Car enthusiast Nico has organised a rather unique driving challenge to raise funds for the MS Trust. Here he tells us what the challenge involves, the inspiration behind it, and how you can sign up.
My mother was diagnosed with relapsing remitting MS in 2015, which certainly answered a few questions we had around the constant fatigue, headaches and increasing loss of balance in the lead up to her eventual diagnosis. Sadly though, she has recently been diagnosed with secondary progressive, so it’s definitely upsetting to see just how debilitating and degenerative it has been in such a short amount of time.
Every day can be a real struggle for my mother as even the simplest tasks we take for granted, like having a conversation or just trying to stand up straight, can be exhausting. She tries really hard to hide her symptoms from us and puts so much effort into just being part of the conversation. Every now and then, I pretend to look away just so I can see how she’s really doing. When no one is watching, she lets herself take a quick break from all the effort it takes to stay balanced, but still stops herself from collapsing entirely. It’s truly heartbreaking to see.
Every day can be a real struggle for my mother as even the simplest tasks we take for granted, like having a conversation or just trying to stand up straight, can be exhausting
The MS Trust have given my mother so much valuable advice and support since her diagnosis, and my mother is always talking about just how brilliant her MS nurse has been, as she will always be there when my mother is really struggling or just needs some advice.
Last year, my older sister and her husband ran the London Marathon together in aid of the MS Trust. I felt so proud of both of them for doing it, but I also felt inspired. The idea of running just isn’t something that appeals to me, but I knew I wanted to do something to help.
So I started thinking about ways I could raise money by doing something that I enjoy. I also wanted to use my YouTube channel Driving with Nico to help raise awareness of MS, so I knew right away it had to be something to do with cars. A few ideas came and went, but the one that stuck was a great big scavenger hunt, giving teams 24 hours to find 48 items.
Most scavenger hunts involve either solving riddles or working out clues in order to find the items, but I wanted to keep it simple so the list consists of things that can be found in more than one place with only a few exceptions. Teams are encouraged to drive wherever they like in order to tick off the items on the list, with a prize for the team that travels the furthest distance.
The MS Trust have given my mother so much valuable advice and support since her diagnosis, and my mother is always talking about just how brilliant her MS nurse has been
I wanted to keep the prizes secret until the day, but I realised that people are more likely to take part if they know what is up for grabs. I’m really excited to be able to give the team that raises the most money a lap of the famous Nurburgring in a BMW M3 Ring Taxi, as well as free overnight stay, courtesy of Apex Nurburg. An absolute dream come true for car enthusiasts.
This is the first time I’ve organised anything like this, so naturally my expectations exceeded reality, but the teams that have signed up have done such a great job of raising money, we’ve already raised nearly £1,000 collectively. However, it’s fair to say that I may have cheated slightly as I had the help of my good friend Alex Kersten (Car Throttle), who donated some car parts for me to auction away as memorabilia. It goes without saying, a massive thank you to both Max and Harry for their contributions by bidding so high for the parts. We certainly didn’t expect some rusty pieces of metal to raise that much money!
With less than 3 weeks to go, there is still time for teams to sign up. So if you are interested in taking part and helping us raise money, head over to drivingwithnico.com/charity to find out more or perhaps even donate to one of the teams.
If you are interested in reading about MS from my mother’s perspective, you can read her blog here.
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