Friday, 15 December 2017

Icy Dip

So what are your plans for Boxing Day this year? Will you be eating up all the leftovers or heading out to score a bargain in the Boxing Day sales? (And am I the only one who remembers when these were actually New Year's Day sales?) Perhaps you will be snuggled in your onesie watching TV, or that DVD you got in your Christmas stocking?

I'm a little in awe of Amanda's plans, though. Whilst we're all enjoying Boxing Day in our favourite way, she will be heading out to Tynemouth for a freezing plunge into the North Sea, raising money for Pregnancy Sickness Support in possibly the coldest way ever devised! 

One of Amanda’s best friends, Jane, suffered from Hyperemesis Gravidarum in both her pregnancies. It was particularly bad in her first pregnancy, during which she was often hospitalised and/or bed-bound. Amanda wanted to do something to highlight the effect of HG on a woman's mental well-being, as well as her physical health, raising money at the same time to help PSS help support other women like Jane. You can see her fundraising page here if you'd like to support her in her daunting venture.

(Amanda (right) and Jane.)

Amanda and Jane are school friends who have known each other for over twenty years. Amanda wanted to something very daring to raise money and confesses to hating being cold. The icy dip will certainly present a challenge and, as it's part of a bigger cold water immersion event, it's a great way to raise funds in a high-profile way. She'll have support from Jane, and other family and friends, and let's hope that her freezing plunge is well-rewarded.




In the meantime, if you'd like to do something equally brave - or perhaps something a little less chilly - please let me know.

I wish Amanda the best of luck with her swim - watch this space for updates and check out our website for ways in which you can help raise money for PSS.



Tuesday, 12 December 2017

Raising money - and awareness.

As I settle in to my new role, I am starting to get to know our fantastic volunteers and I am so impressed with their dedication and resourcefulness. Today, I'm delighted to announce a huge success on the part of Claire in the Scottish Highlands, who raised money by doing a car boot sale.





She's raised over £1100!

At first, I assumed that Claire had collected up some goods and taken them to a local car boot sale to sell in aid of PSS. I was astonished at the amount raised. But I was wrong - she'd actually done much more than that:

"I held an indoor boot sale in our local hall," Claire wrote. "I sold 25 selling tables. Supported by my wonderful friends and family, we had a cafe for visitors selling filled rolls, home baking, teas and coffee. We had a raffle, a few games and face painting. There was something for everyone! Despite the snow we had a great turnout on the day."





It was a brilliant idea and it certainly paid off. But Claire isn't finished yet!

"I’m also doing a raffle, and selling teas and coffees at our local panto in a couple of weeks," she said. She's hoping to send further funds raised in this way at the end of December. 

Claire explained a little of her motivation in working so hard to raise money for PSS:

"My little girl Jess is now 6 months old and I suffered with HG from week 5 until birth," she told me. "Like so many women while suffering with this, I had to battle with doctors to get treatment. To this day, I still don’t understand how they are able to leave women in such an awful state." 



Claire hoped to raise both money and awareness of hyperemesis, and she's succeeded. "I hope when my wee girl is older that women won’t have to go through what we had/have to. And I truly believe that every little bit helps," she said.



I'd like to congratulate Claire on her brilliant and very successful idea and to thank her for the money she raised.

If you'd like more information about raising funds for PSS please see our website for more information.

















Friday, 8 December 2017

Recovery: 10k by May

Whilst it's not yet time to put my plans into action, I've obviously been thinking a lot about my hopes to run the Cardiff Half-Marathon for the second time and to raise money for PSS in the build up to that event. The half-marathon should be the culmination of my efforts to get back to myself after the upheaval of the last few years.





Last time I ran the 'Diff, I also ran for charity and had a T shirt from them to show that I was supporting them. I plan to look into having T shirts made for myself and anyone else running with me. I'm working on deciding what to write on my fundraising page, and I'm also wondering if I can (a) beat my previous half-marathon time and (b) perhaps make it a sub-2hr time to boot.





One thing that I haven't given much thought to, however, is my training. 

In the past, after lapses from running, I've simply dug out my old trainers, perhaps ordered some new ones, squeezed into my running gear and...well, just run. I'd go out most days and run as far as I could as much as I could, slowly eliminating the need to walk in between. Not really a training plan.

This time, however, I may need one. Because I've been challenged to also complete the Cardiff 10k in May, and then the Great Midlands Fun Run (some eight-and-a-half miles!) in June. It works quite well in terms of increasing my capabilities before attempting the 13.1 mile race in October but it means I really need to think about how to stage my training.

I need a plan.

So, if you're a runner - or you know a bit about effective planning - then let me know your thoughts. I'm very out-of-condition, and very overweight, and I know I need to be careful, because I'm not as young as I used to be either! Luckily, some of my old running books have made the move to Cornwall with me and there is a wealth of information online too, so it shouldn't be too hard to design a suitable training programme. I want to incorporate some of the other elements of my recovery plan into that programme as well, because it's not all about the running.

10k by May - I can do this... Right?!

Tuesday, 5 December 2017

So this is Christmas...

...and what am I doing?

Today has been busy with packaging up our Christmas cards for dispatch. If anyone is still interested in buying some, please hurry to the website to order!

If you don't use PayPal, let us know, and we can arrange to sell the cards by BACS transfer.

I've also been looking at the raffle prizes which are fabulous. You could win a sixty pounds M&S voucher - which has got be handy at this time of year! - even if you didn't get the first prize Glamping trip. And not to forget the West End Musical voucher, which is probably my favourite prize.

Other prizes include a family ticket to Big Fish Little Fish, a 'Maman' necklace from Mutha Hood and some lovely items like a set of 3 stone heart candle holders and candles, and a paper flower bouquet. I'm terrible for my beauty products so I also like the Rehydrating Rose Skincare Kit from Neal's Yard.

The raffle has been moderately popular so far this year but it would be wonderful to sell a few more tickets and match the £1250 we raised last year, Please spread the word - tickets can be emailed so anyone, anywhere can take a chance on a really lovely prize.
Do get in touch with any questions or queries - in the meantime, I'm hoping that everyone else has got further ahead with their shopping and wrapping than I have!


Friday, 1 December 2017

Tough Girls

My post as Fundraising Coordinator began on 27th November and one of the first emails needing my attention came from Lindsay, a PSS volunteer in Holywood, Northern Ireland:

"Coffee went well today," she wrote. "We raised £100 and I am going to do another fundraiser soon through my daughters school."

Lindsay organised a coffee morning on 26th November, with the congregation of Holywood Methodist Church, ably assisted by her three HG Hero daughters.



"My eldest daughter has just turned 7," Lindsay told me, "and this pregnancy she struggled as she really missed me." Lindsay and her daughter are involving themselves in doing  positive things to help her come to terms with what they've been through as a family. 


(And what a beautiful family they are!)

Lindsay's daughter has written to Blue Peter to explain about hyperemesis and tell the story of how she helped to look after her sister, even putting her to bed when Lindsay was too ill to do so. They are hoping that the programme will respond by sending out one of their coveted Blue Peter Badges and Lindsay feels that his would really change things for her daughter.

Lets hope that Blue Peter will oblige. But, even if they don't, all best wishes to Lindsay and her family, and huge thanks to them for their fundraising efforts.

Thursday, 30 November 2017

Recovery

It's raining today. 

Absolutely chucking it down. 

And I am reminded of many similar mornings when, weather notwithstanding, I'd be out running -  feeling happy; staying strong; getting muddy.

Just like this:





Unfortunately, in recent years, I dropped my running habit and regained a lot of weight. Life took some pretty crazy turns, which led to me making a 300+ mile move from North Wales to Cornwall, with my son and our German Shepherd and, along the way, I became less of a priority in my own life.

Now, though, as Christmas approaches and I have started my wonderful new job as Fundraising Coordinator for Pregnancy Sickness Support, I've started to think that perhaps it's time to make myself a priority and to begin a recovery program that takes me back to the woman I used to be. Whilst running is my thing, I am currently too heavy to run, and thus I'm going to focus not so much on restoring my running as much as hoping to include running in a plan to restore myself. Walking, cycling, singing, dancing (well, trying to) and generally taking good care of myself are also likely to feature. I'm also considering dying my hair purple.

No, really, I am. I've always wanted to and, if not now, then when?

So I'm going to be evaluating and implementing lots of ways to get back to being the person I once was - and I'm hoping that others out there may want to join me. I'll be starting on January 7th - nine months ahead of the Cardiff Half Marathon on 7th October (which I hope to run as I did in 2014) and a week after the Christmas and New Year chaos ought to have subsided.


(This is an exhausted me right after my 2:11:04 half marathon in Cardiff in 2014.)


Whether it's following a lifestyle upheaval similar to mine; or after an illness, or pregnancy; leading up to a milestone birthday or just after one; or simply just because... If you're feeling that 2018 is to be the year that you recover your old self in some way, why not join me? It doesn't matter if you want to return to a previous weight, level of fitness, dress size or even hair colour - if you're looking to restore something you've lost then let's do it together.

And see if we can't raise some much-needed funds for PSS along the way. 

Tuesday, 12 September 2017

Hiking the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu for PSS



We are very lucky to have some amazing adventurous fundraisers, and Hayley is most certainly one of them. We interviewed her about the why, the where and the WOW HOW MANY DAYS?   


What's your relation to HG? 


I’m the middle child of three girls, both my sisters have suffered from HG and my mum suffered with all three of us. There’s a running joke in the family that I should get pregnant to see if I get it too. – for some reason I’m not too keen!!

Why do you want to raise funds for PSS? 


Watching my sister’s go through it was awful, we’d all grown up with stories of how ill mum had been with us, but none of us really understood what that meant. When my younger sister Steph was pregnant with her first child we really had no idea what to expect. She was sick so many times a day I lost count, she dropped clothes sizes – instead of buying maternity clothes I was giving her my old clothes that were a size smaller. She was hospitalised multiple times for dehydration.

When my older sister got pregnant, I think we all prayed that she’d have a ‘normal’ pregnancy. But no such luck.

My sisters have this bond of support now with each other that they don’t have to suffer through HG alone. They have someone else that shares that experience. Steph is now a mentor for PSS to support other people with HG and Kerry is planing on becoming one soon and I’m so incredibly proud of them.

We’re all very close as sisters, watching the people you love and are closest to, go through this and having no idea how to help is awful. But I saw how much having the support of PSS helped my sisters and I wish that the support had been available to my mum when she was pregnant with us. So I might not have be able to give them the support they needed in their pregnancies, but I can raise money so that those that can provide the right support will always be there.





How are you fundraising? 


I am hiking the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu, this is a 4 day hike going up 13828ft (4214 metres) and across 26 miles




Have you done any training or planning for the hike? 


I joined a gym in January and I’ve been going around 3 times a week (which is a big shock to anyone who knows me!), so by the time I go I will have been training for 9 months! In these last couple of weeks I’m trying to get in some more outdoor walking but it’s difficult to fit around work.




Has this always been a dream or goal that you've wanted to achieve?
 

I have always wanted to hike the Inca Trail, I’ve been planning the trip for the last couple of years and I always knew when I did it I would be fundraising for something, the question was what.


How does fundraising make you feel? 



Fundraising makes me feel useful, throughout my sister’s pregnancies I felt pretty useless in helping so it’s nice to be able to do something that will support the people I love.



Thank you so much for raising much needed funds for Pregnancy Sickness Support Hayley and Best of Luck! If you'd like to show your support for this high feet along the Inca Trail, Donate here http://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/fundraiser-web/fundraiser/showFundraiserPage.action?userUrl=HayleyBarnden&faId=824163&isTeam=false