I’m aware that I start every blog post in the same way, but really time is going so fast! The countdown is now down to one month which is really very scary…
On the training front, I am trying to walk or hike at weekends as much as possible, though as I mentioned before it’s quite difficult in West London! I’m also having to be quite careful with my long suffering left knee who’s a bit weak thanks to an old netball injury, and who didn’t really enjoy the descent of Ben Nevis very much. So I have stopped running and playing netball, which means my exercise is currently limited to walking and my trusty Jillian Michaels 30 day shred DVD…
Fundraising has slowed down a bit recently, although I have had a lot of promises of sponsorship which I think will appear closer to the time. I may try and fit in another cake sale or something in the next few weeks.
And in terms of preparation for the climb, I’m in the process working my way through a very long shopping list… I keep finding myself drawn to any outdoor shop I walk by – especially if it has a Sale sign in the window. I think I underestimated slightly how much all this mountain gear would cost so I’m happy for firstly the 15% discount at Cotswold Outdoor, and that I work near Lillywhites where there is a great outdoor section. I also managed to spend a small fortune in Boots recently on things like water purification tablets and wet wipes and there is still plenty more on my shopping list! I am very much a list-maker so I currently have several lists going – packing list, shopping list and a few to do lists – enough to keep me occupied for the next few weeks!
Last week I held my first non-cake related fundraising event – a quiz night! I’m a big fan of pub quizzes and figured a quiz night would be a great way to raise some money and also have some fun.
And it did turn out to be really fun! About 40 people turned up – mainly my friends or friends of friends, and although I was pretty nervous beforehand about my job as quizmaster, once I got into it I really enjoyed it. The total raised in the end was £260.
The organisation of the quiz night was relatively simple (aside from waking up in the middle of the night remembering last minute details such as pens and a cash float). I did spend the couple of weeks leading up to the quiz engrossed in trying to come up with the right combination of questions. I took questions from various websites (two great ones are Paul’s Quiz and Quiz Zone) and also from quizzes I’ve been to in the past and some that randomly popped into my head. There were also, of course, a few Kilimanjaro related questions thrown in for good measure.
There were some creative team names as always; my favourites were a tie between “Ken Dodd’s dad’s dog’s dead” and “Snows of Quizimanjaro” – great topical name!
This is me quizmastering…
I chose a central London venue as this was most convenient for most people to get to after work. After ruling out several venues on the grounds of not enough space, rude Events Managers or extortionate minimum bar spends, I remembered Henry’s Café Bar in Covent Garden. It has a downstairs area that turned out to be great for a quiz, with just the right amount of seating, a PA system and its own bar with a minimum spend of £500 (which turned out to be no problem at all with my thirsty friends!) They also donated a bottle of Prosecco for the winners!
The winners: Ken Dodd’s dad’s dog’s dead
Parkinson’s UK sent me some collateral for the quiz, including beer mats and donation tins, and I also printed out a little poster. It was really useful to have a text donation number as it meant anyone who didn’t have cash on them could pay the £5 entry fee or the bonus round donation via text.
It was very cool to see so many people come and support my fundraising effort (or come to enjoy a quiz night!) – thank you to everyone who took part! My fundraising total currently stands at £1380 which is 34% of my £4000 target. Getting there but still a way to go!
The end of Parkinson’s Awareness Week seems like a good time to think about the reason I decided to take on this Kilimanjaro challenge and why I’m raising money for Parkinson’s UK…
Parkinson’s Disease has had, and will continue to have, a great impact on my family. My dad was diagnosed with Parkinson’s about 8 years ago, and his mother (my grandmother) had also suffered from it. For now, my dad manages to keep the symptoms mostly under control thanks to medication, so although everyday tasks may need more effort or take longer, he can still do a lot of the things he enjoys (like his current project, building a rather impressive model railway in his garden!).
Parkinson’s Disease is a horrible condition that affects 1 in 500 people in the UK. No-one dies of Parkinson’s; they just become slowly more and more reliant on other people for every need. The causes of Parkinson’s are as yet unknown, and there is currently no cure.
This is why the work that Parkinson’s UK does is so important, from funding vital research into that elusive cure, to the support and information that they provide to sufferers of the condition and their families, to raising awareness of Parkinson’s Disease and working to change attitudes and perceptions (there’s also a great section on their website with more information about exactly what Parkinson’s is).
Last November I went with my dad to a Parkinson’s UK lecture at the Royal Institution about bespoke treatments for Parkinson’s (if you watch the last video on that link closely you’ll see a cameo from my dad). It was so interesting to learn more about the subject and there were some very positive messages to take away about the direction that the research has been going in. This just reinforced to me the importance of funding to ensure that it continues to progress.
Parkinson’s UK depends entirely on donations and even though my sponsorship target is a just drop in the ocean of what it takes to do all this, I want to do all I can to support their work – and, as they say, every little helps!
Time is flying!
It’s crazy to think that it’s been over 6 months since I first decided to take on this challenge, and in that time again I will be (fingers crossed) approaching the top of Mount Kilimanjaro!
So far I’ve ticked off my running challenge with the Adidas Silverstone Half Marathon, and I hope to do a couple more 10K runs to keep up my general fitness and because now I’ve got some PBs I want to beat :o)
I’ve started my walking training with a couple of walks (most recently a windy South West coast walk in Devon this weekend) and plenty more planned, including a trip to Snowdonia and a vague plan for Ben Nevis. Also on the agenda are plenty of Box Hill laps and some flatter West London walks.
Fundraising is starting to ramp up with some donations coming in but I still have a long way to go! I am in the process of organising a pub quiz in central London and a couple of other events / raffles etc – details to follow.
I’ve realised I still have quite a long shopping list as far as kit goes. In fact, the only things I have purchased are my boots and some fleece lined walking trousers, so there’s plenty of shopping (/begging/borrowing/
stealing) to be done over the next few months!
For my first fundraising event I thought it best to start off small with a cake sale for my my office and the other companies in the building. So after two evenings of baking I rocked up at work armed with banana cake, chocolate brownies, chocolate marshmallow rice crispie cakes and my signature carrot cake, only slightly squashed from the tupperware and tube journey.
Based on the number of cakes I had I’d hoped to raise around £50, so was pleased to find when I counted up the donations that it totalled £73.28. I used the “honesty box” method and left the cakes in the foyer over lunchtime with a sign and a Parkinson’s UK donation box, under the watchful eye of the building’s concierge.
Hopefully I’ll be able to do this again over the next few months as there’s no shortage of cake fans around!
Just a quick update, I now have my very own JustGiving page for anyone who would like to sponsor my Mount Kilimanjaro Trek and donate to Parkinson’s UK:
And as if that wasn’t enough, there is also an even quicker, even easier way to sponsor me!
Just text: AMMM87 followed by £1, £2, £3, £4, £5 or £10 to 70070. The wonders of modern technology…
Any donations will be greatly appreciated, however large or small!
So anniemaggiemay.com is back up and running, and that can only mean one thing… it’s time for another adventure!!
In September 2015 (11 months, or 48 weeks, or 334 days away) I am going to trek to the dizzying height of 5,895m (19,341ft) AKA the summit of Kilimanjaro, AKA the highest mountain in Africa, AKA this beast:
The climb will take 7 days (5 up, 2 down) and will involve all sorts of things that are waaayyy outside my comfort zone (e.g. hiking boots, sleeping in a tent for a week and of course the lack of real toilets).
My main reason for doing this is to raise money for Parkinson’s UK, so my first challenge will be spending the next 11 months asking everyone I know and everyone they know to sponsor me, and trying to come up with some novel ideas to help people part with their money. I have a fundraising target of £4000, which is conveniently just a little bit more than my brother raised for Parkinsons UK by running the 2014 London Marathon. Not that it’s a competition…
I’m super excited about this adventure for so many reasons – my love of mountains (which normally results in skiing down them not climbing up them), the challenge of getting fit and mountain-ready, and of course the opportunity to do my part to help support the wonderful work that Parkinsons UK do.
So this blog is really just a way for me to keep a record of, and share with anyone who’s interested, the different aspects of the challenge:
– preparing for a week on a mountain (fitness-wise and knowledge-wise)
– fundraising efforts and events
– learning more about Parkinson’s Disease and the work that Parkinson’s UK do
I will report back soon with details of how to sponsor me!