Are you up to the Challenge?
The Chilterns MS Centre is today launching a new virtual fundraising challenge that anybody can get involved in, to mark the start of their 35th birthday celebrations. Challenge 35 aims to raise money to support the running costs of the Centre, which have been severely affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Participants can choose their own challenge, as long as it revolves around the number 35. So you could run 35km, give something up for 35 days or do something 35 times. Anything is possible, as long as you can get sponsored for it.
The Centre supports over 550 people affected by MS, a life-long condition that affects how messages are passed from your brain to parts of your body. Symptoms can include chronic fatigue, loss of mobility, sight impairment and reduced bladder control. Such symptoms have a dramatic impact on everyday life and there is no cure. The Centre offers people therapy to help manage their symptoms, as well as emotional and practical support to continue to lead a fulfilling life. There are over 1800 people in the Chilterns area diagnosed with MS.
The charity, which provides all of its treatments for free, was set up 35 years ago as there was no ongoing, regular treatment for people with MS. It is now one of the largest MS therapy centres in the country, but relies on the generosity of its supporters to raise the vital funds to keep it going. COVID-19 meant all of its fundraising events had to be cancelled, meaning it has lost at least 40% of its annual income. It has continued to support people through the pandemic with virtual classes, appointments and workshops, but has still had ongoing costs throughout. Challenge 35 hopes to reduce this deficit.
When speaking about the charities first ever virtual event, Lauren Parker, Community and Events Fundraising Manager said:
“We’re very lucky to have received funding to allow us to make Challenge 35 happen this year. The current fundraising climate is so challenging so we’re hoping that people use this opportunity to support the Centre when we really need it. We rely on our community, and need their support to sustain our services, so Challenge 35 is a fun and simple way for them to get involved and raise vital funds for us. The team are so excited to see everyone taking on their own challenge, in a location of their choice, at a time that suits them, to help us celebrate our 35th birthday this September!”
Two members who benefit from the Centre’s support felt that they wanted to get involved and have already started their challenges. Sarah McCready decided she needed to get out and about at the start of lockdown, but couldn’t go anywhere because of her MS. She set about doing 30 laps of her garden in her wheelchair for 35 days. Come rain or shine she completed her challenge, despite the lack of energy and difficulty with her eyesight, made worse by the lack of being able to receive her usual treatment at the Centre.
She said: “I wanted to do something to help the Centre and also to give me a boost as well. I love my garden so this seemed like the right thing to do.”
Patrick Burke walks with great difficulty due to muscular fatigue and poor balance, caused by his MS. Despite this he plans to walk for an hour to raise money and hopes to walk 3.5km over the next month as he trains for his challenge.
He said: “The Chilterns MS Centre is a wonderful place for people affected by MS. The staff understand disability, pain and chronic fatigue as well as the physical and emotional problems of MS and provide supportive therapies and treatments.”
By taking on your own Challenge 35, you will be making such a difference to people affected by this incurable condition and will help them to continue to lead a healthy and happy life.
Visit challenge.chilternsmscentre.org to take part.