Monday, 6 June 2016

#tougHGirls do the Tough Mudder by Beci Goodrick

On Saturday 21st May I did one of the craziest, most exhausting and most exhilarating things I've ever done: Tough Mudder Midlands. 11.1m of mud, hills, water, ice, walls and electric shocks. £1111 made for PSS! Not bad for a day's work (and 6 months of training).
On the morning of the event my teammate and fellow PSS volunteer Emma Watford and I met up, donned our #tougHGirls temporary tattoos and headed for the start line. I thought I was nervous before but it turns out I didn't know the meaning of nerves until this!
Some of the obstacles were incredibly mentally challenging. The walls especially I found difficult, not made easier by the fall on my face - I have some excellent bruises! 
Still, the thought of raising so much money kept us going! And as Emma rightly pointed out, if we can survive HG, we can survive anything!

Friday, 20 May 2016

Tough Mudder Midlands is a matter of hours away and I’m packing up my HG hero, Steve and HG survivor, 14 month old Sienna and we’re heading for Belvoir Castle to tackle what they say is ‘probably the toughest event on the planet’, to raise money for the amazing charity Pregnancy Sickness Support.

Today the route was released. A 12 mile mud run punctuated with obstacles named according to their 25 different shades of sadism. It kicks off with Skid Marks and Sewer Rat, and after scaling and abseiling fences and climbing over hay bales, crawling through a dark tunnel of muddy water, and wading across a swamp, I’ll look *a lot less* sexy than any characters E L James could dream up. This is definitely not Fifty Shades of Grey; there’s no safe word, no ‘out’. After those five obstacles there’s another 20 to conquer… And my team mate, fellow PSS volunteer Beci (see previous post) has my permission to push me over any precipice on the course that might stop me in my tracks. I’ve trained too hard not to feel well ready for all of the challenges the course throws at me. Although I’m guessing that the 10 tonnes of ice they load Arctic Enema with won’t be the biggest turn on… or maybe Electroshock Therapy.

Aside from having trained hard, my mindset is this: I love being fit enough to take on a Tough Mudder. It’s just 14 months since I limped away from pregnancy-long hyperemesis gravidarum and the early delivery of my tiny baby. I spent long, lonely months trapped at home by extreme pregnancy sickness, fantasising about being able to feel the buzz of getting my heart rate up rather than how I was going to keep a cocktail of anti-sickness drugs down; to leap into water rather than struggle to wash my hair or brush my teeth in it because its smell(?!) made me gag. And to make Steve proud of me after all those months of picking up the pieces of me.

This event comes a week after international HG awareness day and the Pregnancy Sickness Support charity’s annual conference. The experiences that flooded my social media feeds and that were shared first hand by former HG sufferers are still ringing in my ears – there’s so much heart breaking loss surrounding HG pregnancies; from the loss of the long hoped-for glow of pregnancy, loss of dignity at incessant puking and peeing and being unable to care for yourself, to the tragic losses from ‘therapeutic’ termination, prematurity and stillbirth. The PSS charity is working very hard to support women and families enduring this and to improve the support and treatment they receive in the UK. Every penny that people sponsor me is supporting the charity to alleviate some of this hardship.

If you would like to sponsor me, my fundraising page is here. Thank you. 

Monday, 18 April 2016

Beci's Tough Mudder - Training well underway

In October my friend Kim and I decided to sign up for the Midlands Tough Mudder race. This seemed like a fun plan at the time. A little over a month away now, I'm starting to wonder what I've let myself in for! Our little team has since been joined by another PSS volunteer Emma Watford.


For those unfamiliar with Tough Mudder it's basically a mud obstacle run. Our event is roughly 12 miles around Belvoir Castle, Grantham and includes obstacles happily entitled Electroshock Therapy, Arctic Enema, Birth Canal and Crybaby (I'm led to believe this involves tear gas!) Have a look at the photos of previous events, it should give an idea of which are which!

Training has been going pretty well, though I think I underestimated how much time it would take up! Interspersed with running is cardio sessions (Zumba, circuits) and strength training (strength yoga, lots and lots of squats, weights). I can now at least run the 12 miles! Honestly the hardest thing is the mental barriers we are all trying to break. I found myself running around muddy puddles but now force myself through them! 

Still, every bit of training will make it easier on the day! And hopefully we will make a good sum for Pregnancy Sickness Support, which is the point when all is said and done! If you would like to sponsor me, my fundraising page is here. Thank you!

Wish us luck (I fear we will need it)!


Monday, 24 August 2015

Anita's Big Swim


Hyperemesis Gravidarum – two words I didn’t know until August 2010 when our daughter was expecting her first child. However the severity of this condition soon became all too apparent when she was hospitalised several times during her pregnancy. 
It robs women of the absolute joy of expecting their first baby and makes them dread (if considering at all) any future pregnancies.
Swimming is my newly rediscovered passion since retiring two years ago. I started slowly ending the summer with a 1 mile distance at the Great Scottish Swim last August. I enjoyed it thoroughly and challenged myself to do more Great Swims in 2015. I signed up for 3 swims before our daughter announced she was expecting again. Fingers crossed she would be fine…. No such luck sadly. 
Living 400 miles away there was little other than moral support I could give her, so I decided to make the swims sponsored events. Not only to raise money for PSS but also to raise more awareness amongst my friends and acquaintances about this life threatening condition/illness. My target was set at £500 which I have to this date surpassed with the help of the PSS Awareness day Coffee afternoon where I also raffled off one of my quilts.
Training has been going on all year either in the pool or in Loch Lomond. Yes even during the winter I dipped in, just as well as with the dreadful summer we have had up here, the temperature has not risen much above 13.5C all summer. 
My last and biggest challenge is next Saturday when I have entered the 5km swim at the Scottish Great Swim in Loch Lomond. I have swum around Incailloch Island this week which is around 4km so I feel very confident that I will reach the end before the 2 hour deadline is up and I have to endure the indignity of being fished out ahead of the finishing line. 
I will be cheered on by my 4 ½ year old granddaughter and her now 2 month old sister and their mother. All healthy, wonderful and gorgeous HG survivors.

Monday, 1 June 2015

Beci's Big Brew 2015


Having been a Volunteer Supporter for Pregnancy Sickness Support for a couple of years I decided that this year I would do my bit of fundraising for them and hold a Big Brew on 16th May. I created an event on Facebook, promised my friends as much cake as they could eat in 3 hours and started begging anyone I knew who owned a business for raffle prizes!



My mum suggested the raffle as an extra way to raise money. I ended up with some lovely prizes including a month’s worth of Zumba vouchers, handmade fudge voucher (thank you Sam Sorrell), free entry into a local National Trust property, an Avon giftset and a massage gift voucher (thank you Lois Slocombe). A friend of mine who runs a greetings card business also came along and offered to donate 10% of money taken to PSS.


The day before my Big Brew, HG Awareness Day, my mother in law kindly offered to take my ‘helpful’ 3 year old off my hands for the day. How I would have been ready with her around I simply don’t know! The whole day was spent baking and cleaning, interspersed with spamming social media with HG awareness posts and a mad dash round all my local supermarkets to find one ingredient I needed for one of my cakes (how hard can poppy seeds be to find, turns out very!). I baked a hazelnut, pear and dark chocolate cake, a coconut cake and a citrus poppy seed cake. I’m not much of a baker so was exceptionally proud of myself but must admit I cheated and bought scones! A friend of mine who also suffered with HG made some delicious rainbow cupcakes decorated in PSS colours for which I’ll be eternally grateful!




Happily on the day of my event the sun was shining and we were all able to go out in the garden and enjoy it! I was so touched by how many of my family and friends turned out to support a cause so close to my heart. Even those that couldn’t make it generously donated or bought raffle tickets. I was also so pleased to hear how many conversations were going on about HG, so as well as raising money it has helped inform people too.



I had always said that I would be happy to raise around £100 so when I added up the money and found we made £197.70 I was over the moon! I really enjoyed hosting a Big Brew and will definitely be doing it again next year!


Monday, 22 December 2014

2014 – What a Year!

Our dedicated volunteers have worked so hard this year to raise funds for our work, increased awareness of hyperemesis and above all supported woman at their most desperate and difficult times... And many of them will continue to dedicate their time and energy to ensure sufferers do not feel even more alone on Christmas day. It's a day which many women report increases the feelings of isolation and being misunderstood as they are surrounded by loved ones who don't understand and smells of food which make the whole thing worse. Our volunteers have been there and they understand.

It's been an incredible year of media attention and award nominations bringing Hyperemesis Gravidarum into the spotlight and raising awareness about it's severity. Our volunteer network has supported nearly 300 women. The helpline and email support has helped hundreds more and the forum is providing support to well over 1,000 women!

On top of support we have worked hard to raise the profile of services such as IV at Home and IV Day Clinics and encouraged more and more hospital trusts to improve their services and guidelines. We've collaborated on research and developed partnerships with other key organisations. 2015 will see more and more of this progress with Greentop Guidelines coming out, our Healthcare Professional Conference in May and further growth of the Support Network.

To finish off 2014 and to honour the work of our volunteers, here is some of the feedback we've received from the women they have supported this year...

[My Volunteer] was amazing. We texted all the way through my pregnancy. She was an amazing support. My pregnancy was truly hellish; and she was the only one who I could speak to that really understood.”

Invaluable text support in my darkest hours during my pregnancy. Information about her personal experience which helped me significantly and just someone on the other end of the phone that knew what I was going through.”

[My volunteer] maybe didn't know at the time how much a text once per day simply asking "how are you feeling today" helped me so much. I'm not sure if I could describe it enough in words how much [My Volunteer] was supporting me, and how much it meant to me. It was like she was my walking stick when I needed to get up and walk/ shower, and my pillow when I needed to rest. We had all of our contact over text, and when I started to feel better around week 20 - I asked if we could have a call as I wanted to thank her from the bottom of my heart. She still texts me every so often to check in and ask me how I'm doing, and its as if she is just as excited as me for my little ones arrival next year. I'm so grateful for PSS and [My Volunteer's] support.”

When we spoke it was as if she was there by my side, fighting for my cause. I felt very weak and unsure what was happening at the time and felt such a sense of relief that she, and PSS were there to support me. Fantastic charity, and people who work for PSS.”

She's been amazing! She's helped me at my lowest with HG & as I had 2 previous losses, she's been there as an emotional support when I've been petrified I'd lose again!”

She [my volunteer] is amazing and really helped me over come many fears with her encouragement. She has been an angel.”

I didn't feel alone in my experience and suffering anymore and realised the sickness wasn't due to doing something wrong or not being strong enough”

THANK YOU! We have a beautiful healthy baby girl.”

This is a lifesaver of a charity.”



To all our dedicated volunteers, all the women suffering at the moment and all our supporters around the globe, have a wonderful Christmas and a Happy New Year...


...And lets all work together to make 2015 even more spectacular!


Wednesday, 29 October 2014

Fundraising Ideas - How can YOU help?

As we've previously mentioned here on the blog, we desperately need funds to continue providing support services and to develop our work even further. However we currently receive no external funding and so we rely entirely on donations.

Over the past couple of years we have seen an increase in donations, which has enabled us to develop our Support Network thus far, and we would like to thank everyone who has taken the time to raise funds for us. As one of our volunteers wrote in a recent guest post, every little bit helps and it doesn't take much to make a real difference, if everyone gets involved!

But we know it can be difficult sometimes to know just how you can help. What can you do that will make a difference? How can you fit it in around increasingly busy lives, around work and family commitments, and during a time when many people are struggling to make ends meet themselves?

Well, the answer is that there is a lot you can do. And most of it is really easy too. We've compiled a list of some of our favourites, which we hope get you started!

So how can you help?

  • Consider setting up a monthly donation to PSS via direct debit. You can do this easily via Virgin Give Money. It does not have to be much – just £3 per month (the cost of a cup of coffee and a cake) will go a long way! In fact since we discussed this at our annual conference earlier this month, PSS has increased its monthly donations by £45 thanks to a handful of delegates setting up monthly donations. 
  • When shopping online, try and use systems such as Easy Fundraising  and Give as You Live . These systems are so easy to use and do not cost you a penny! You simply sign up, choose PSS as your charity, and download a little widget. Every time you shop online at a participating store (you’ll be surprised at how many stores are involved in this), it will ask you if you wish to turn donations on… if you click yes, the store will donate a percentage of your total spend with them to PSS. This percentage varies between stores, most give around 1.5-2% but some give up to a staggering 8-15% and all at no extra cost to you!
  • If you attend any local groups, or know of any independent local businesses, ask if they would be willing to have a donation pot for PSS. This means that when people visit and see the pot they may consider giving some of their spare change to charity. A local maternity clinic or ward may also consider having a donation pot.
  • If you work, find out whether your employer would allow you to hold a fundraising event for PSS. Earlier this month we received over £600 from Home Loan Management in Skipton that was raised during such a fundraising drive. Many employers will also consider “match funding”, which means they will match whatever you raise, thereby doubling your donation. Large organisations such as supermarkets also often have fundraising initiatives that their employees can take part in, so it is always worth checking with your employer if there are opportunities available.
  • Consider getting the whole family involved in some form of sponsorship. We’ve had supporters complete sponsored runs and walks, but we haven’t really seen many HG survivors (as in the children) taking part. People are often very generous when children decide to do a sponsored activity for charity, and so you could do a sponsored toddle with preschool aged children (perhaps with a local parents group) or a sponsored bike ride with older children who have just learned to ride unaided. We even know of someone whose 4 year old did his own “mini triathlon” last year for Sports Relief.
  • Make the most of seasonal events… Christmas is coming up and that can be a great opportunity for fundraising ideas. You could hold a craft stall with Christmas gifts. Or if you don’t want to send Christmas cards this year, why not donate the money you would have spent on them to PSS – quite a few people choose to do this, it seems. Another fantastic idea was suggested at the conference by one of our delegates – why not set up a stand somewhere and offer to wrap Christmas presents for people in return for donations. It’s easy to come by cheap (or free) wrapping supplies – a lot of people have some leftovers they would be willing to donate or shops may donate some for a good cause. And with increasingly busy lives, a lot of people would happily pay a donation to get their gifts wrapped for them, saving them time in the run up to Christmas. Finding a place to do this may be difficult, but a local church hall or a drop off and pick up point at your child’s school or nursery may be an option too. 
This list is far from exhaustive and there are plenty more ideas out there that you could use to fundraise for us. Why not see what other people are doing and see if it's something you'd like to try too?

As we've said before, every little bit really does help and we are grateful for each and every donation, no matter how small. And if you're planning a fundraising event, do let us know, as we can showcase it here on the blog for you.

Happy Fundraising!