JustGiving’s Crowdfunder of the Year Award – vote for me

It takes me way out of my comfort zone to ask people to vote for me (even if I did ask them for their money), but having been nominated for the JustGiving Awards 2018, I have quite amazingly been shortlisted in the Crowdfunding category, so I suppose I’ll have to spare my blushes and just ask for a vote!

When I set up the crowdfunding page, I hoped it would bring in something to help pay for the design and print costs for The Dragonfly Story, which I published in April 2018. I had a wonderful illustrator in Helen Braid, and also a fantastic printer lined up; I didn’t want to cut corners. It was so important that this story was gently narrated, colourful and engaging, and that it had the quality of a book that could be read again and again… Why?

Because I know how important this is when you’re in your darkest hour, sat on the bedroom floor with a child who is asking you questions you don’t have the answers to, who sees your tears and is scared because you are. Having a book that can be shared, that talked about real life and loss but blended with that a hope that when we die there is more wonder and peace than we can ever know, was why I said ‘yes’ when I stood praying in the shower over a year ago. ‘Ok, yes, I’ll do it… but I’ll need some help’

And so with the crowdfund page set up, I knew that, with my limited funds, that literally anything would help. And the money came in, from family, friends, strangers, people who have followed my story from losing Abi in 2013 until this moment when I had decided what it was that would honour her best.

I didn’t raise all my target. I raised half the money, which was still a fantastic contribution in my mind (over £1,000!) and far more than I expected. And it helped enormously, making covering the remaining costs that much easier without long-term debt.

The book was published to 5-star reviews from those who bought a copy and I receive orders steadily from all over the world. I have them piled up in boxes in my office and post each one out myself – choosing the right envelope, buying and printing postage, and getting them to one of the few larger postboxes that fit the size! It would probably be easier to let Amazon take care of all that, but I like the process. I want to connect some way with each person who orders it, giving a personal touch, because sometimes it might be for their own child who has just lost someone they love.

Anyway, I’m so thankful for the nomination. I don’t need to win anything of course, as I have the book that has been in my head for so long, but if you’d like to vote for me, you can click here, or the button on the main home page.

Voting closes on 14th October 2018.

Advertisements

GUEST POST: 2 ways fundraising helps you heal

There are numerous ways to set up memorials for loved ones, and Beautiful Tribute has successfully provided one way to do that online. An online tribute is a simple way to remember someone, and because it is accessible anywhere it can be seen and contributed to by other people who also take comfort from it.

Set up by UK-based founder, Sandeep Sekon, this website also offers a fundraising option to help people raise memory of their loved one.

Victoria at Beautiful Tribute wrote this blog post especially for Chasing Dragonflies to share ways that fundraising helps comfort the bereaved.

**************************************************

When we deal with the death of a loved one, the emotional pain is so intense that we feel it may never end. For some people this might be the case. However, for most people it can take around two years to understand how to cope with these emotions. Even when we’re aware that over time we will heal and the feelings will lessen, it is mentally challenging to accept this in the initial grieving stage.

So, instead of trying to alleviate this pain and sorrow, why not try to channel our feelings – in a more positive way? Fundraising in memory site Beautiful Tribute has seen just this. People are increasingly honouring the memory of loved ones by creating memorials online and fundraising in memory. It is clear that given the opportunity, we can find comfort in personalising memorials by including pictures, having a favourite song play in the background, sharing loving videos and stories. Fundraising for a personal event or a charity is also an important part of this. Not only is this an effective way to pay a tribute to a loved one, it also creates a sense of healing by uniting those affected by loss and branching out the support system.

Fundraise for a personal event

We have hurt and cried and now it’s time to celebrate – celebrate the life of our loved one! Give them the beautiful tribute they deserve! Family and friends are collecting funds and taking part in events, personal to their loved one, to commemorate them. The rising trend in in-memory funding has proven that it has a positive effect. So ask yourself: What were their hobbies or favourite holiday spots? Did they enjoy skiing? Or rocking and rolling to a Michael Jackson concert? Whatever it is, this is exactly what you can do! What’s more, you will find peace within yourself in doing so.

Yes, it may feel like there are one too many things to consider. And of course, it isn’t easy to think about planning an event when you’re simultaneously trying to accept the loss of a loved one. However, you can remind yourself that this is a positive and essential step towards healing, so you will need to be brave. Try to focus not on how, but why you are doing this.

Fundraise for a charity

When someone dear to our hearts passes away, it is easy to feel lost and without purpose. We may find that acting in good cause can help us to feel slightly better. We get a sense of purpose and satisfaction from helping others and this is exactly what we need during a time of bereavement. One way to go about this is by fundraising in memory of a loved one towards a charity. Whether the charity has supported you or your loved one through a difficult period, or whether the purpose of the charity is to help fight against a specific medical condition, creating a fundraising campaign can see you through a tough time. Not only are you honouring someone’s memory by helping others, you’ve also turned what is often a dark and depressing time into a genuine act of kindness.

Try to see the silver lining

We all deal with death differently. Even though some of us cope with our emotions easier, or heal quicker than others, what remains is that we all grieve when someone close to our hearts dies. While we can’t lessen this pain completely, we can attempt to heal in a healthy way. Try to see the silver lining in fundraising in memory of a loved one. Whether you fundraise to plan a personal event, or for a charity, you are sure to feel uplifted and will find yourself better coping with your emotions.

 If you’d like to create an online memorial for someone, please visit www.beautifultribute.com 

Image credit: Beautiful Tribute

My new Chasing Dragonflies phone case

Last summer, I ordered a mobile phone case for my gorgeous new Samsung Galaxy S5. Having previously dropped a phone and lost everything, I wanted something that was tough but that didn’t make my phone look clumpy. I also wanted a cover that I could personalise with a photo of Abi, so I could see her face anytime. It was a big ask as choice is actually pretty limited out there – either expensive but dull or cheap and flimsy. So I was pretty excited when I came across Getincased.com, an online company specialising in premium design mobile phone covers.

It was so easy to create my custom case and it arrived within a couple of days. The case was perfect in every sense. Really good quality, discreet and eye catching.

My gorgeous new phone case

My gorgeous Abi phone case

The owner of the company was so touched when he heard about Abi and our sad loss that he wanted to help. And so it was that Getincased.com started to donate proceeds from sales of their mobile phone cases to Wallace and Gromit’s Grand Appeal, the official charity of Bristol Children’s Hospital where Abi was cared for at her death.

Grand Appeal
A few months later, the design team had worked really hard and presented me with some beautiful designs focused on my blog, Chasing Dragonflies. Proceeds from sales of these would go straight to the charity.

wpid2248-chasing-dragonflies.jpg
The company also nominated Wallace and Gromit’s Grand Appeal as their business charity, meaning further funds in the pot and have also pledged a box of iPads to be sent to the hospital for the poorly children to use while they are there. In only nine months, they’ve donated an amazing £2,000!

We’ve built up a lovely rapport with a company that puts people before profit, that is using their business to do good things – for no other reason than because they are compassionate human beings who want to help.

I’ve always loved my Abi phone cover and, indeed, as I use my phone as a camera, every time I take a photo the picture of Abi is smiling at whoever I photograph. This has been particularly poignant with our rainbow baby who never knew his biggest sister but can now recognise her in photos.

However, with my recent feelings about the focus of my grief shifting slightly, I thought it a good idea to get a new phone cover. This was more with my children in mind than me, who I wondered might feel a little put out that Abi is the only child I have on my phone cover (sibling rivalry doesn’t stop with death!). But, I also really wanted to own one of the gorgeous Chasing Dragonflies designs so it’s a good reason to get a spare! And here it is…

image

I’ve bought a number of different phone cases in the past but these are by far the best. I think they are worth every penny. My original case is still as good as new, and it’s survived a fair few knocks in the nine months I’ve had it!

If you’ve got an iPhone (4, 5, 6 or 6 Plus) or Samsung Galaxy S5, or are getting an upgrade to one of these models, and you want to make sure you get a phone cover that makes it look even better, please consider choosing from one of the designs at www.getincased.com

They have lots of on-trend designs to choose from and if you buy a cover from the Chasing Dragonflies collection your money will be doing good for the patients at Bristol Children’s Hospital, the main intensive care hospital for children covering the South West, UK.

And, if you do buy a case, please do share a photo of it with me on my Facebook page http://www.facebook.com/blogchasingdragonflies or Twitter @BlogDragonflies

image

New mobile case collection in Abi’s memory

A few months ago I bought a new mobile phone cover with Abi’s photo on it. A brave move for me as it had been, and still is, hard for me to look at pictures of her. It was so well made and quickly delivered that I wrote a review of the company.

image Continue reading

Fundraising … far more than charity

A few days after Abi died, we were already thinking about how we could somehow give something back to the people who helped her, and as a way to remember her life.

It’s hard to explain why, while sat in a hospital waiting room with my daughter still with us, I had this urge to do something charitable. It wasn’t too strong at that point, I had a lot on my mind with Abi, but I recall ‘holding that thought’ as I felt it would be something we could do when it was over, whatever the outcome.

Having seen the Wallace and Gromit Grand Appeal promotional material at the Bristol Children’s Hospital, it seemed an appropriate cause and we’d decided the best place for any donations.

Grand Appeal

Abi died from a rare brain hemorrhage that only a CT scan would have picked up, and even still, it was in an inoperable location so she could never have been saved from her fate. The only reason the doctors agreed to operate on her was because she was a child – doctors are parents too – if she had been an adult, we later discovered, they would not have intervened at all. A heartbreaking prospect.

Continue reading

Can exercise bring out your emotions?

I’m running Bristol 10k for the Wallace & Gromit’s Grand Appeal in memory of Abi. For various reasons, I’ve not run since November last year, so while in my mind I could ‘easily’ run a 10k, having run a few in 2012, my body needs some reminding! There’s 8 weeks till the run, so I should be up to speed by then if I take it slow and steady.

When this happened to Abi, things that had been important to me day-to-day fell into insignificance. I felt that I would never want to run again, and certainly never work again. As time has passed, my attitude has changed, and I’m very relieved about that. Abi loved me being ‘fit’, like her. I would say she even nagged me when I missed a class or a run. It was our mutal interest. I could almost hear her talking to me, saying ‘get up and run, Mum’.

Continue reading