I decided to keep it up for another year and see if I could raise another £200 pretty much by myself from saving bits of money here and there.  I also would try to give around 10& of my earnings from my art sales.

I’m very grateful that friends and family have also contributed this year and that has meant thanks to their generosity that I’ve just reached my target of £200 with 4 months still to go!

I’ll keep contributing to see just how far I can push past the target but it’s brilliant to know I’ve reached the goal!

Got some great books from the library. Been a long time. Love high tech self service!

I’ve done this mainly through:

  • using vouchers and coupon codes to save money, using special deals or opting for free postage from shops
  • making use of my local library instead of buying certain books and DVDs then giving on average £1 per book and 50p per DVD
  • making a contribution from what I’ve earnt on art sales
  • using my credit card for all my transactions then donating the cashback I earn

I’m glad my brother just gave a big donation to push me past the target as I’ve gone a bit book buying crazy this month so not many savings (although I’ve shopped around for bargains buying used books). In my defence I’ve been buying books my library doesn’t stock and so that I can post them on to my friend living in India whose feeling a bit starved of Western culture.

But it still remains that the £200 target for ME Research is met and there’s still scope for more contributions before May 11th 2011.


Push It 11 Sep 2011

for ME Research

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