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Nicole Dryburgh
Fundraising

 

My name is Nicole Dryburgh, I’m 19 years old and I have a confession to make – I’m addicted to fundraising! I don’t think it’s a bad addiction to have though, so I’m happy to admit it!

My fundraising started in July 2003, when I donated a giant teddy bear to my secondary school, which they raffled for CLIC (Cancer and leukaemia in children), and it raised £490.30. One of my best friends brought the money home from school so that I could count it. I wasn’t at school anymore as I was recovering from a brain haemorrhage which has left me blind and disabled, and I was also on chemotherapy at the time. After I’d counted the money, I threw it in the air (only the notes though) and it was great fun. Not so much for Mum though who had to pick it all up! It gave me a real buzz doing that and being able to help one of the charities that had helped me, and I then decided I wanted to raise money for the other charities which had supported me while I was really ill after my brain haemorrhage. I organised my first event in September 2004, which was a coffee morning at my friend’s house, in aid of RDA (Riding for the Disabled Association) and The Silver Lining Appeal, a charity at King’s College Hospital in London where I’ve spent a lot of time over the years, including a three month stay after my haemorrhage, and I’m an ambassador for the appeal. The coffee morning involved a raffle, bring and buy table, crafts, cakes and of course, tea and coffee, and it raised £420.15, which I split between the two charities. I was totally shocked at how much was raised as I didn’t think a small coffee morning could make that much. My goal was to raise £60, which would shoe an RDA horse for six weeks, then anything else I raised above that I would give to The Silver Lining Appeal, so I was very pleased with the overall total, and a few months later I held another coffee morning which raised £471.30, this time for Demelza House children’s hospice in Kent, where I stay sometimes for respite care.

I held a few other events after that and raised over £4,000 for various charities, and I then set up my own website at www.c-h-o-c.org.uk, so that I could raise more money. The c-h-o-c stands for, charity helping other children, and I write a regular diary and keep people up to date with my fundraising and events. It’s helped spread the word a lot about my fundraising and raised a lot more money which was the purpose of setting it up, so I’m glad it’s having the desired effect.

At the beginning of 2006, I decided to focus on one charity, and set myself a challenge. I set a target of raising £30,000 for The Silver Lining Appeal at King’s College Hospital. I contacted them to let them know what I wanted to do and asked if there was anything they needed. They told me about a neuro-rehabilatation room which they’d like to build on the childrens ward which will help children recovering from the severest of brain and spinal injuries. They needed £30,000 to buy the specialist equipment, and it was exactly the kind of challenge I was looking for, so I said I would raise the money needed. The room is totally unique in the NHS service, and it will include two electric beds, multi-sensory equipment for visually/hearing impaired children and a hoist in the ceiling to lift children from their beds to the bathroom if they can’t get out and walk. I’ve organised lots of different events to raise money to help me reach my target, such as a 7 mile sponsored walk along the seafront from Herne Bay to Whitstable, a 36 hour sponsored silence (not to be repeated!), coffee mornings, concerts, a 100ft abseil (brilliantly scary), writing and selling a book of poems, and I also sold my autobiography, The Way I See It, at my book launch in January for The Silver Lining Appeal which raised £2000, and for a more random way to raise money, I once got paid £5 to eat a raw mange tout. That too will not be repeated !

I reached my £30,000 target in June 2008, after I won ‘Britain’s most inspiring fundraiser’, a new competition launched this year by the charity search engine, everyclick.com, in memory of the famous fundraiser, Jane Tomlinson. There were over 600 entries from across the UK, and I found out I had made it to the top 10. I went to an award ceremony in London where I was announced as the winner. The prize was £20,000 for my chosen charity, which I chose as The Silver Lining Appeal. I had already raised over £21,500 of my target, so the prize money meant that I had then reached it, so I was very pleased and it was a double celebration for me on the night. I have now decided to move onto a different charity to support, and I officially finished my fundraising for King’s College Hospital in July, when I abseiled 100ft down the side of the hospital! It was petrifyingly brilliant, and raised almost £1,500, which brought my total raised for The Silver Lining Appeal to over £43,500. the neuro-rehabilatation room is now going to be called ‘Nicole’s suite’ and will be officially opened at the end of the year and will make such a difference to children’s lives who are suffering from brain and spinal injuries, some so severe that they have to learn everything again from eating and talking to moving and walking, but with this new room, they’ll have the best chance of recovering, and it’s exactly the reason why I fundraised for it.

I’ve now just launched my new fundraising target which is to raise £50,000 for the Teenage Cancer Trust (TCT), a charity devoted to improving the lives of teenagers and young adults with cancer. I’ve set up a fund with TCT called ‘Nicole’s fund’, so that the money I raise goes to their new appeal to build one of their specialist state-of-the-art units at The Royal Marsden Hospital in Surrey, where I’ve had all of my cancer treatment since I was 11 years old. The TCT units include a music room, chill out room, patients bedrooms, games consoles, computers, internet access, Sky TV, kitchens (to avoid hospital food!), parents room and lots more things that teenagers enjoy. Most of all though, these units provide an environment where teenagers and young adults can be surrounded by other people their age who are in the same situation and going through the same experience as them. I’ve had all of my treatment on childrens wards, and it’s not the best of places – they’re so noisy and chaotic! Even when I was 11, I still felt too old for a childrens ward! I was 13 and 17 when I relapsed again from my cancer, and I would have loved to have been treated on a Teenage Cancer Trust unit, but unfortunately there wasn’t one available at The Royal Marsden Hospital at the time,which is why I’m supporting the appeal to build one there now. The money raised through Nicole’s fund will go directly to the appeal for The Royal Marsden Hospital, and the unit will be built by the end of 2010, so I’d liked to have reached my £50,000 target by then.

I don’t think I’ll ever give up fundraising now as I love it too much, and I am Britain’s most inspiring fundraiser after all, so I have a reputation to keep up! I didn’t quite mean to do as much fundraising as I have when I first started out. I intended to just do a few events to give something back to the charities that had supported me, but after getting so involved with the charities and seeing what a real difference fundraising makes, I know that they rely on people like me to help, so I’m going to continue doing my bit.

 

 

 

 

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