The power of fundraising: fun and motivation during lockdown

Keeping active, busy, motivated and entertained is incredibly important for everyone at the moment.

One way that many people have been dealing with the situation is fundraising.

In this blog we’ve collected together some examples of the brilliant fundraising challenges that people who have Down’s syndrome all over the country are getting involved in at the moment.

If you need more inspiration check out our own virtual fundraising ideas.

Corrine’s story

by Kelly, her sister

Last month, over one week, my sister Corrine completed 26 of 26 challenges e.g. making 26 biscuits, 26 minutes of yoga and naming 26 animals.

Normally Corrine lives in supported housing. At the start of the pandemic, however, I brought her to live with myself and a friend to keep her safe. Corrine also has a condition called Eisenmengers Syndrome as well as having Down’s syndrome and that meant she was particularly vulnerable.

We’ve been keeping her entertained and sharing the odd video and photo with our friends on social media and they have loved it.

When we read about the 2.6 Challenge we took the opportunity to adapt it to suit Corrine’s needs and use the opportunity to raise some money for your charity at the same time.

She has been amazing and today completed challenge number 26: to perform a song in marathon. She chose to perform Heather Small’s ‘Proud’.

At the point of writing she has raised £478…way over her initial target of £100 and we hope to raise more. Her excitement every time we announce her new total is fabulous and she has loved watching her videos back.

Since Kelly wrote this for us, Corrine’s total has rocketed up to £789!

Thank you so much Corrine and Kelly! What an amazing #TwoPointSixChallenge and a wonderful total!

Helen’s story

by Felicity, her sister.

Helen lives with her sister Felicity, her brother in law Simon and their four children.

David, our family friend, has Coronavirus and is on a ventilator. As a GP, as the outbreak emerged I was concerned for Helen and for other people with learning disabilities. The GMC released guidance saying patients with learning difficulties, amongst other vulnerable groups, were not to be overlooked regarding escalation of care. However ICU bed numbers and other factors would inevitably still result in significant pressures and difficult decisions.

When David became ill I wished there was something I could do. Sending flowers and a card to his family left me feeling inadequate.

At the same time Helen was struggling and becoming quite bored and difficult at times at home, quite understandably! Lockdown has been hard for her and I’m sure for families with someone with a learning disability this might be more of a challenging time than for others. The extended lockdown was predicated and then announced, and I felt we needed something to help us all feel like we could make a difference. So, we decided to do something positive and do some fundraising.

Our fundraising challenge is pretty simple…21,000 steps per day for the 21 extended lockdown days to fundraise for NHS Charities Together. Each day Helen dedicates her steps to someone or something she cares about and we pick a song to walk to, although the usual Take That / Beatles / George Michael / S Club 7 tunes are very much her favourite playlist!

We try and link the dedications to what Helen would normally be doing each day, to acknowledge how she feels about the things she can’t do during lockdown. For example, on a Tuesday she goes horse riding so the dedication on Tuesday was to Mid Cheshire RDA (Riding for the Disabled Association). We even set up an event for Helen in our garden where she walked round an obstacle course with a hobby horse in her riding clothes, recreating a riding event she previously competed in. Eve, my five year old, presented Helen with a rosette and a carrot for the hobby horse at the end!

All the family is involved with everyone encouraging Helen. The girls colour rainbow posters which Helen writes messages on, Bethan (7) is “website manager”, Grace (9) is “admin manager” and we’ve all been thinking of people to share the story with.

At home there’s a significant change in the atmosphere. We’re all busier than ever with a real focus. Helen is happy and the steps challenge suits her fixation with numbers. The girls and Helen are working on something together and are closer than they’ve ever been. We have had wonderful messages from friends, family and now strangers on the fundraising page. Helen was singing Bros “When will I be famous?” round the kitchen yesterday evening with her headphones on, which Simon and I found hilarious!

Helen has been featured on the Manchester Evening News website.

On Wednesday 6 May, Helen’s dedicating her fundraising to everyone who has Down’s syndrome or another learning disability:

“Today is for everyone with Down’s Syndrome and learning disabilities during lockdown. Today I’ll be power walking with pride to Elton John “I’m still standing” for the Down’s Syndrome Association.”

Thank you for the dedication Helen! You’re amazing and you should be so proud of what you’ve achieved!!

Claire’s story

Hi everyone Claire Brocklehurst here. I am in lockdown in my parent’s house in Lincoln but I live in Eastbourne in my flat with the support of Focus Care.

The staff team and managers are all fantastic and very supportive and they help me with my independence. When I saw Captain Tom Moore on BBC news doing 100 laps around his garden to raise so much money for the NHS, this inspired me to raise money for PPE which is Personal protective Equipment for my Care Agency.

So I decided to walk lots of laps around my parents garden I am doing 15 laps which is 3 miles a day for 7 days. Altogether it will be 21 miles.

My target is to raise £1,000 and I am fundraising on the just giving website. I started doing the laps on Monday and I feel excited and happy when I’m walking it’s been really hot and I have to have a water station and sun cream on.

I get tired and exhausted but it’s a wonderful feeling and it inspires me to carry on. Mum says I might also lose weight! I had to do a different lap on day 2 as my dad was doing a project and dug up half the back garden!

Well done for keeping going Claire! Thank you for sharing your story.

Dave and Mike’s story

by David

My name is David Neil Crabtree and I’m a professional musician from North Yorkshire.

I live with my 24-year-old brother Mike who has Down’s syndrome.

Together we have been raising money for the NHS by doing daily live concerts on Facebook. Our live shows have been viewed by people all over the world and we have appeared on local BBC radio and in local papers.

Mike absolutely loves doing our daily show and together we have raised almost £5000 in three weeks. Mike has a real love of music and performance and I think it has really helped him to cope with lockdown and not seeing his friends.

He’s becoming a bit of a star online and has many followers and a range of hilarious jokes, stories. He surprises me with something new every day.