As you know, every member of the Nine Months Of team is working hard to raise much-needed funds for the charity Pregnancy Sickness Support (PSS). As a charity, PSS currently receives no funding from larger sources (such as the National Lottery) and so the work they do is funded entirely by donations and fundraising campaigns such as this one.
So far the team have raised over £400 and it is still their first month! They have 8 whole months to go to try and reach their £9,000 target (and as many of their challenges include major events at the end of the 9 months we can expect a large number of donations to come in at that time).
But where will all that money go? Why should you consider sponsoring our members and supporting PSS? The easiest way to answer that is to share with you some of the ways in which PSS has used donations over the past year and what their plans are for the future.
The past year
Within the past 12 months, PSS has grown immensely. Volunteer numbers have increased significantly and whilst this means we are able to offer support to more women and their families during a HG pregnancy it also means that the logistics of keeping up-to-date with all the volunteers and matching them with those who have requested support has become much more challenging. Whereas before regional volunteer co-ordinators were able to keep up with the demand, we have now reached a capacity where a national co-ordinator and extensive volunteer database is required.
Thanks to the fundraising efforts throughout the previous year, PSS was able to create a part-time paid role for a co-ordinator who had both experience and passion for building the volunteer network. This was a big move for the charity as they have previously relied entirely on volunteers whose time may sometimes be limited. Having a contracted co-ordinator means that volunteers and those requesting support will always have a main point of contact who can deal with any queries quickly and efficiently. And this in turn has led to even greater numbers of volunteers being registered and trained by the charity, allowing us to continue to meet the demand for support which increases as quickly as knowledge of HG and our charity does.
But we're not just about the personal support. We are also passionate about educating healthcare professionals about pregnancy sickness and Hyperemesis Gravidarum so that women do not have to fight so hard for the acknowledgement and treatment they need. And to be able to do this we need to have access to research and the opportunities to meet with the healthcare professionals who are faced with the condition on a daily basis. That is why we ran our own research surveys (for women and for healthcare professionals) regarding their experiences of pregnancy sickness and it is why we are holding a national conference this week specifically for healthcare professionals in this field. And neither of these would have been possible without the donations that have been given over the past 12 months.
If you look at the charity's aims, you'll see that there are so many other things that we want to achieve. We'd like to have the ability to fund a 24 hour information line which is answered by a person no matter what time of day it is called. At present we cannot provide this and so our information line is connected to an answering machine and is checked several times each day. It is the best we can do at the moment, but we would love to have the line manned by someone 24 hours a day.
We would also like to conduct further research and connect with far more healthcare professionals than we are currently able to. We are building up connections with consultants, GPs and midwives but we could do so much more if funds were available.
With this in mind, PSS will be attending the Royal College of Midwives' Annual Conference on 13th and 14th November this year. This will be a fantastic opportunity to meet so many midwives who could make a massive difference to the care and experience of women struggling through a pregnancy complicated by severe pregnancy sickness and Hyperemesis Gravidarum. We are very excited about going. But it is at great cost to the charity (we're talking hundreds of pounds just for the stall, without travel expenses etc added on top). And whilst this is a cost we feel is completely justified in what we will achieve through attending the conference, it is taking a large percentage of the funds we have available to us.
Which is why PSS has just launched a "mini fundraising drive" to raise money specifically towards the cost of attending this conference. The call has gone out on Facebook and now we are asking you via the Nine Months Of blog too. Even if you just have a couple of pounds to spare, we would really appreciate it if you could help us cover the cost of the conference. £1 here and £5 there soon adds up (the last time we ran a fundraising drive like this we covered the cost of our research surveys within one evening!)
If you'd like to donate to this, please do so by visiting the PSS Donate page and add your donation via either PayPal or Virgin JustGiving. This is a standalone request and is not directly linked to the Nine Months Of campaign, so please do not try donating for the conference via the team's BT Donate page.
Obviously, we know that many of you are already supporting the Nine Months Of team and have already donated or are planning to donate during the remaining 8 months of our challenges. And for that we say a big thank you to you all. Your support (via comments, shares on social media and donations) means a lot to us and is helping us work through our doubts and fears and continue working towards our goals. And that is what it is all about!