Living with any form of disability is expensive, and although the government does offer financial support in terms of Disability Living Allowance and other benefits, there is still a bit of a shortfall. This is especially the case for me seeing as the route I have chosen involves hours of private therapy and lots of pieces of specialist equipment that don’t come cheap. Thankfully my family and friends were on the case as soon as they realised this was going to be a long term thing (I was still heavily dosed up and expecting to walk out of hospital after a few weeks) and they sat down and brainstormed some fundraising ideas that have since allowed me to progress as far as I have. We have combined forces with the charity Aspire, who aim to help those with Spinal Injuries in a whole range of different ways.
Charity is a difficult thing to accept. I have never thought twice about giving to a worthy cause, and will always help out where I can. But when the tables are turned and suddenly you are the worthy cause, it can be difficult to just hold your head up high and say ‘Thank You, I really do need this help’. This is something I have had to learn to do. At times I have just been so overwhelmed with how generous people have been, and how willing they are to help me out. Complete strangers have donated money towards my rehab just because they believe it’s a worthy cause. It is so incredibly inspiring and motivating for me, as I know that I basically have an army of supporters behind me that are with me and believe in me.
So I am now going to share some of the AMAZING fundraising events that have taken place on my behalf and have helped to raise a massive amount of money that is allowing me to continue my crazy lifestyle that has a pretty massive price tag.
1. Fast Forward
My sister and her extremely talented and well connected boyfriend were the brains behind this amazing concert that took place in Cargo, Shoreditch about a month after I got out of hospital. I was absolutely petrified about having to see so many people for the first time since my accident, but it turned out to be an incredible night with a lot of cocktails (my first night out since escaping from hospital!) and a lot of fun. And it raised over £2500, which was an amazing start to the fundraising efforts. And for anyone who hasn’t seen The Correspondents play live, they are so entertaining and so talented; it really is quite an experience!!
2. The Worthing Walkers
This was the next main event that took place a few months after I got out of hospital, and was a sponsored 3 mile walk along the seafront at Worthing. We had such amazing weather and I was blown away by the amount of people that were there. Everyone made such an effort to get sponsored for the walk and about £5000 was raised on the day, with more coming in for weeks after the event. It literally went global and I was receiving donations from all over the world from friends and family of people that had taken part.
3. Pub Quiz, Raffle and Live Music Event
Two of my bestest buddies organised this night, which was a hilarious evening of drinking, dancing, a quiz and a raffle. Months of planning definitely paid off, and I cannot thank Claire and Fi enough for all that they did to make this night run smoothly. They never let on to me how stressful or difficult all of the planning was, but it was a hugely successful night raising over £1500. I was pretty gutted my team didn’t win the quiz though!!
4. Garden Party and Lunch
A good friend of my parents has been so helpful and kind in arranging fundraising events, and this hugely successful day raised over £5000. Friends of my parents, many of whom I have never even met have been so generous with their donations. I think this must massively be because my parents are such amazing and nice people, so thank you mum and dad for being great and having such lovely friends.
5. I was chosen by the Halloween Hounds Golf Society (of which my dad is a part of) to be their chosen charity of the year. Various events throughout the year and their main Dinner Dance event contributed at least £5000, including some one off huge donations from people. This money all went towards my first trip to Miami and allowed me to attend the Brucker Biofeedback Center (see last blog post)
6. The Super Six do the South Downs for Suzanne
Six of my friends completed a 40km walk on possibly the hottest day of 2012, which was an amaaaazing achievement. And it was one of their birthdays, so it was pretty decent of her to give up the day to trek across the South Downs. You guys did an amazing job and raised over £1000, but I really didn’t need to see the pictures of Maz’s foot blister the next day, that was a massive overshare!
7. My aunt and uncle arranged a Live Music and Curry Night for all of their friends, which was a huge success and showcased the local talent where they live. Again this was a night of huge support from a lot of people that I have never met. I am so grateful to those that hear about my accident and are so keen to help in any way that I can… if there was another word for overwhelming, I would use it now, but I can’t think of one.
8. Thanks to my lovely sisters, there have been a few events that have taken place courtesy of them and their friends, including an open water swim in some freeeezing conditions, a clothes/accessories sale and a beer pong tournament. One of my sister’s friends was so incredibly generous and asked for donations instead of wedding presents at her wedding last year; something that is so overwhelming that it actually brings tears to my eyes.
This has suddenly turned into a bit of an awards acceptance speech, but there is genuinely no way that I can thank everyone enough for all that they have done. I can’t even begin to express how vital all of the money is, and how well it is being spent on the latest therapies available to me. If I could show everyone how touching it is then I would; anyone is more than welcome to come and see my rehab workouts and all the blood, sweat and tears that go into them. Ok, there’s no blood or tears, but there’s definitely quite a lot of sweat…
And speaking of sweat, my gorgeous friend Fi is running the London Marathon on my behalf this year. I applied twice before my accident but didn’t manage to get in, and she’s only gone and got a place this year… so she is out in the freezing cold training her ass off at the moment while I send her encouraging messages from my nice warm flat!! I am SO proud of her, and will most definitely be on the finish line to cheer her on in April…