A message from Sarah
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Jon and Sarah after 18 days on the road completing the Scottish coast in 2015

My name is Sarah. My husband Jon has metastasised kidney cancer (in his lungs) and he is about to start a new immunotherapy treatment, called Nivolumab, as he continues to face up to kidney cancer.

I have spent the last 12 months successfully organising and running Jon’s Facing Up 2 Kidney Cancer charity event, which to date has raised over £42,000 net, for a specific kidney cancer research project looking at how to diagnose this cruel cancer much sooner in order to save lives. This is a three-year project and initially we worked with the James Whale Fund, now Kidney Cancer UK, but once the project started we changed to work directly with the UCL Development Fund. This ensures ALL the money raised by Facing Up 2 Kidney Cancer goes straight into the research project’s bank account.

We’ve both learnt a lot about fundraising and we’d like to share some of this knowledge so that if you and/or your family wish raise money for a Kidney Cancer Charity or Kidney Cancer Research you too can do this by raising funds for Facing Up 2 Kidney Cancer and know that your money is spent carefully and wisely!

We’ve learnt that:

  • Every single penny and £ matters, whether it is a pensioner emptying all their small change into the collecting tin, or a pound road mapped with £1 coins along a child’s road mat at a coffee morning
  • We can’t do this alone and are so grateful to each and every one of our #facingup2kc heroes who have helped us to the halfway point 
  • Total Giving is the most cost effective online charity service as there are fewer deductions. The research project already has it’s own page and you can link into that easily with your fundraising page http://www.totalgiving.co.uk/charity/ucl-development-fund There are links to click on this page if you wish to either donate or fundraise for us, or both.
  • A direct debit for a minimum of £3.00/month multiplied by several families or individual would help to cover some of the lab consumables, which the project needs. Please ask for details.
  • It’s easy to text JBKC10 £3, £5, or £10 to 70070. There are no deductions, but normal phone charges will apply.
  • If you are a tax payer the Gift Aid is vital and you can either do this online through Total Giving or print, sign and send this form with your donation 
  • There are so many amazing ways to raise money for charity – take on a personal challenge, hold a coffee morning, take cakes to work, sell things on eBay, have a dry month, name the teddy bear for £1.00 a go, guess how many sweeties in a jar, or do a general knowledge quiz sheet, empty your small change into a jar every Saturday morning – it’s surprising how the money mounts up etc
  • Ask your local businesses (start with the ones who know you) to help by giving raffle prizes e.g.; a meal for two, garden vouchers, a bottle of wine, hand made soaps etc. Once you have the first item it gets easier and you get more confident
  • Please don’t be daunted, start small by doing what you know well: running, walking, baking, a plant sale… etc 
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    Rob and Ali ran and cycled miles and miles in 2015 raising thousands in the process.

  • Local people like supporting and helping people within in their own community, they like knowing the story before they help and/or donate and this personal angle makes a huge difference rather than just raising money for ‘cancer’ 
  • Have a goal eg: I’d like to raise £X because it will pay for Y, or because this charity helped me/us by helping me gain access to the right help/medicine/financial support, or just got me/us through the toughest times
  • Do tell your local radio station and local paper if you are holding an event, ring them up and talk to someone before sending an email. Remember to explain: who, what, when, why, where and how. Local papers like pictures and a report after. Examples can be found here
  • Donate a raffle prize for our big RAFFLE to be held later this year or an item for our auction to beheld later this year.
  • Make your aims SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Time limited)
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    Jon on the West Wales Coast in June 2015



    Of course a good story helps, BUT you don’t need to have a huge target or to go around the whole UK mainland coast as Jon did! The most important thing is PASSION and BELIEF, good manners and ALWAYS saying thank you to everyone who helps, and even if they don’t want to help or donate just be gracious and smile

And finally I believe that with this unexpected cancer looming over our family it has actually made us brave, in ways we hadn’t ever imagined. We found we could ask for sponsorship, for raffle prizes, for auction items, for a reduced rate to hire a venue to hold a fundraiser in, and so on, and I believe you can too. 

It’s simple – We’ve learnt if you don’t ask, you don’t get, so let’s start asking and I’ll ask first. I’m asking YOU to help us keep fundraising for this vital project. It runs for three years, and we’ve already covered half of the project’s projected costs. We just need your help to reach the target of £94,000.

Jon and I had never done any major fundraising before and we have met so many amazing people, had so many laughs, and despite the situation we are in because of his disease, the whole experience has enriched both our lives beyond what we could ever have imagined, and we firmly believe it can be replicated on whatever scale suits both you and your circumstances. 

Please think about how you can help support Maxine Tran’s vital research project. I promise that every penny counts and every donation however big or small can make a difference. I also believe that you may enjoy the process whilst gaining a huge sense of achievement.

Thank you for reading, good luck and happy fundraising, best regards to you all Sarah x

PS: Don’t forget to keep saving your used postage stamps.

robinIf you do nothing else at all please save ALL your used postage stamps. In 2015 we made £157.00 in 2015 just from old stamps and I’m sure this year we can easily beat that total. Details can be found here