by Lucy Cross
Just like Charles Dickens, “I have always thought of Christmas time, when it has come round…as a good time; a kind, forgiving, charitable, pleasant time…” It seemed that there was no better opportunity than now to give something back and to take on the 12 Days of Christmas Challenge – 12 activities to raise money for two charities close to my heart, the Multiple Sclerosis (MS) Trust and MS Society.
In July 2011, my brother suffered from problems with his vision. A year on, after many tests, MRI scans, steroids and symptoms he was diagnosed with MS at 27 years of age. MS seems to have this horrible way of creeping up on you. Such a diagnosis is hard to deal with and affects not just the individual, but everyone close to them. It is hard to know who to turn to and how to deal with the uncertainty. This is where organisations like the MS Trust are invaluable. The MS Trust is in regular contact with over 35,000 people with, or affected by, MS. It provides information, education, research and support. Its work is key because, as of yet, there is no cure for MS.
Having started working as a day centre volunteer at the MS Society in September, I see first hand the struggles which MS sufferers face. I have seen what a little time and a little money, from a lot of people, can do. The tiniest contribution from one person can add up to so much when people work together. With this in mind, I set out to raise money and create awareness on my own.
I followed the guidance from the MS Trust and started my fundraising by donating money instead of sending Christmas cards. This method proved to be a good way in which to set the bar for future donations. I got people to sponsor me to go into work dressed as a skeleton for a Halloween party at the MS Society. In November, I held a raffle at an interior design event, where prizes were kindly donated by local businesses. I am currently enduring a 12 day chocolate ban which is proving immensely difficult what with various Christmas meals and, more importantly, my advent calendar sitting unopened in my room as I have never been very disciplined in waiting to eat the chocolates on the correct days anyway!
People have surprised me with their generosity and so far I have managed to raise £478.50 (including Gift Aid). I am looking forward to completing the challenge over the festive period and hopefully raising lots more money.
It’s not too late to take part in the 12 Days of Christmas Challenge, for more information please visit www.mstrust.org.uk/12days.