Sunday, 30 September 2012

Scleroderma and the Scleroderma Society

I ummed and erred for a while about whether I’d made the right choice in terms of charity. My last fundraiser was for a much bigger charity which I think a lot more people could identify with but I sometimes think that these bigger charities, while they do a huge amount of worthwhile and important work, steal the limelight from other, smaller, charities who struggle to do equally important work. It was partly this that made me decide to support the Scleroderma Society .

The fact that few people will have heard of the disease, let alone the charity, make my fundraising target extremely ambitious but I’m keen to do everything I can to meet the target, starting with explaining a little more about the condition and the work that the charity does.
What is Scleroderma?
Scleroderma (which comes from the Greek meaning ‘hard skin’) is a connective tissue disease that affects the skin and other major internal organs. Excess collagen is laid down in these organs which in turn results in scarring and reduced normal function of the affected organs. There are two main groups of scleroderma, and within each group there are further subsets.

1. Systemic sclerosis - the systemic form of scleroderma, which affects the internal organs as well as the skin.
2. Localised scleroderma - a type of scleroderma that affects specific areas of skin and underlying tissues, but does not involve the internal organs.
What do the Scleroderma Society do?
The Scleroderma Society was founded to help support people who have been diagnosed with scleroderma. They support thousands of people through their helpline, forums and publications as well as helping to fund vital research into the condition.

Their freephone helpline is run entirely by volunteers, the majority of whom have scleroderma themselves. They can't offer medical advice but can point you in the right direction for further information. They can also offer a place where you can talk to someone who really understands scleroderma and how it can impact on you, family members and friends.

How will my donation help the Scleroderma Society?
  • £10 will support the helpline for a day
  • £20 will supply a hospital with scleroderma information for a year
  • £50 will help support a local group
  • £100 will enable them to contact all MP's interested in health to update them on scleroderma
For more information about scleroderma or the work of the society I encourage you to visit their website. You will find a link on the right hand side of the website.

Introducing Vikki’s Charity Challenge 2013!

Hello blog, how are you? Long time no see. Sorry about that. Anyway welcome (back) one and all. For any new readers or for those who forgot, this blog was started back in 2009 to document my training and progress towards a charity challenge I carried out in 2010 of climbing Mount Kilimanjaro. That particular event feels like a lifetime ago now! The title of this post suggests something new is planned but before I get into details let me set out a few background details.
·        After Kilimanjaro my posts petered out and I took a break from running almost completely for six months to concentrate on completing an OU qualification and now despite having joined a running club , been running, climbing and taking part in races for the better part of a year I don’t feel I ever quite regained that level of fitness.
·         I’d like that level of fitness again.
·         Despite having entered many races that I could have fundraised for I’m very aware that there’s such a thing as fundraising fatigue and I am just not comfortable asking people for money continually, especially for small targets. I prefer to do things BIG.
This brings me on nicely to the main subject of this post. I feel enough time has passed that I can embark on a new charity challenge which will test (and hopefully improve) my fitness whilst raising awareness and funds for a cause I am particularly keen to support.
In 2013 I want to raise £3,000 for the Scleroderma Society by completing a series of events.
Scleroderma is a group of rare, chronic and progressive autoimmune diseases.  It causes inflammation and scarring, which eventually leaves skin thickened, muscles weakened and organs damaged. It can be difficult to diagnose and there’s no cure as yet. My aunt has been diagnosed with Scleroderma and I was ashamed to not have heard of it before so as well as raising funds for the charity I also want to raise awareness.

The events I have chosen to complete as part of this fundraising challenge will be
  1. Paris Half Marathon (TBC)
  2. London Marathon
  3. Tough Mudder
  4. Eton Sprint Triathlon
  5. Great London Swim (TBC)
It may seem like a bit of a mash of things but I’ve chosen these particular events in part because they’re difficult (for me at least) in their own right and also because I’ve been toying with completing most of them for some time. Doing them for charity provides me with the “now or never” push I need.
So between now and June 2013 I will be posting more information about the disease and the charity, details of my training and how it’s going, updates on my fundraising  and ways for you to get involved as well as more details about each event; my reasons for choosing them and reviews of how they went.
I’m incredibly excited about this challenge and more than a little bit scared but I look forward to sharing my journey with you.
I have a Just Giving page to allow everyone and anyone who is inspired by what I am doing to donate any money they can to The Scleroderma Society.