Of all the things I’ve done, raising money for charity has been one of the hardest. It consists of huge emotional highs and huge emotional lows.
When people support you and your cause it is heartwarming and seeing your fundraising total going up makes you feel good. But the pressure (I put on myself) to reach my (self imposed) target is stressful. Some people promise to donate and then they don’t, and being cursed with a good memory means I don’t forget who has made a promise, and I take the unfulfillment of this verbal bond quite personally.
People let you down.
Fact of life.
Get over it.
But seriously, fundraising is hard. In this day and age everybody wants something from us, people are always asking for money. There are thousands of worthy causes and we just can’t support them all.
So you have to pick something that means a lot to you. Over the last 5 years I have supported Cancer Research UK. My reasons for doing this are here.
Fortunately the majority of people have been super supportive and I can’t thank everybody enough for supporting my chosen cause. I feel really proud to say I’ve raised over £12,000 which is a fair achievement for an individual with no profile. But I also realise that in the grand scheme of things, to a mega charity like CRUK, it is just a drop in the ocean. There are people out there with the ability to raise hundreds of thousands or millions of pounds, and it’s for this reason I’m hanging up my CRUK fundraising hat for a while and choosing to support something a little different. However, I feel like I have done my grandparents and their memories proud, and I will still continue to support CRUK personally where I can.
Here are a few CRUK fundraising highlights:
Now I feel like I have the opportunity to make a big difference to something.
Walking across America last year has really made me realise how important water is. People simply can’t survive without it. My biggest concern, and my only stress, for 5 months was: where I was going to collect my next water and what the source was going to be like. Sometimes I was lucky and came across crystal clear, icy cold spring water flowing directly out of the mountain, other times I had to go 45 miles between sources and collect water from an animal feeder or a muddy puddle. I carry a simple water filter with me, I collect the water, I squeeze it through the filter and it stops me getting sick.
Millions of people all over the world don’t have access to clean water or sanitation, I have witnessed this first hand in some of the countries I have been to – Tanzania, Kenya, Nepal.
Every 90 seconds a child dies from a water related disease. Some people have to walk for miles and carry heavy water long distances to support their families. 125 million hours is spent collecting water every day by women and children across the world, which is taking them away from other activities, such as income generation and education for children.
Some children aren’t allowed into school unless they bring 5 litres of water with them. I find it hard to carry 5 litres of water in a well fitting backpack with good weight distribution. Think about doing that as a 10 year old. And think about not being allowed into school because you don’t have any water.
Just a Drop is a small charity, with only 5 permanent members of staff, but they have big ambitions and they achieve these with the support of volunteers. They are committed to making a real difference to people’s lives through one focus – delivering safe water and sanitation to communities in need. To date they have completed over 170 projects across 31 countries, improving the lives of over 1.3 million people.
The charity provides different water solutions such as rainwater harvesting, wells, standpipes and rock and sand filtering. Improved sanitation solutions, and importantly, education about good hygiene practices. And they do this all over the world.
So, I’m walking 4,525 miles over the next year with the hope of raising £4,525 for Just A Drop so other people don’t have to walk to just get water to survive.
Just £1 can provide clean water for a child for 10 years.
If everyone who read this blog post donated £1 / $1.50 we could support hundreds of children.
I can’t do this without your help. Please think about the people who have to drink from a muddy puddle just to survive and go without your Starbucks / Tim Horton’s / Pret coffee one moring and donate that money to Just A Drop instead.
Please donate what you can here: JustGiving
Next year, after New Zealand, I hope to be able to go and visit and support one of their projects to see exactly how the money we have raised is being used.
It’s 2016. Surely everyone has the right to access clean water?
PS. My trips are completely self-funded. All money donated goes directly to Just A Drop.