#RideLondon Fundraising Hero – championing disabled kids in sport

JJ Chalmers image2

It takes a hero to take on a challenge to help better the lives of others. It takes a superhero to overcome their own injuries, and disregard their own personal setbacks, to help people less fortunate than themselves. JJ Chalmers is just the kind of superhero who uses his astounding amount of strength and determination, to push himself to the limit to give the less fortunate the opportunity to live their lives to the fullest.

JJ was fighting in Afghanistan in 2011 when he was severely injured by an IED (Improvised Explosive Device). He returned to the UK to Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham where he underwent numerous reconstructive operations on several different parts of his body. He has lost two fingers and has undergone surgery on his face and both of his legs. Doctors took muscle lining from his leg to replace a severed tendon in his tricep, and at one point during his recovery had his arm grafted to his body to keep it supplied with blood whilst doctors tried to repair the joint with titanium. When speaking about his rehabilitation JJ said “The road to recovery does not go in one straight line. Every time you take a step forward you suffer a knock back. However, when you get over that set back you find yourself further forward than ever before.”

In 2014 JJ’s battle against his injuries was complete, and he was victorious. He took part in the Invictus Games of 2014, a sporting event specifically for injured Service men and women set up by HRH Prince Harry to give people like JJ the chance to prove that their lives aren’t going to be ruled by their injuries, and that they are still just as capable of competing in sporting activities as anybody else. When talking about why he continues to take part in sporting activities he said “Sport has always been a part of my life and so disability sport has been a crucial part of my recovery and has allowed me to stay fit and active as well as providing me with some unforgettable experiences”.

The ability to do sporting activities is something that everybody deserves, and is something that JJ really believes in. That is why he is taking part in the 2015 Prudential RideLondon-Surrey 100 on a Recumbent Trike for the charity Get Kids Going! “It is a simple fact that if an able-bodied person wants to exercise all they need to do is pop out and buy a pair of trainers and off they go. However, the challenge is very different for the disabled person. They will need bespoke equipment which has been adapted to meet their individual needs and that comes at a price. Get Kids Going! Helps to level the playing field so that kids who are ‘otherwise able’ can have the support they need to enjoy an active involvement in sporting activity.” JJ is passionate about making sure that disabled children get the same opportunities that he has had to compete in a sporting environment.

You can support JJ on his Prudential RideLondon-Surrey 100 by going to his Virgin Money Giving page.

Are you a #RideLondon Fundraising Hero?

If you’re riding in the 2015 Prudential RideLondon-Surrey 100 this Sunday, there’s still time to set up your fundraising page today.

And if you already have a fundraising page, you can find more fundraising tips here.


#RideLondon fundraising hero: Helping others like me

Amanda Love for Ride London

Imagine cycling 100 miles. Now imagine having to cycle it with the use of only one working leg. Despite never having entered the Prudential RideLondon-Surrey 100 before, this is the challenge Amanda Love is facing after having a discectomy (operation to her spine) and experiencing nerve damage to one of her legs.

Not content with just putting herself through her paces on the road to recovery with a 100 mile cycle, Amanda has become a #RideLondon fundraising hero by giving back to a small charity, Aspire – which helps those with spinal injuries.

Amanda tells us “I’ve suffered with a bad back’ for many years, however in January 2014 everything came to a head, the pain made giving birth to twins feel like a walk in the park, and  I underwent a discectomy”.  Her recovery has been slow with several setbacks and even nerve damage in her leg.  

The charity Amanda is fundraising for, Aspire, was founded in 1982 to provide practical help to people who have been paralysed by Spinal Cord Injury. The charity point out that “Every eight hours someone is paralysed by a spinal cord injury. It can happen to anyone at any time and no one is prepared for how it will change their life. Aspire exists because there is currently no cure.

Starting her training from scratch has not been easy, especially due to the nerve damage Amanda sustained, meaning she will be powering round the 100 mile course with only one working leg. She tells us “I was completely unable to cycle after my operation, I kept feeling like I was falling off” but after starting with very short, flat rides and “lots of stops for coffee and cake“, after 18 months Amanda says she’s reached a point where hills are her friends.

One of the things helping to keep her motivated to stick to her training is how fortunate she feels to be able to do the things she can do. Amanda adds, “Others were not as fortunate as me in their recovery. I work with a guy the same age as me who has had the same operation as me, and is now using a wheelchair as he can’t walk any distance and is constant pain.”

Amanda also adds some fundraising advice, saying that setting a tangible target, one that will buy something specific or provide a specific service, has been a real help. Amanda is trying to raise enough money for Aspire to buy two sets of Dragon Voice Recognition software for a computer, for people with serious spinal injuries. So why not give her a boost and donate via her Virgin Money Giving page?

Are you a Prudential RideLondon Fundraising Hero?

If you’re riding in the 2015 Prudential RideLondon-Surrey 100, set up your fundraising page today.

And if you already have a fundraising page, you can find more fundraising tips here.

Tommy’s Splashathon


Tommy’s have joined forces with Water Babies and Peppa Pig to bring you the Tommy’s Splashathon! Babies and toddlers are sponsored to complete swimming challenges to raise money to help save other babies’ lives. Tommy’s are aiming to raise over £500,000 through the Tommy’s Splashathon to help fund our pioneering medical research and pregnancy information service.

Tommy’s currently funds three research centres in London, Manchester and Edinburgh dedicated to preventing stillbirth, premature birth and miscarriage.  Your Splashathon fundraising will help us to open a fourth centre committed to preventing early miscarriage, helping mums like Kate who went through the heart ache of 14 miscarriages to have her 3 beautiful children:

My husband and I were so happy and excited when I first fell pregnant.  But just forty-eight hours after celebrating, I miscarried.  It took two more miscarriages before we were taken seriously. My next pregnancy I was put onto low dose aspirin and given weekly scans to check for a heartbeat.  The result was our wonderful Theodora.

I went on to have 5 further miscarriages over the next 3 years.  We saw a heartbeat at around 6 weeks for each baby but the treatment wasn’t working.  I was to take daily injections of Heparin, as well as the aspirin, in the next pregnancy.  It was terrifying with a lot of bleeding. But gorgeous Edgar made it.

We were both from big families and our plan had been 4 children.  After Edgar I fell pregnant easily again, followed the same programme, and made it through the scary weeks of bleeding to have lovely Lola.   We did try for a 4th child but over the next 4 years I had 6 more miscarriages, so we decided to stop and be content with our beautiful family. 

We would not have had any of our wonderful children with the benefit of pioneering research.  But, there is just still much more to be done which is why your support is so important.

You can also win fabulous prizes with the event!

  • Raise £1+ and get a certificate.
  • Raise £30 and get a cloth sew-on Peppa Pig badge.
  • Raise £100 and get an exclusive Peppa Pig Splash DVD.
  • Raise £200 and get a limited edition Peppa Pig bag and goodies.
  • Plus, the highest overall fundraiser will win tickets for a family of four to Peppa Pig World along with one night’s hotel accommodation!

Open your fundraising page today.

#RideLondon fundraising hero: #RidewithGraham – A story of friendship

Team Graham final

In 2012, Graham Naylor was caught in a massive avalanche while snowboarding. Buried for 30 minutes, he suffered a cardiac arrest and slipped into a coma for 10 days.

This week’s #RideLondon Fundraising Hero feature tells the amazing story of friendship. Six friends, Christopher Ribet, David Boa, Lyndon Rutherford, Chris Murdoch and Rohan Wadham will cycle 100 miles on 2nd August to fundraise for a small charity that is helping rehabilitate their friend Graham as he struggles with Lance-Adams syndrome and a severe hypoxic brain injury sustained during his snowboarding accident 3 years ago.

Graham’s friends tell us a bit more: “Lance-Adams syndrome affects a person’s ability to do most of the things we all take granted, most notably in Graham’s case his ability to walk and talk. He is 2 years into his rehabilitation and progress has been amazing. Graham is a fighter and in the two years since has come a long way, but he still has a long way to go.

Luckily Graham has progressed, he now receives very little in the way of rehabilitation from the NHS. This means that he is reliant on a number of charities including Ability Bow to help him continue his recovery.

Ability Bow, an East London based charity, provide access to specialist gym equipment to support Graham and maintain his physical well-being on his journey to full recovery. They rely on charitable donations to continue their amazing work and without them, Graham and others like him would not receive the care and assistance they need to lead a better quality of life.”

Not content with the 100 mile ride, Team Graham decided to do all they can to fundraise as much as possible for Graham and people like him, by building a visual campaign to tell the public about Graham’s story and how Ability Bow have helped him. The team add “Fortunately we all work in the creative industry, so we pooled resources to create playfully branded social media pages and an engaging short film that shared Graham’s story succinctly. This was all channeled together through our chosen hashtag #RidewithGraham.

They know that charities like Ability Bow have made all the difference to their friends recovery. “Without them, Graham and others like him would not receive the care and assistance they need and would not be able to lead the quality of life they do.”

You can support Team Graham on their Prudential RideLondon-Surrey 100 via their Virgin Money Giving page.

Are you a Prudential RideLondon Fundraising Hero?

If you’re riding in the 2015 Prudential RideLondon-Surrey 100, set up your fundraising page today.

And if you already have a fundraising page, you can find tips to raise more making the most of Social Media.

Win an Apple Sport Watch with Virgin Money Giving and the London Duathlon


We’re delighted to be the official fundraising partner of the London Duathlon, which takes place on 20 September in Richmond Park. The event is a run-bike-run event and is a fantastic challenge to take on, especially if you’re looking to do some fundraising this year.

To celebrate this partnership, we’re giving London Duathlon fundraisers the chance to win an Apple Sport Watch! Be in with the chance of winning this fantastic prize by simply creating a Virgin Money Giving fundraising page for this event before 31 July, you will then be automatically entered into the draw.

Terms and Conditions
1.    Entry to the London Duathlon Set up a Page prize draw (‘Competition’) is open to all entrants who create a fundraising page on the Virgin Money Giving website (‘Website’) to raise funds for the 2015 London Duathlon.
2.    The prize draw entry period is from 00:01 on 8 July until 23:59 on 31 July.
3.    All valid entries received within the entry period will be entered into a prize draw and one winning entry will be drawn independently and at random.
4.    If the winning entry is a team, the prize will be awarded to the owner of the page on the Website only.
5.    The winner of the prize draw will receive an Apple Sport Watch, 42mm silver aluminium case with blue sport band.
6.    The prize is subject to terms and conditions and no cash alternative will be offered.
7.    The winners agree to allow the Promoter to confirm their name, age and county of residence to other entrants.
8.    The winner’s name will be available upon request by sending a stamped addressed envelope to: Virgin Money Giving Set up a Page Prize Draw, Discovery House, Whiting Road, Norwich NR4 6EJ.
9.    Personal information provided by entrants will be used to administer the Prize Draw.
10.    The winners may be asked but are not under an obligation to participate in non-paid publicity.
11.    The Promoter reserves the right to modify, terminate, suspend or extend the Competition at any time without prior notice.
12.    Virgin Money Giving Limited is a company registered in England and Wales under company number 02733492, whose registered office is at Jubilee House, Gosforth, Newcastle upon Tyne, NE3 4PL (“Promoter”).

#FundraiserFriday: Death Valley Double

scott rhys

This July, Scott and Rhys Jenkins are aiming to become the first British people to ever run a Death Valley Double – 270 miles through the hottest place on earth in an attempt to set a Guinness World Record.

On July 14th, the brothers will run from Badwater Basin to Mount Whitney Portal in 120F to 130F temperatures. For the first leg, the boys will run along the 135 mile Badwater Ultramarathon route. They tell us that the reason for it being referred to as the toughest footrace on earth is “perhaps it’s because the tarmac heats up to around 200F and the risk of Heatstroke is so severe that we’ll need to drink around 64 gallons of waterOnce they complete the first leg, they will turn around and do the return route back to Badwater Basin bringing the total up to 270 miles, a feat which has been only attempted 5 times and never by a British person.

Scott and Rhys are taking on this challenge for two charities, Save the Children and Operation Smile. They say “children are our innocent and unfortunately around the world hundreds of thousands are born into poverty with little or no opportunity for their future. Alongside this over 200,000 per annum are born with serve cleft conditions which require surgery to fix. Operation Smile provide safe, effective reconstructive surgery for children born with these deformities and Save the Children offer kids a chance for a better and safer future! So in our opinion they are both amazing charities that deserve our unflinching support, hence why we will put ourselves literally through hell and back.

We asked the brothers what would keep them going during their challenge. They pointed out that hopefully Abby, their support driver, will be able to keep them going, as the fact that they’re going to Vegas once they finish.

You can support the brothers on this mammoth challenge via their Virgin Money Giving page.

As the boys say, “any donation, no matter how big or small is most welcome“.

Our first PRLS100 fundraising hero

imageThis August, Paul will be challenging himself by fundraising and riding in his first ever Prudential RideLondon-Surrey 100 for the event’s Charity of Year, Scope.

Paul’s son Adam was born with a rare brain condition and has battled physical and mental developmental delay since birth. Diagnosed with an umbrella diagnosis of cerebral palsy, he is heavily reliant on his family for the support and care that he needs every day.

On speaking to Paul on his inspiration to fundraise, he says “Adam is a popular, happy, cheeky child bursting with character and personality, but as a parent of a child with a disability, one of the critical concerns is a fear of the future. What will Adam’s life look like when he grows up? How can we ensure that he is able to get as much out of life as possible? As a result of Adam’s support network, we’ve been lucky enough to meet a range of brilliant kids and their families facing up to all kinds of challenges.”

This is thanks to charities like Scope, that exist to make Britain a place where disabled people have the same opportunities as everyone else. They provide support, information and advice to more than a quarter of a million disabled people and their families every year.

“We realised quickly that all of these kids have got potential to achieve meaningful things in their lives. Organisations like Scope enable this potential to be unlocked.”

You can support Paul via his Virgin Money Giving page and, like Paul, you too can become a fundraising hero for a great cause.

If you’re riding in the 2015 Prudential RideLondon-Surrey 100, set up your fundraising page today.

And if you already have a fundraising page, you can find tips to raise more here.

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