Why did you decide to fundraise for the Oral Health Foundation?
My school friend Charlie Rees was diagnosed with mouth cancer late in 2016, she put a short video message out on Facebook saying she needed support from her friends to help her fight and help her through. I got in touch and said, “I’m right behind you girly, but tell me what can I do?”.
Charlie had begun her own very personal campaign “You’ll Never Shut Me Up” to raise awareness of mouth cancers, it was her mission even to just help one person – she became an internet legend, vlogging her journey in her very individual style with great humour, bravery and raw honesty.
She quickly built up a huge following and messages of support for her and her fight as well as thanks from fellow cancer patients who were inspired and encouraged by her. It was after one particular text chat that she told me she was going to begin working with The Oral Health Foundation to further widen awareness and move her campaign on. I run ‘for fun’ and suggested running a half marathon to fundraise and get The Oral Health Foundations name ‘out there’. She was totally for it and I met Gavin and David from the Oral Health Foundation when I went to see Charlie in hospital and it all went from there.
Can you describe what your fundraising event was?
I ran the Vienna half marathon (13.1miles) in April 2017 wearing my Oral Health Foundation running vest.
Why did you choose to do this?
I had laid off running a little while and needed a challenge. I had discussed doing the race with some running chums but knew I was nowhere near ready for the distance. So, what better motivation could I have than to help a friend and help a charity she cared for simultaneously!
What was your best fundraising moment?
I have run for a charity in the past – in fact the very reason I took up running was to complete a marathon and raise money in memory of my three and half year-old god daughter.
However, training in my ‘mouth cancer action’ vest seemed to cause vocal reactions as I pounded the pavements and parks of South East London…a first! I had ‘great charity’ shouted by a dog walker, a man in his garden beamed at me and called out ‘a wonderful cause young lady, keep going’ and on very hot day as I joined hundreds of others doing the Paddock wood Half marathon (I did 11miles of the course as a final long training run) a runner came up alongside me and said ‘Thank you for fundraising for the these guys, I lost my best friend to mouth cancer, good luck and good on you!’, he trotted off that exchange stayed with me for a number of miles strengthening my resolve and stride.
What top tips do you have for fundraisers to be?
First rule-Don’t be afraid to ask! Add an email banner to your signature with your challenge/goal and your fundraising page web address, use social media, start a blog-make it witty/engaging/informative whatever but get people
Interested in your cause. Boost your fundraising by organising an event-a raffle at work/a quiz, cake sale, etc. I ran a sweep-stake at my day job with some prizes. Involve friends/family the more people you can spread the word to the more donations you’ll get. Update your social media but don’t overdo it, people love seeing someone trying hard & overcoming obstacles.
Post photos and gentle reminders…countdown to the big day etc. Even once the event has happened post an update & your fundraising page link, a lot of donations happen when people know you’ve done it, it’s a nice way to be congratulated. Don’t give up and be inventive.