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#fundraiserfriday: My mum will be cheering me on in spirit and in mind

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“My #ReasontoRun is to help prevent more needless lives being taken from Sepsis so my mums life will not have been in vain”

In under three months, tens of thousands of people will take to the streets of London for the biggest single day annual fundraising event in the world; the Virgin Money London Marathon. One of those people will be Peter Izard who is taking on the challenge in memory of his mother who died at the age of 50 from Sepsis.

The charity

Peter tells us that his mother died “far too young” at the age of 50. He adds

“She lead such a fulfilling life and ensured she lived it to the full. I was only 22-years-old when she passed and always wanted to ensure her memory lived on for my siblings and her future grandchildren, who she never had the chance to see.”

Over 44,000 people die from Sepsis yearly and many of those deaths are entirely preventable. The charity Peter is fundraising for, The Sepsis Trust, aims to train medical professions in spotting the signs early and thus delivering the necessary medical care to save lives.

The challenge

Peter chose the Virgin Money London Marathon for this challenge after completing the event last year and deciding to really push himself again, lowering his time while also enjoying the atmosphere on the day. He adds

“Few runners can say they have run consecutive London Marathons and I want to experience the day knowing what to expect with the benefit knowing what lies ahead”

Despite the freezing weather, Peter tells us that his training is going to plan after overcoming a tight hamstring and some blisters. Not content with the one long run, he has booked himself on two half marathons on the run up.

When asked what will keep him going during the training and the run itself, Peter says he often thinks of his Mum, the good times they had “and her wonderful personality“.

“Her belief in me as a son and her support to back me in whatever choice in life I made [will keep me going]. I know she is looking down on me now, cheering me on all the way and she will be with me on day in spirit and in mind”

How you can help

You can support Peter’s fundraising for The Sepsis Trust by donating to his fundraising page.

Planned website maintenance this weekend

As part of our ongoing commitment to improve our services, we’ll be upgrading our payment systems on Sunday 29 January.

The really good news is that this will:

Make it quicker and easier for your donors to donate
Give your donors a first class experience across all devices

As a result our website will be unavailable between: 14:00 on Sunday 29 January and 08:00 on Monday 30 January.

We apologise for any inconvenience this may cause.

As ever, if you have any questions please call our team on 03456 01 10 45* or email us at theteam@virginmoneygiving.com

We’re here 09:00 to 17:30, Monday to Friday.

Thank you.

The Virgin Money Giving Team

Sticking to the New Year resolutions

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Need a hand sticking to your New Year’s resolution?

Feeling guilty after too many mince pies last Christmas, and determined to get in shape this year? Had too many weekends binge watching the latest Netflix trend and want to get active? Or maybe you got a little too merry last year and want to put down your wine glass for Dry January.

Whilst picking your resolution might be easy, sticking to it can be hard.

Get your New Year’s resolution off to a good start, by giving yourself another reason to keep going. Instead of just running for you, run to make a difference to the people or causes you care about, and ask your friends and family to sponsor you for every step you take. Instead of just giving up your glass of wine, donate what you would have spent. Instead of just giving up your couch potato habits, donate your time to volunteering.

Of course, your first step is to set up your Virgin Money Giving fundraising page.

Set yourself a goal

Decide what you want to achieve and share it as much as you can. Let your friends and family know what you’re doing and why. Write it down, put it on your fundraising page, your social media pages, or even post-it notes round your house or office. Never forget what you want to achieve and, even more importantly, why you want to achieve it. What difference will you make?

Be specific

You want to keep yourself motivated, so keep timescales in mind. Factor in that some weeks, things will crop up and get in the way. If you want to start running, set yourself a distance you want to run or if you give something up, decide whether you go cold turkey or reduce the amount per week.

Don’t give up

Some days it will be harder than others, but don’t give up if you hit a bump in the road. Just because you didn’t meet your target or slipped up one day, doesn’t mean your resolution is over. Nobody’s perfect. What matters is that you pick yourself up and try again the next day. You can do it!

Celebrate your successes

Celebrating your successes will make it easier to recognise what you have achieved so why not set yourself milestones and celebrate each one? Think about doing a weekly shout out of what you’ve achieved to remind yourself to keep going, and to ask others to support and sponsor you.

Make it a game

See if you can compete with yourself by remembering where you used to be and comparing that to where you are now. Remember the difference and keep striding towards it. Team up with friends, compete against each other and support each other. You could do a weekly tally of who had the most steps, who had the most donations, or who completed a whole week.

Get committed

Remind yourself every day why you’re doing what you’re doing and the difference it will make. Find out what your resolution will do for your charity, what difference you could make to them and the people they support. Find out what your time and donations means to them, and share it with your supporters.

If you haven’t already, set up your Virgin Money Giving fundraising page and stick it to those New Year resolutions.

#fundraiserfriday: Laura lost her husband 5 days after sinus pain

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In May 2016, Laura Barley‘s husband Euan complained of sinusitis and ear ache. Five days later, he had died from what turned out to be meningitis. Euan left behind a shocked and devastated Laura and their one-year-old son, Lucas.  Laura was determined to do something for a charity which could stop others from going through the same – Meningitis Now – and conquer the Great Wall of China.

The charity

Meningitis Now‘s vision is a future where no one in the UK loses their life to meningitis and everyone affected gets the support they need to rebuild their lives.

Since Euan’s death, Meningitis Now have supported Laura and Lucas. Laura says “I want to help raise awareness about meningitis, I often wonder if we had been more aware could things have turned out differently?

The challenge

Laura tells us that she was looking through the featured fundraising events on the Meningitis Now website and the Great Wall challenge immediately appealed to her as Euan had spent part of his life in the Far East and China. Laura adds that incredibly, the Great Wall was one of the things she and Euan had discussed on their first date! She says “I felt it was a perfect thing to do in his honour.”laura-barley-for-blog-2

The training involved in such a challenge is significant! Laura and her team (cousin Emma and friends Alison and Lauren) – who Laura says have bonded well over their training – will have to be pretty fit to conquer the steps of the Great Wall.

When asked What Laura is most looking forward to about the challenge, she says she is most looking forward to seeing the finishing line and her son, Lucas. “The sense of achievement will be fantastic and knowing we have done something so challenging for such a good cause will, I’m sure, be quite overwhelming,” she says, adding;

“Completing this in Euan’s honour will be a wonderful incentive too. I know he would be immensely proud.”

How you can help

You can sponsor Laura and her team by visiting their Virgin Money Giving page and help to raise funds so that others might not have to go through what happened to Lucas and Laura.

10 Virgin Money London Marathon places competition winners

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In October of this year, we launched a competition to give away 10 places to run the 2017 Virgin Money London Marathon and we are delighted today to announce the ten winners who will be storming up the Mall on the 23rd April.

A huge congratulations to:

Karen Slater
Tiago Cleto Machado
Emily Cox
Claire Wragg
Tracey Roberts
Steven Brown
Paul Brewer
Angela Parry
Karen Unger
Alannah Rohan-Wild

Don’t forget, if you’re running the 2017 Virgin Money London Marathon you could win one of 600 cases of wine and an exclusive VIP upgrade including accommodation and entry to an after party simply by setting up your London Marathon Virgin Money Giving page and getting a donation!

#fundraiserfriday: From finding out I was expecting a baby to saying goodbye to my inspirational little lady

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In the short space of 18 months, Victoria Guthrie went from the elation of finding out she was expecting a new baby to saying goodbye her ‘inspirational little lady’. Victoria and Henrietta share today’s #fundraiserfriday star.

Henrietta’s story

After a normal pregnancy, baby Henrietta surprised everyone with her quick entry to the world, which revealed that she had Noonan syndrome and an extensive list of life limiting conditions. These included JMML which is a form of Leukaemia, Tetralogy of Fallot and bi-ventricular hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, characterised as the thickening of both sides of her heart muscle. Henrietta was unable to feed naturally which meant that although Victoria and Henrietta were able to have 9 months of ‘big girl sleepovers’ at a children’s hospital, 7 months of which were in an intensive care unit, Henrietta never got the chance to go home with her devoted family.

Cardiomyopathy UK

During her time with Henrietta in hospital, Victoria saw a lot of incredible charities doing amazing things for the seriously sick children around her but noticed that there were fewer donations given to cardiac babies like Henrietta. Due to the devastating news that Henrietta’s prognosis was a life expectancy of less than 12 months, Victoria felt it was vital that Henrietta experience as much as she could within the hospital walls and that “seeing some children receive virtually nothing, particularly on Christmas day in ICU” is an image she will carry with her forever. Victoria vowed then that she would find a way to help those living with cardiomyopathy and help people understand that heart conditions aren’t just found in the ageing or with poor lifestyles.henrietta-2

Taking on the London Marathon

As a way of coping with the death of her daughter, Victoria turned to running, inspired by her youngest daughter who had become fixated with Mo Farrah. During one longer run, Victoria decided that running the London Marathon would be a great way to honour her “little lady” and teach Henrietta’s siblings that good things can come out of tragedy. She adds “such an inspirational and aspirational event can challenge you personally whilst also allowing you to raise much needed funds for charities like Cardiomyopathy UK.

Victoria tells us that finding time to train can be very challenging at the best of times but with a young family of 4, Victoria’s training has been a full family effort. Rising as early as 4am, with any lie-ins being replaced with long runs and hill sessions.

Victoria’s motivation

If you ask Victoria what will keep her running, even in her bleakest moments, the answer is simple: love.

“All I want is people to feel supported and not to suffer alone, whether they are the patient or the family. We know first-hand that a diagnosis can rip your world apart. Everyone affected deserves the support of Cardiomyopathy UK – to know it’s always there for you. And with Cardiomyopathy affecting people of all ages and being the main cause of sudden death in young people under 35, its work is vitally needed.”

How you can help

You can support Victoria’s challenge in honour of Henrietta by donating to her Virgin Money Giving page. Every penny raised will help to make a huge difference:

  • £7 pays for a 10 minute call to a specialist helpline nurse,
  • £10 pays for 3 families who have a child with cardiomyopathy to get the right information,
  • £20 pays for 4 people to receive a ‘living with cardiomyopathy’ pack,
  • £60 pays for 150 people newly diagnosed to get detailed information from the website,
  • £150 pays for a doctor or nurse to be trained at the annual conference.

#fundraiserfriday: The toughest two years of Ashley’s life

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In the space of 16 months, Ashley Davies lost both her parents to one of the more increasingly prevalent diseases in the UK; Alzheimer’s disease. Despite suffering from rheumatoid arthritis herself, Ashley decided to run the event that she had always watched on television with her dad, Tom; the Virgin Money London Marathon.

Ashley’s story

Ashley tells us that her mother, Joyce, had been very poorly with Alzheimer’s for quite a few years being cared for by Tom when, cruelly and tragically, Tom developed vascular dementia. Upon realising the couple could no longer live independently, they both were placed into what Ash describes as “a lovely care home“, but very sadly, after a short battle, her father passed away in June 2013 followed by her mother in October 2014. She tells us in no uncertain terms, “These were the toughest 2 years of my life“.

Alzheimer’s Society

Upon deciding to take on the London Marathon, something that her father had always believed she could take on, it was a no brainer for Ashley choose ash-and-terryAlzheimer’s Society as the charity to support. The Alzheimer’s Society “fights for a better world for people with all types of dementia takes a wide range of forms“. There are
currently 850,000 people with dementia in the UK, with numbers set to rise to 1 million by 2025.

Training for the big day

Ash’s training is being supported by Flyers Southend, her local running group. They are incredible supportive and Keith Passingham, who founded “the Flyers”, has
devised a walk/run programme to enable Ashley to train despite her rheumatoid arthritis. Ashley says

“I will never give in, my determination to complete this challenge is so strong as I know my Dad and Mum will be looking down cheering every step I take.”

You can support Ashley

Help Ashley raise as much as possible for Alzheimer’s Society by donating to her fundraising page.


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