Cystic Fibrosis Fundraisers

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Wing Walking & The Ball!

Posted by Lorraine Barnes on May 26, 2016 at 4:20 AM

The final 2 Fundraisers!!

Wing Walking

On Sunday 15th May I did a bit of Wing Walking!!  The idea of doing something as exciting as Wing Walking seemed a good idea when I booked it, but when the time came to actually DO it, that was a whole new story!!  Imagine standing on top of an aeroplane as it takes off in to the sky - looking down on little houses and having the wind blow in your face so fast that you can't see anything because of the tears streaming down your face - the cold air was making them water - not fear - although I clutched hold of the support bars behind me for dear life from take off to landing!!  I was told I could wave my arms around if I wanted - pretend to fly, they said!!  Put your thumbs up if you are okay so the pilot can see you, or thumbs down if you want to land .... oh no, I wasn't letting go of those bars for anyone!!  The strangest feeling in the world being stood on top of that plane - nothing at all in front of you to hold on to - just sky!!  Inwardly I felt if I let go to put the thumbs down I'd fall off!!  So I kept a tight hold whilst inwardly counting down the seconds to landing!!  We hit a bit of turbulance on a couple of occasions with the height of the plane which scared me to death - it's a good job the engine was so loud or I'd have been heard stiffling a scream or two!!  Take in the view over London over "that way" I was told - London was a blur through the streaming eyes, and it didn't help that the cold wind was making my nose run and I daren't take my hands off the bar to wipe it!!  So I landed with streaming eyes, snotty nose and a windswept Bridget Jones hair all over the place kinda look!!   The relief to landing can be clearly seen on the video - where I dared to give a THUMBS UP!!  It was a scary experience for me, but I'm pleased I did it - I like to carry through if I sign up to do something and it was definitely a great Finale for the fundraising before the Ball.  I felt relief and satisfaction at having done it and gained a Certificate to prove it!!  I like to try things which push me outside of my comfort zone.

The Ball

What an amazing day!!!  I want to go back and do it all again.  19 months of dreaming about the day and it came and went too fast.  It was a "all hands on deck" type of day leading up to the evening and the support I had on the day, as well as leading up to it, was outstanding and truly overwhelming.   We were all finished with the decoration and laying out of prizes by 2 pm so it was time to get ready and prepare to meet my Guests.  I didn't get chance to speak for long to anyone - brief hello's were about all I managed with some people and some I didn't even get that far!!  Far too busy trying to make sure everything went as planned.  I think the Auction went astray for a while and was told to not worry - just enjoy myself - so I did!!

Delighted to have Actor Tristan Gemmill, currently appearing as Robert Preston, Tracy Barlow's ex-husband, on Coronation Street, attend as my Special Guest for the evening - only a select few people knew he was going to be there, me foremost!  This had been kept quiet mainly because I didn't want to get my hopes up if I made it public that he would be there "just incase" - I know he's a busy man with a family of his own and his filming schedule is quite strict.  He left Manchester at gone 5 pm after finishing filming later than anticipated and arrived in Grantham just after 8 pm.  He stayed until gone 11 pm and then travelled home where he'd get back to his family at nearly 2 am.  He was such a gentleman on the evening - he gained a whole new heap of fan's - mostly CF mum's in attendance!  He posed for photographs with whoever wanted one and posed with Green Screen Studio's for images to sell where he signed the inside of the covers - I think I bought most of those though to add to my collection of signed items.  I've been a fan of Tristan's since he was in London's Burning in 2002 and have run a Fansite for "All Things Tristan Gemmill" for over 5 years, with his approval - the Fansite is credited to his Twitter profile.  Tristan supports fundraisers/ventures for me when he can.  The Fansite provides me with a welcome break from the reality of Cystic Fibrosis when times are tough - and times have been really tough for Joe over the past 2 years.

Monies raised on the evening of the Ball made nearly £6000 in total, although an exact figure can't be given as people were giving monies for tickets owed, and I received £500 as Sponsorship for the Tandem Bike Ride from Rachael Brader and £550 from a Swimathon fellow CF mum Cheryl Kitchen arranged, which was not included in the £6000 - as well as 50p's collected for 19 months and donations added to those for the Ariel photograph of them which ended up totalling £370.

The following day a £5000 Anonymous donation was received on my Justgiving page taking me over the £50,000 target - which was a massive relief (I do know who the Donor is, but they wish to remain Anonymous).  The delight in reaching that target after 19 months of Fundraising was clear to all who know me well.  There were a few doubters at the beginning of this journey -" it's a lot of money to raise", I was told on a few occasions - yes, I know it's a lot of money - which is why it makes it a good Challenge!!  I love a Challenge - if I think it's possible to do something, I'll give it a go.  Life is too short to regret doing something you wish you'd done given the chance .... so I took a chance.  Nothing I do is ever going to stop me living a life - I have lungs which work,  I can breathe in and out without coughing, my chest doesn't hurt when I cough, I can eat without taking tablets, I don't need plugging in to an Overnight Feed, I don't have umpteen Hospital appointments to attend.   I've lost countless numbers of friends to Cystic Fibrosis over the years - I've seen unbelieveable heartache through friends who have lost children to Cystic Fibrosis - it is an Evil Unrelenting Condition - and while I can still breathe I'll continue to Fundraise and raise awareness of Cystic Fibrosis because my fear is that one day, I will loose one, or both of my sons to Cystic Fibrosis, and that is something I can't bear to think about - my energies are ploughed in to Fundraising because that's what keeps me focused - keeps me busy and stops me thinking about the "what if's".  I consider it my job - a job I enjoy - I enjoy bringing people together - I enjoy the support - the community spirit and the results all these bring to achieving goals.  Never ever underestimate the power of a Community pulling together to help each other - a Community with the same aim - to see an end to Cystic Fibrosis .... one day we will.

Now that I've reached my £50,000 target and beyond - what next?!  Anyone who knows me well will know that won't be the end of my Fundraising - it was just another Challenge to add to my list - I've got idea's for my next Challenges ... but time for a short break to spend with my boys who are celebrating milestone birthdays themselves - Joe is 13 today and Dan will be 21 next month - and then I'm due a bit of decorating time while thinking about how to organise my next Event!!

Who knows .... I might beable to persuade Tristan to do a Challenge with me - if his filming Schedule allows!   He asked me at the Ball if there was anything I didn't do which I'd liked to have done ..... Ben Nevis - how about that Tristan?!

I've decided to keep my Justgiving Page open for a year so I can add to it during my 50th Year with other smaller fundraisers planned up until Christmas - new target £55,000 by Christmas Day!  Who know's - I might make £60,000 by my 51st Birthday!

Link to the SPEECHES on the night of the Ball by Ed Owen, CEO of the Cystic Fibrosis Trust, and myself, can be found HERE

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