Posts Tagged 'cancer'

Whatever you do, be creative

“Being happy to be alive and urging for more progress with brain research is my #ReasontoRun

One thing we’ve learned this week is that when you’re fundraising, it’s really important that your donation requests, your story and your page stand out. If they are different, if they grip your supporters, you interest people and interested people make donations. If there’s anything you can do to really bump up your donations, it’s to captivate people with your creativity.

This week, we spoke to fundraiser Michael Nollet. He’s raised over £3500 so far for Brain Research Trust, who research neurological conditions such as brain tumours and Alzheimer’s Disease. We believe his fundraising has been successful because of how he shares his story on his blog.

Be unique

One way to grab people’s attention is to share your story your own way. Give it your own personality, and if you can, add photos to help people visualise it. Michael’s story worksMichael Nolet - Early 2006 well because he presents it not only in a blog, but in a comic strip that’s easily digestible, quirky and gets his point across.

Have fun with it

Don’t be afraid to share the positives of your story; the moments that kept you going, or made you smile and step back for a minute. Michael does this by taking one of his most vulnerable moments after his surgery, and turning it into something funny. It’s okay to laugh; if anything, it helps people connect with you.

Give people a reason to explore

Michael says, “Design a site people can surf around a bit with. Better they feel there’s more to explore – so long as it’s interesting – than that they’ve seen it all on first visit.” He does this by having separate tabs to help guide people to the content they want to read: ‘My Story’, ‘My Blogs’, ‘Gratitude’ and ‘DONATE’.

Find a thread

Michael says, “Create an excuse to keep blogging – whether it be milestones in your fundraising or simply a mile per blog.” This way your blogs are connected so people know what to expect, and they’re more likely to come back to read again and, with any luck, sponsor again. This way they can follow your whole journey.

Mix it up

“Keep your blog content varied; repeating the same sort of stories gets predictable which could mean people will stop following your blogs,” Michael tells us. His blogs vary from sharing his own experiences of having a brain tumour, to how the research can help so many different causes. It never feels like the same story, there’s always something new, a different angle, something fresh.

Keep it up

Michael says, “Get ready for an initial burst in sponsorship followed by a big drop off. Each blog’s worth lots of potential sponsorship, so work hard at them all.’ So if you make sure to post regularly, you can maintain people’s interest and keep the donations coming in. People can’t forget about you if you keep them in the loop. At the same time, each blog needs to have a purpose – post every day and you might lose people’s interest.

Share photos, not just links

Michael says, “Don’t just post links to your blog on Facebook – add photos.” This way your blog can reach more people, and also catch more people’s attention.

Help them understand

If your supporters can really understand what happened, they can understand your motivation. Michael lets his supporters into his memories, so they can really feel how he felt when he had a seizure. It’s the difference between just telling them what happened, and helping them feel as if it happened to them.

60 seconds. Thousands of aggressive, electrical charges force my fingers to move in random directions.  Someone else is in control – I’m a passenger in my own body. I want whatever’s taken over to stop. But the waves keep coming. If only I could stop this invasion

Give it some perspective

Michael shares how one of his friends – who also had a brain tumour – said “I have the MRI scans at home… and I have one framed on the wall. When I am having a really bad day I look at the scan and think if I’ve dealt with that – then it doesn’t seem as bad.” With his Michael Nolet - Stitched Upown scan in the blog, it shows the reality of his situation and helps you to really appreciate the everyday moments, and why his fundraising is so important.

Bring it back to fundraising

Michael often writes about his cause as a way to connect to his fundraising, like this excerpt from his blog:

“The good news is that the average brain generates around 50,000 thoughts per day. However, the bad news according to scientists is that disturbingly 70% of these thoughts in most people are apparently negative!

So with a cheeky smile, and in the words of my friend Tom Burmester, I say to you: Do something good! Sponsor Mike.”

Not got a lot of time?

Don’t worry, you can still take a few pointers from Michael. If your event is coming up soon, you could create a photo based blog with shorter written text, or you could write about the countdown itself, or maybe even as a way to let people know what’s going on in the run up to the day, and how things went on the day itself. You can put as much or as little into it as you like, but whatever you do say, don’t be afraid to be yourself with it.

Have you found a creative way to share your fundraising story? Share it with us on Facebook or @VMGiving


#fundraiserfriday: “It’s heartbreaking that we have to put a price on our child’s head”


In 2013, 19-month-old Bradley Lowery was diagnosed with stage four neuroblastoma, a cancer of the nervous system. Despite going into remission the following year after undergoing chemotherapy and operations to remove tumours, Bradley relapsed and his parents were told that antibody therapy in the US might be the only way to save him.

Bradley’s challenge

Bradley’s family and friends and the people of their local community in Sunderland began desperately trying to raise £700,000 to enable Bradley to receive the treatment which could save his life. Bradley’s mum, Gemma, admits she does not have the words to explain how she felt at Bradley’s relapse. Upon discovering he would have to keep receiving treatment, Bradley asked her “Why do I have to go to hospital? Why can’t I go to school and play with my friends?

Bradley’s fundraising is going from strength to strength with people up and down the country committing to helping. Bradley himself raised a massive £2000 having his head shaved while others have taken on multiple marathons, hosted charity football events and even taken on sponsored weight loss!

Gemma says “it’s heartbreaking that we have to put a price on our child’s head” but that Bradley tries to remain positive, insisting that he will “kick cancer’s butt again“.

How you can help

You can help get Bradley and his family to their incredibly important target by donating to Bradley’s fundraising page. Or, if you would like to get involved yourself, you can open a Virgin Money Giving page under Bradley’s campaign page and take on your own fundraising challenge.

#fundraiserfriday: “It won’t be an easy road for Kev”

blog headerAfter his brother Kevin was diagnosed with bowel cancer, Neil knew it wouldn’t be an easy road. He says;

“He has been prodded and poked in places he won’t want me to mention! He has had surgery to remove part of his bowel, giving him a new nickname of ‘Kev Semi-Colon’. He has a C-Section scar to empathise with the female species. He is currently undergoing 6 months of Chemotherapy to eliminate any traces of the cancer.”

What Neil may not have known at the time is that he and Kevin would end up cycling the 100 mile Prudential RideLondon-Surrey 100… dressed as women!

The cause

Neil points out that bowel cancer is the fourth most common cancer in the UK and affects around 1 in 19 women and 1 in 14 men. He adds that when diagnosed early at stage 1, more than nine out of ten (97%) people survive this type of cancer for five years or more. At stage 4, this drops to less than one in ten (7%).

Neil decided to take on his fundraising challenge for Beating Bowel Cancer, a charity which aims to raise awareness as well as campaigning for better screening processes for the disease.

blog body imageThe challenge

To help support his brother, Neil decided to take on the 2016 Prudential RideLondon-Surrey 100. To amplify the amount raised for charity as much as possible, Neil decided to set some targets.

If he managed to raise more than £500 he would do the race on a fold up bike, while if he raised over £1000 his brother Kevin would join him. As the total surpassed £5000, Neil and Kevin had to think up something even bigger. So in the end they donned their dresses and took on the mammoth cycle dressed as women (and cycled it on 1970s made fold up bikes with 3 gears!)

Neil tells us that the race was not as bad as they had expected and they completed it in 8 hours and 46 minutes, spurred on by comments such as “you could have shaved your legs” and “you look good from the back, but not so good from the front.”

Help support Neil and Kevin

You can help the brothers raise even more for this fantastic charity by donating to their fundraising page.

Someone Special: 1 million miles for Ellie, £1 million for those touched by cancer

ellie for blog

Fundraising can be an exceptionally personal thing. By the nature of fundraising, we pick a charity which means something to us and often, this is because of a connection to a loved one. This is why Virgin Money Giving offers the Someone Special functionality, whereby fundraisers can create a page enabling a community of people to fundraise together with Someone Special in mind, whether this be someone who is going through treatment, someone who is recovering from illness or injury or in memory of someone who has passed away.

This is what Michelle did when she decided that she wanted to fundraise in memory of her daughter, and best friend, Ellie MacDonald. Ellie, like more than 300,000 others per year in the UK, battled cancer; the disease which, in Michelle’s words, “has no respect for age, living standards, genetic make-up or geography“.

Shortly after Ellie died, at the age of 23, her boyfriend- Robert – shared Ellie’s ‘Bucket List’ with her family. When Michelle saw the heartbreaking yet inspirational and powerful point she had put top of the list, she knew she had to do something in Ellie’s name to help her positive and modest legacy live on:

1. Destroy Cancer

After the loss of Ellie, Michelle took to walking, feeling that when she had attained a certain number of steps, she might feel better. She tells us:

“On one of these walks I started thinking “How many miles do I need to walk before I feel better? One thousand, ten thousand, a million?”  I settled on a million as I really didn’t believe that any number of miles would really make me feel better but that number of miles was a huge challenge and surely would be enough. I returned home, grabbed the calculator and started working out how many miles I would need to do a day. Angus, Ellie’s father, confirmed my fear that this number would be impossible, telling me that the task would have been difficult even if I had started as soon as I was born. And then I had one of those rare lightbulb/eureka moments. I did not need to do a million miles on my own! I could do it with the help of Ellie’s friends and their friends”ellie for blog 2

The Fundraising begins

It was from this idea that Michelle’s decision to use a Virgin Money Giving Someone Special page was born. Since the page was opened, nine people who knew Ellie have created pages linked to Ellie’s Someone Special page – meaning that all the money raised on their fundraising pages comes together on Ellie’s page.

Michelle had decided to use Virgin Money Giving because it allowed her to fundraise for multiple charities. She says:

“I could have decided to give all of the money to Cancer Research, a very worthy cause in itself, but my experiences and the nine months spent with Ellie whilst she underwent her treatment made me want to do more than that.  The Maggie’s Centre next to Ninewells Hospital is a wonderful facility; I went in there on one of my lowest days and was shown compassion, friendship and given lunch.  That gave me the strength to carry on the rest of that day and the days to come knowing that I was able to go in whenever I needed to. The third beneficiary is Macmillan Cancer Support; I believe passionately that your surroundings can help your recovery, give you courage whilst going through treatment and make someone’s passing more bearable.

Michelle goes on to say that she loved the fact that the “Someone Special Page” was not a generic page and was a way of celebrating Ellie’s life, as well as the ease with which others can fund raise in Ellie’s name under the page’s umbrella.


Ellie grew up as a shy, modest girl but always setting herself challenges.” Michelle tells us, “She had an inner strength which meant that whatever she decided to do, she did and did for herself or for fundraising for good causes and never in order to brag.

Fundraising for Someone Special

If you want to fundraise with Someone Special in mind, whether this be in someone’s memory, for someone who is going through treatment or for someone who is in recovery, you can do this by setting up a page today.

#fundraiserfriday: Fundraising for CCLG

cclg image for blog

Today we have two #fundraiserfriday stars, both of whom are running the Virgin Money London Marathon for Children’s Cancer and Leukaemia Group (CCLG). Both have personal reasons for taking on this challenge and for wanting to raise as much money as possible for this great charity.

Celebrating Ava

Chris McCarthy is running the London Marathon in celebration of his daughter Ava’s 2 year remission.

Ava was diagnosed with a stage 3 Wilms tumour, with complications, when she was two. These complications meant that a standard treatment plan might not be effective. CCLG members’ research, ava cclgbacking and knowledge was behind Ava’s treatment plan. In 2013, she completed her first year post-chemotherapy, cancer free. Ava’s parents, Chris and Kerry set up ‘Ava’s Pink Quest‘ to raise money for
several organisations, including CCLG, who have helped Ava in her journey as they wanted to give something back. Since starting their fundraising, Chris, Kerry and various friends and family members have completed a wide range of fundraising events, from skydives to runs, abseiling to fundraising parties. Ava’s fund at CCLG is used to support our work into renal tumour research.

After 34 weeks on a combination of three different types of chemotherapy and two weeks of radiotherapy, on Ava’s 3rd birthday she received her final treatment. Ava is now 5 and has successfully passed the crucial 2 year window post-chemo, and we would like to say thank you to CCLG for assisting in putting a plan into place that saved our daughter’s life.” Chris and Kerry McCarthy.

You can support Chris and Kerry in saying thank you by donating to their Virgin Money Giving page.

Remembering Toti

toti cclgClare Lumsden is running for Toti who died suddenly and tragically from Leukaemia in July 2014. Since then, his family have been tirelessly raising funds for CCLG in Toti’s memory, to support research into childhood leukaemia. They have now raised nearly £140,000 which will fund CCLG’s first Toti Worboys Paediatric Leukaemia Project Grant, which will make funds available to researchers to improve their
understanding of the disease and help improve the outlook for children. Fundraising in Toti’s memory is showing no signs of slowing, with the current list including the Virgin Money London Marathon, the Boston UK MarathonBath Half Marathon, canoeing from Stratford to Bristol, cycling from John O’Groats to Lands End, a golf day, a clay shoot, school events, work events and Scott the plumber is even shaving off his beard! To support this amazing work, you can donate to Clare’s fundraising page.

How you can help

As well as donating to these fantastic fundraisers’ pages, you can make a donation directly to CCLG or, if you’re inspired to take on a fundraising challenge yourself, you can set up a page to fundraise for this great charity.


#fundraiserfriday: Hannah wants to say Thank You

hannah for blog

Today’s #fundraiserfriday is Hannah Tomes, who is running the Virgin Money London Marathon for Queen Elizabeth Hospital Birmingham (QEHB) to thank them for all the help and support they gave to her Gran, Oma.

Hannah tells us “I decided I wanted to run the London Marathon a few years ago, but applied and didn’t get a place. I was lucky this year and managed to snag one! It’s just the ultimate challenge both fitness and endurance wise, and I’ve been wanting to do it for a few years now, although I’m not much of a natural runner so the challenge is massive!

Hannah chose to run for QEHB to thank them for the “amazing work” that they did in helping her Gran – as well as countless others – through  really tough times. In 2012, Oma was battling Oesophageal cancer in 2012 and relied heavily on the work of QEHB. QEHB provides direct clinical services to nearly 800,000 patients every year, serving a regional, national and international population. Hannah says “They did so much for her, and I can’t find words to thank them enough – we wouldn’t have her here today without them, and for that, I owe them the world (and a little bit more!)“.

When asked about her training, she said that the hardest part so far has been the motivation to get going when it’s cold and rainy outside. But she adds “it’s also very rewarding when you realise that each time you’re getting a bit better.” And of course, Hannah’s main motivation comes from the charity she’s working hard to support. “The money I raise will go towards giving other families more time with their loved ones. That’s what keeps me going when its grey and cold and the last thing I feel like doing is going for a run!

What Hannah is most looking forward to at the finish line is seeing her family and boyfriend – “hopefully with a large gin waiting for me!”  – and the prospect of having hit the £1500 target she chose for QEHB.

You can help Hannah reach her target by donating to her Virgin Money Giving page, or if you want to fundraise for QEHB, you can set up your own page.

#charitytuesday: Coppafeel!


This #charitytuesday, we bring you an extremely important video from CoppaFeel!

They tell us “Knowing your boobs could save your life. We educate 18-30s on the importance of checking their boobs & knowing the signs & symptoms of breast cancer. Isn’t it about time you checked yours?

So let Rochelle Hume and Greg James talk you through how to check and what to look for in this 2 minute video.

How you can help

You can help CoppaFeel! continue their fantastic work by fundraising for them or making a donation.

Blog categories

Quick Links

Find us on Facebook Follow us on Twitter Subscribe to our RSS feed Watch Youtube Videos Watch Vimeo Videos Our photos on Flickr

Latest Tweets

Photos from Flickr