Leatherhead Man is Media Darling

Hardly. But the local press have been fantastic, though I’m not sure of the title I seem to have been given. ‘Leatherhead Man’.

Since receiving my invitation to Russia they’ve all been so interested in my story, local man with multiple sclerosis, incurable illness, fundraising for pioneering treatment abroad and possible ‘cure’, added with the hope to start a family.

They’ve helped to raise so much awareness locally, but most effectively, writing quality stories as well as a BBC Radio interview for sharing. There was only so much I could do myself, but my wife, friends and family have been incredible, sharing everything, everywhere possible. The numbers of shares have been well into the hundreds, resulting in thousands of viewers. An incredible social media campaign I couldn’t have done alone. I sometimes felt embarrassed at the thought of my face dominating peoples social timelines.

But it worked. Maybe foolishly, I said yes to Russia, suggesting I had the funds available too. But who’d have thought I could have raised the full £45,000 in seven weeks, leaving two to spare before the trip.

The monetary value in people’s generosity has been overwhelming, but the effort from everyone pulling together has been the most humbling. I couldn’t be more grateful.

It began with the Epsom & Leatherhead Guardian.
Read the story here

The following week in the Leatherhead and Dorking Advertiser.
Read the story here

Shortly followed by BBC Radio Surrey.

And then finishing with a front page story on the Surrey Advertiser.

 

Back In The USSR.

…Pretty fitting really, …very loosely. A little return trip to my hometown of Liverpool, for a family hosted fundraiser which completes my appeal, officially sending me to Moscow!

THAT’S IT – THE RAISING IS DONE – I’M OFF TO MOSCOW, TO GET BETTER!!!

Amazing, I couldn’t be more grateful, couldn’t be more proud of everyone and I couldn’t be happier!

So on Friday we went up to Liverpool to see my family, who have been truly brilliant, wanting to get involved and to organise a fundraising evening of their own. Mixing it with a little bit of St Patrick’s night made for an incredible amount of fun, hosted by my cousin Brian. There was Cèilidh (Cay-lee) music, a bit of Rock from my cousin Nathan, a little karaoke, Irish bingo and a raffle.

Raising £2,135!!

Meeting many new faces, a bit of a catch up and a goodbye with family before my trip. Despite working till lunch, a 5 hour passenger ride, I broke through energy barrier to make sure I kept going till the end, and get around every table, …at least I hope I did.

Firstly I would like to thank Andrea, Brian, Gillian, Denis, Christine, Rebecca, Esther and absolutely my Aunty Terry for putting on an evening I will never forget. So much effort, made for so much fun. It meant so much to me – Thank you! xx

And to EVERYBODY! Those who have donated, given prizes, bought prizes, organised fundraisers, helped fundraisers, and to my wife Jen who has worked tirelessly to just keep things running smoothly. I am forever grateful, I owe you all so much. And just hope that all goes well in Moscow, to come back and show how I’m doing and hopeful recovery, to show you, with every unaided footstep, how much of a difference you’ve made to my life!

Less of the sitting around – I’m gonna rock the s**t out of tomorrow!!

Thank you xxxxxx

 

Comfort Zoning In & Out

A tale of two fellas this weekend. One doing what he says he’s good at, the other doing what he hates. Both with the idea that these are the criteria for some good fundraising.

Firstly we have my mate Sam Thompson, who today jumped out of a plane at 15,000 feet. A man who hates flying, and the thought of jumping out of a plane, certainly wouldn’t be something Sam would choose to do. I’m in awe of Sam, the fact he would do that for me. A true mate. Raising some cracking funds too!

And then we have my good cousin Ian. A fella who admitted that the cardio stuff isn’t what he’s best at, instead choosing a sponsored SOMBFA (sitting on my big fat arse). A carefully selected Saturday, hogging the sofa, using social media to commentate on his day. You’ll be pleased to know that due to good planning, Ian took it at a steady pace, no injuries occurred and shall be returning to work on Monday.

Guys, you did this for me – big or small – it’s incredible and I’ll be forever grateful.

  

There for the baking!

You know, I have so many good people in my life! Family and friends who have set up their own events, something fun, something to put on sale to help raise money towards my treatment. It’s incredible to know that people really will give up such time, effort and expense to make a difference for me.

There have been cake sales raised by Mary & Neil Furnice, my old work colleagues at DNX specifically Dom Young, Tim Wall and some busy baking by Josefine Austin. Cakes made by Jan Forest and her mother Teresa which we gave as prizes and auctioned off on our fundraising evening.

Helen Carpenter who creatively raised money at her place of work through an Easter Egg raffle.

My sister in-law Susie Smyth organising an international food and raffle night for her work colleagues at Impact Research, aided marvellously by her husband Rob.

And of course there’s our Sam Thompson who will be jumping out of a plane this Sunday.

Amazing, amazing people! Thank you all so much, as I said I’m so lucky to have you all in my lives. Such unbelievable effort by all – for me. Thank you x

Stunned-raising!

Boom – cheesy heading!

Wow! Saturday night’s fundraising evening was incredible. Together Debbie Bowles and my wife Jen organised an evening I will never forget. One packed church hall, 3 course meal for 112 people. 1,500 raffle tickets sold (that’s a lot of folding), 12 auction prizes and too many raffle prizes to mention.

So many people donated the most incredible prizes to auction, their time, their property, their generosity. Equally the raffle prizes too. The cakes, Teresa & Jan made the most creative cakes I’ve ever seen (see photo), stunning! Thank you.

It was so humbling to share a room with so many people, all there to listen to my story, a show of strength, showing that there are so many good people in the world, willing to share what they have, in order to help me get to Russia, and kickstart my life, our lives, for Jen and I.

Naturally there’s a number that you hope to raise, but reaching nearly three times more – that blows my mind. Speechless. Saturday raised close to £15,000!!

A journo asked me the other day ‘what does the potential of this treatment mean to you?’, to which I replied – how do you put that into words? The potential to be released from this physical prison, to be granted so many of things you used to enjoy, a brighter future …hopefully with a family.

Similarly the difference everyone made on Saturday night, cannot be described. Almost guaranteeing a place in Moscow. There aren’t words.

Thank from the bottom of my heart to all that came, and equally to all those who have donated so far. Over the last four weeks since receiving my invitation, I’ve been constantly blown away by the messages and efforts from everybody. I’m an incredibly lucky man. Thank you. x