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And so the journey of my mad new year’s resolution begins. This first post covers 11 days worth of activity, as I started the challenge on a Thursday. Regular posts will review activity Sunday to Sunday.

  • Thursday 31 January – Attended the Marie Curie Exeter Fundraising Group launch evening at the City Gate Hotel (that’s us with the Exeter Lions!)
  • Friday 1 February – Popped my spare change in British Heart Foundation tin at Coffee #1 at lunch.
  • Saturday 2 February – Read Marie Curie literature that arrived in the post. It encouraged me to write a £20 cheque to cover the cost of one hour of nursing care in a patient’s home. Also, tempted by so many of their big challenge events, I decided that I will do the Three Peaks Challenge later this year. The aim is to raise £4000 and divide it between my four chosen charities – more on those later.
  • Sunday 3 February – Spent two hours in the morning collecting for the ‘Every Penny Counts’ campaign on behalf of Cancer Research UK.
  • Monday 4 February – Cashed money from Cancer Research UK collection at lunchtime.
  • Tuesday 5 February – Chaired the Marie Curie Exeter fundraising committee meeting after work. We set our target for the year, which I can tell you now, we’ve already smashed the first collection target!
  • Wednesday 6 February – Donated several items to the Save the Children charity shop during my lunch break.
  • Thursday 7 February – Attended a Devon Air Ambulance ladies networking event in the evening. All proceeds from a raffle went to the charity. Read more about this event in the feature below.
  • Friday 8 February – I gave a small donation to a friend raising money for Children’s Hospice South West Ride for Precious Lives cycle event. I’d read their post on Facebook, and was able to do it all from my phone.
  • Saturday 9 February – I spent some time in the afternoon gearing up for first set of Marie Curie Daffodil collections. This involved auditing all the collection materials, to make sure we have enough of everything for the number of people we have signed up for two day’s at a local Sainsbury’s.
  • Sunday 10 February – Visited Sainsbury’s on behalf of Marie Curie to finalise details for the collections.

FeatureThursday 7 February 2013

This evening I went to a ladies business networking event, which was also a fundraising opportunity for Devon Air Ambulance Trust (DAAT). The main way to donate was to buy 5 raffle ticket strips for £5. There was a good turnout, and when they drew the raffle tickets, it was announced that they had made over £200 and counting.*

It was a great opportunity to hear about the work that DAAT does. We got to listen to the first-hand experience of a DAAT patient, who was involved in a very traumatic horse riding accident, for which five to six months down the line, she is still in recovery. She really put into perspective that if it were not for the DAAT helicopter rescue team, the outcome for her would have been so different.

It really hit home how important these local charities are to local people, and how they can rescue people in life threatening situations. DAAT raises funds to keep two emergency air ambulances flying, and they are currently trying to raise enough funds to ensure that service continues into the night.

I looked at other ways I could help them, and immediately on their ‘How You Can Help Us’ page, was the opportunity to text donate, which I thought was fantastic to have something so immediate that you can do to help.

In terms of how I feel I could help more, I am keen to join their recycling scheme for used postage stamps. They tell me I can do this in a local charity shop, and suddenly I find out that there are not one but two charity shops in Exeter alone. Sorted.

Oh, I also may have temporarily forgotten I was going to this event, and put all my change in a Cancer Research UK pot in Tesco in the morning when I popped into get the office milk. Oops.

*Update posted on 6 May 2013: I have subsequently heard from the charity that they raised a total of £264.70 from this event.

Caroline Creer, Fundraising Director of Devon Air Ambulance Trust said “We would like to thank Old Mill Financial Services and everyone that came along to support this event and the Charity and gave so generously. We rely on community and business events just like this one to help us raise the £4.5 million needed annually to keep both of Devon’s Air Ambulances flying.  To have a short talk by an ex patient is also extremely humbling and showed those attending just how essential the service is.”

 Why Cancer Charities?

I realise that Marie Curie and Cancer Research UK have had the lions share of mentions in this weeks activity, so I wanted to explain a bit about why I am so actively involved with these two charities.

I was too young to really remember any great detail, but certainly my earliest memory of loss in life was my paternal grandfather dying of lung cancer. Then, in my early 20’s, I lost a friend to ovarian cancer. She was only 23, and it was a devastating time for all who knew her. Treatment was stopped months before she died, and in between that period, I saw her a few times – once in a hospice, and a couple of times at her house – the latter is something that hospice nurses would have made possible.

I support Cancer Research UK because I’ve seen too many people close to me lose loved ones to cancer, and I live in hope that one day we will beat it. 

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