Tag Archives: fundraising

“I thought I’d broken my baby” – Scope’s helpline helped me see a future

Families up and down the country turn to Scope for support in times of need. The information and support we provide can make all the difference, you can help us be there for every family by fundraising with us. With your help, we can be there for every family who contacts us.

Jenny found out her son Harry had cerebral palsy and didn’t understand his condition or how to support him. Here she explains how calling the Scope Helpline was the moment everything changed and how vital your support will be to families like hers.

Two years ago, my son Harry – who was five years old at the time – was diagnosed with cerebral palsy.

He’d been complaining of tiredness and pains in his legs. A physio told me he was a typical boy, being lazy. But I knew there was more to it.

Harry would also keep falling over, his feet turned inwards and there was other behaviour I couldn’t understand. Even the slightest change to his routine would result in a meltdown.

“I thought I’d broken my baby”

I had to fight to get an appointment with a consultant. When finally we saw him we talked for only a few minutes. He told us that Harry had cerebral palsy.

I asked, ‘what is it?’ and ‘how did it happen?’ He said I must have fallen during the pregnancy, which scarred Harry’s brain. That was that. We left without any leaflets or explanations.

I hadn’t fallen whilst I was pregnant, I knew I hadn’t. But, even with this in my mind, I burst into tears. I thought I’d broken my baby.

Jenny talks on the phone in her kitchen
Jenny turned to Scope’s helpline for support

Finding the support that we needed

I’m so thankful I found Scope’s helpline number. Straight away, I realised I was talking to people who understood. I could finally see a future because they could help me understand Harry’s needs and how to give him the help that he needs.

Scope have been an amazing support ever since that first emotional phone call I made. They understand cerebral palsy and they understand Harry. That’s invaluable to me.

With Scope’s help, we’ve adapted to Harry’s needs and so has everyone in his life. Harry is doing really well at school and we are looking forward to what the future will bring.

It isn’t just Harry’s life that’s better, it’s the whole family’s.

Harry, a young boy, plays with a Superman toy set
Harry’s future seems much brighter now

You can help ensure that we can be there for every single family that contacts our helpline, find out more about fundraising with us or call on 020 7619 7270.

I’m throwing myself out of a plane for Scope!

Sophie’s brother Harry has cerebral palsy, and over the years her family have received advice and support from Scope. To say thanks, Sophie is taking on a exhilarating challenge. 

Hi! My name is Sophie Newton and I am almost a quarter of a century old. On 25 February 2017 I am throwing myself (probably ungracefully) out of a plane at 10,000ft to raise money for Scope.

Scope is a charity that is dear to the heart of my family, because of how they supported us when my brother Harry was small. Harry was born prematurely and suffered a starvation of oxygen to his brain. As a result he was diagnosed with cerebral palsy.

Before I organised the Skydive for Scope, I told my parents of my plans and asked them to tell me their memories of Scope. They both laughed as they told me how when Harry was about 4 or 5, Scope sent him for psychological and physical assessments to evaluate his impairment. During the stay, my parents and Harry were having a meal and Harry spasmed and the potato on his fork flew into the air and into someone’s cup of tea! When Harry and I were younger and my parents didn’t have much money, Scope took us on holiday in Bridlington – we had a great time.

Hair-raising fundraising

Harry is now 26 and uses a wheelchair due to his condition. He has limited movement in his legs and struggles with the everyday tasks which I take for granted. When Harry was young, my parents reached out for advice and support, which Scope provided with willingness and kindness. My parents have fond memories of Scope and the support they gave our family; from arranging psychological and physical assessments for Harry to taking us on a family holiday in Bridlington. Having a personal connection to Scope made it even more special, and what better way to raise money than by doing something hair raising!

Life has been, and is still quite tough for us, Harry and many other families with a disabled parent, child or sibling. Scope provided support and advice during dark days when Harry was young and offer support to countless others.

Fundraising for Scope is a fantastic way for me to show my gratitude and to raise more awareness of the work that Scope does for disabled people and their families.

An accepting and accessible society

Sophie smiling and cuddling a dogScope champion change so that one day we will live in a society that is accepting and accessible for disabled people. A society which views disabled people as individuals with unique characteristics.

I am excited for this opportunity to aid Scope is doing this and hope I can raise enough to show my gratitude and support of their amazing work.

You can sponsor Sophie’s Skydive on her Do It For Charity page.

Want to take on a hair-raising challenge like Sophie? Sign up to a skydive today.

Taking on an IRONMAN: “I’ve learnt I’m so much stronger than I thought”

If you thought running a marathon was impressive, try tackling a 112 mile cycle and 2.4 mile swim as well. Cat Alabaster, our Challenge Events Manager, will be taking on the challenge of a life time as she enters the IRONMAN Weymouth  on 11 September.

With just three months to go, writing about my inspiration for taking part in IRONMAN 2016 in Weymouth fills me with a mixture of emotions.

Catherine posing in her IRONMAN gear
Cat showing off her IRONMAN gear

For me this really isn’t about the race itself but about the ‘journey’ to get to the start line.  Working at Scope has given me the environment and inspiration to take on this challenge. Having always struggled with confidence and low self-esteem, this was my way to prove I’m as strong as I can be physically but more importantly mentally.

My challenge and preparation

The IRONMAN is a 2.4-mile swim, a 112-mile bicycle ride and a marathon 26.2-mile run, raced in that order and without a break. No wonder it’s known as the ‘toughest one day event in the world’

I train six days a week and frequently twice a day. Obviously the bulk of the sessions are focused around swim, cycle, run but there are a number of strength and conditioning, yoga and physio sessions thrown in for good measure.

I’m heading out to do a half distance race (70.3 miles) in Budapest at the end of July. I’m hoping this will give me a glimpse into IRONMAN event day, plus I’ve heard the beer is super cheap over there for some post-race celebrations! After that it will be six weeks until race day.

Why did I choose Scope?

Two cyclists riding along a country path
Cat in training

Simply because of the people who are supportive, motivated but most importantly extremely passionate.  The desire to help create a better, fairer society for disabled people and their families is infectious.  Not only do I have the chance to impact Scope’s work in my day to day role as Events Manager, but taking on this challenge means I can hopefully broaden the awareness of Scope and its vital work even further.

It’s my friends, particularly my colleagues at Scope, who listen to me complain and give me the belief in myself that I can do this.  And there is definitely a lot of complaining, particularly as I fall off my bike nearly every time I go out!

The reward

I’m really excited to take part in the IRONMAN. This is my personal challenge of growth and acceptance, and for me that will probably be harder than the physical challenge itself. I’ve learnt I’m so much stronger than I thought, and with the right people around  me I am able to realise my dreams and push myself further than I ever thought. My mantra is ‘Don’t wait until you’ve reached your goal to be proud of yourself. Be proud of every step you take towards reaching that goal.’ So in case you’re thinking of signing up to IRONMAN, here are three things you need to know:

  1. It becomes all you think, talk and dream about
  2. You will need to eat more food than you ever thought possible
  3. You will meet some of the most incredible people along the way to an utterly life changing experience.

If you’re feeling inspired to take on an IRONMAN, or something a little less challenging, find an event that’s perfect for you at scope.org.uk/events or email the events team events@scope.org.uk.

We left a gift in our will in memory of our daughter Rhona

You can make a huge difference by donating to Scope in memory of a loved one.

Gordon Halcrow is one of our valued in memory supporters. Gordon sadly lost his wife, Sheena in 2015. In this blog he tells us about Sheena, their daughter Rhona, who was born with a disability, and why they chose to support disabled people and their families.

“In my mind, as well as others, she was a very remarkable person.”

Sheena was delightful and she had a good sense of values. People, both young and old, and from all walks of life, enjoyed her company and admired her devotion. I am sure you would have too.

She was always cheerful and had a sunny disposition; always optimistic through thick and thin!

Sheena didn’t work, in the conventional sense, for many years because of the demands of caring for our daughter Rhona. However, up until Rhona was born, Sheena worked as a librarian. She was an avid reader and continued to be so until the end of her life.

After Rhona was born, Sheena attended evening classes in cookery, pottery, jewellery making, needle work and associated skills. A quick learner, she became an expert in all of these things and the articles that she made, and their quality, show her prowess.

In my mind, as well as others, she was a very remarkable person.

“She had an amazing hold on life.”

Gordon and Sheena, and elderly couple, posing for a photo on the beach
Gordon and Sheena at the beach

Rhona was brain damaged at birth and had quadriplegic cerebral palsy. When Rhona was 1 years-old, she had a brain biopsy and we were advised to put her into a home and try again. This was not a viable option for us.

She was born on New Year’s Day in 1959, and we were told that she probably would not live longer than about four years. In the event she had an amazing hold on life. It was due to Sheena’s constant and loving care that Rhona saw another forty New Year’s days.

We found, from experience, that young adults who are disabled, like Rhona, are not treated particularly well and often charities are vital to improve their welfare. I support Scope because of this and that is why I chose to honour the memory of my dear Sheena.

“Sheena’s devotion meant that Rhona lived a happy and meaningful life.”

Sheena and I thought that it is our duty to attend, properly, to the needs of those in society who are underprivileged. I think that charities have an increasingly important role. It is therefore essential for people like us, who have the means, to give to charity where we can.

In our case we have experienced disability face on and can see the impact that support can have for those who need it. It was Sheena’s devotion that meant Rhona lived a happy and meaningful life. Some people need that extra help and guidance. It is because of this that we have supported Scope where possible.

I have seen how charities can help and that is down to supporters like you.

 If you are interested in leaving a gift in memory of someone special then please visit our In Memory page. Your gift will support disabled people and their families across England and Wales.

Gordon and Sheena recorded a video for Scope a few years ago, explaining why they chose to leave us a gift in their will. Watch the video below.  If you are considering leaving a gift in your will, then we would be happy to meet with you, just as we met with Gordon and Sheena.

 

It’s amazing to be running for Scope in memory of my friend

Louise is taking on the iconic London Marathon tomorrow! Here she talks about what’s inspired her sign up to the challenge and raise money for Scope. 

“It’s amazing to be running for Scope in memory of my friend, as well as taking on a personal challenge.”

Photo pf Louisa smiling at the cameraI live in South West London with a group of friends and work at a school as a secretary. I have just qualified as a personal trainer and am generally an active person. I ran my first London Marathon in 2015 so I’m really looking forward to improving this year and trying to do better than my last time. I am being a bit optimistic and aiming for the four hour mark!

Remembering Tom

This year I chose to run for Scope because I have known people who have disabilities and know the impact that disabilities can have. My family friend Tom had muscular dystrophy and used a wheelchair from quite a young age. He was cared for at home by his mum, and later on he was able to live in a supported living home. He wasn’t able to live by himself, but it was really nice that he had a place that gave him some freedom; he loved his independence. Tom sadly passed away at the age of 21.

I am partly running this marathon in memory of Tom. He was a real computer whiz and loved the sounds he could create and pictures he could make. He also loved photos and enjoyed showing us his photo albums and pictures of his family. He loved my mum and enjoyed it when she used to babysit for him when he was living at home. As I said, he also really valued his independence.

His family are lovely and pleased that I am remembering Tom by running for Scope. It’s always nice to have someone close to you remembered by someone else. They will be cheering me on; hopefully they can spot me in the crowds!

What keeps me going

Part of what spurs me on is that I enjoy a challenge. My main aim is to do better than I did last year and to know that I’m still improving. My dad did the marathon when he was my age and I know that he is really proud of me, which also keeps me motivated.Scope cheerers at the London Marathon

I love the support at the marathon; there are three to four miles where you want to collapse but the rest is just such a fantastic atmosphere. It’s really great wearing your charity’s shirt across the line and it’s amazing to be running for Scope in memory of my friend, as well as taking on a personal challenge.

I actually want to be part of the crowd one year as it looks like a really good day out. If anything I think that it might be harder standing in the crowd all day than actually doing the running!

We have lots of lovely Scope runners like Louisa taking part in this week’s London Marathon, many of them running in memory of someone special. If you’d like to get involved, you can sponsor Louise, or you can help us cheer them on!  

If you’d like to donate in memory of someone special to you, get in touch in the comments below or email us. 

Cheer on our runners in the London Marathon

Come and volunteer with our events team at the London Marathon on Sunday 24 April and join our cheer spots along the route. You’ll be helping keep our 120 Scope runners motivated to keep going! 

Our main cheer spot will be near St George’s Gardens (102-106 The Highway, Shadwell, E1W 2BU), where runners will pass by at miles 13.5 and loop back around so you will see them again at mile 21.5. We will have cheer equipment, t-shirts and drumming facilitators so you can create some groovy rhythms and support our fundraisers on this incredible challenge. Cheering really does make a difference to our fundraisers and we pride ourselves on being one of the largest and fun cheer squads on the route!A screenshot of the google map showing the cheer spot location

We also have a cheer spot at mile 25 next to Embankment tube station, so you can help the runners along their final stretch to the finish line.

We hope to see you there! If you have any questions, email events@scope.org.uk 

Why I’m running the London Marathon for Scope

Ruth is running the London Marathon for Scope this weekend. Here she says what’s inspired her to get training. 

“When it gets hard I remember I am running for Maria.”

I’m from Durham originally, I lived in Newcastle while I was at university and then in nearby Gateshead for several years. I now live in east London and work for the University of Sunderland.

I like all aspects of keeping fit and I’ve recently taken up boxing and yoga – which have really helped with the running training (which is not as kind on my knees the older I get). I am also currently studying for my PhD which should take up all of my spare time – but have suddenly found that I can be easily distracted by trying to teach myself the guitar and any opportunity to see live music!

The London Marathon is the greatest running event

All in all I have run 12 marathons. My fellow Geordies will hate me for saying this (as we love the Great North Run so much) but for me the London Marathon is the greatest running event. I love the atmosphere and the crowd, I love feeling like for one day only London belongs to runners and not cars. I love running past my office in Canary Wharf, and past my front door and of course up the mall to the finish.

Running in memory of my friend

My friend Maria was the most loving, funny and beautiful angel. Her smile could light up a room. I was Maria’s babysitter throughout my teenage years and her whole family are very close friends of mine. Maria died suddenly in October of 2015 and it hit me very hard, it seemed so unfair that such a beautiful person was taken from our lives.

This year as I’m running in memory of my friend, I feel it will be an emotional day. I find that I think a lot about her on my long runs. and when it gets hard I remember I am running for Maria. I will be raising a glass of something sparkling to her on 24 April after the run!

Why I chose Scope

A selfie of Ruth in her purple Scope running vestThe reason I chose to run for Scope is that I’ve always had a connection with disability. My parents travel to Lourdes in France every year to take ill and disabled people there and I have travelled with them since I was a child. My mam also worked her whole life in a special needs school, and for a number of years I got involved in volunteering as a swimming and athletics coach, and taking young people with disabilities to Italy annually for a skiing trip – which was always a memorable experience.

Ruth is just one of our amazing Scope supporters taking part in this week’s London Marathon and one of the many runners who will be taking part in memory of a loved one. We know that she will do Maria proud! If you’d like to sponsor Ruth, visit her fundraising page

If you’d like to donate in memory of someone special to you, get in touch in the comments below or email us. 

When is diving out of a plane a good idea?

Scope’s Digital Film and Media Officer, Phil, talks about his experiences of doing a sponsored skydive for Scope. Visit our website to see what fundraising events you can get involved in this year.

Phil smiles wearing a skydiving jumpsuit

I started work at Scope in November 2014 and within a few months I decided I wanted to do some fundraising. Now, I was a little too lazy to stop eating cake to do a marathon, which also meant that a Machu Picchu trek was a definite no. Because of this, I came to the ridiculous decision that I should do a skydive.

I have many fears… Spiders, clowns and even a ridiculous fear of seaweed (you know, when it brushes up against your leg while you’re swimming in the sea?). But one of my biggest fears has got to be heights.

What better thing for an acrophobic person to do than fling themselves out of a plane? For some reason, it seemed like such a good idea at the time!

Raising the cash

With only a few months to go until the big day, I had to get some serious fundraising underway.

I started with the usual route of sharing my JustGiving page with family, friends and across my social media channels. This got a fairly good response with just over £200 being collected in a week.

However, I knew I needed to do more. I decided to step it up.

My first port of call was Krispy Kreme who offer dozens upon dozens of doughnuts to fundraisers at a reduced cost (find out more about using Krispy Kreme doughnuts for fundraising on their website). One morning, I brought in 120 to the office. News spread and I soon had a large queue forming at the stall I’d set up in reception. Not only is it a surefire way to raise lots of cash but if there are any leftover, you’ve got some scrummy treats to make your success taste even sweeter.

Next was my raffle. I scoured the local area and came up trumps with a whole host of amazing donated prizes. From a signed Man Utd shirt to a pair of cinema tickets to a case of locally brewed ale – there was something for everyone! This is a fundraising technique that everyone should think about doing. All you need is a letter of authorisation from the charity you’re raising money for and to be ready to sell your cause to potential donors.Phil stands in front of a plane with his skydiving instructor

The money was coming in thick and fast now but I wanted to do one final push to raise those last few pennies. I organised a pub quiz at Scope HQ which had a great turn out. There were prizes, drinks and lots of laughs. All in all, it was a fantastic evening.

At the end of my (tiring!) fundraising, I’d managed to raise around £1000, which I was extremely happy with. That was the hard part over. But the hardest part was just around the corner – the skydive.

Facing my fear

The day of the skydive came around so quickly. I’m not even going to pretend that I was calm and collected at this point. Words cannot describe how terrified I was. The video below should give you a good idea of what the day was like.

I would urge everyone to take part in a fundraising event, especially an adrenaline event such as skydiving. What an experience!

My top tips

  1. Start your fundraising early. This will allow you to take your time thinking up the most effective money raising techniques.
  2. Think big. Without doing this, I wouldn’t have got the massive collection of prizes donated by larger companies (including VUE cinemas, Manchester United and Naked Wines)
  3. Persist! You may think you’re annoying people across social media with your constant fundraising asks, but you need to drive the message home in order to raise the maximum amount possible.
  4. Update everyone involved. Make sure you send an update and a thank you to everyone involved in the success of your fundraising efforts. For example, I sent a personalised thank you letter to every company and individual that donated a prize for the raffle.
  5. Have fun! Make sure you fundraise in a way that feels fun and makes you happy – it will feel so much less of an effort this way. If you love baking, do a bake sale!

Phil during his skydive, falling through the air with his thumbs up.

Inspired by Phil conquering his fears? Find a fundraising event you can get involved in this year. 

“Christmas can be one of the most difficult times for families”

Jackie O’Kelly has been a Scope Information and Support worker in the midlands for the last 20 years, supporting thousands of disabled people and families with advice and information. 

Christmas can be an especially hard time for disabled children and their families. Here, Jackie tells us how her invaluable advice made a life-changing difference to Jenny and her son Harry, who was diagnosed with cerebral palsy just weeks before Christmas. 

Thousands of families are expected to turn to Scope for support this Christmas. You can help make sure every family who contacts us receives the support they need by donating the Light up Christmas Appeal.

Two years ago a mum called Jenny got in touch with our Scope helpline as her young son Harry had just been diagnosed with cerebral palsy.

Obviously this was a worrying time for Jenny and her family. They had not been given any information to help them understand cerebral palsy, which is hugely complex, or how Harry might be affected in the future.

Jenny had a lot of questions and no idea what help the family might need to support Harry at home and at school, or how to go about getting this.

Jenny was finding it quite hard to explain Harry’s difficulties to other people and make them aware of the help that he needed.

How I worked with the family

I explained to Jenny about Harry’s cerebral palsy in the simplest of terms. I also sent her some information so she could keep re-reading it until she got a better understanding of his difficulties.

I also thought she could show this information to other people if they too were struggling to understand his cerebral palsy, such as teachers at his school and other family members.

We ended up talking about all sorts of other things that might be helpful to Harry, for example information on useful events that were coming up local to her.

Jackie, smiling for the cameraThe difficulties parents face

It is so difficult for parents of children like Harry to get this type of information, especially if their child goes to a mainstream school.

As a result many parents like Jenny end up feeling isolated and unsupported. Often they miss out on vital sources of help and support that could have made their lives and their child’s life so much easier.

If ever I now see something that might be of help to Harry or his family I always try to send it Jenny’s way. As with most other parents their journey is ongoing and different needs and issues will undoubtedly crop up along the way.

My work continues

Because of all of the recent changes to social care that have affected disabled people, I am receiving more and more requests from people who are often quite desperate about their situations.

They simply do not know where to go for help, as many local advice agencies who have been badly hit by the cuts have been closed.

I am currently supporting around 30 disabled people and families, with the numbers increasing all the time.

Christmas for disabled families

Christmas can be one of the most difficult times of year for disabled people and their families.

There is the sheer expense of it all as bills are at their highest. Also a lot of services quite simply shut down over this period, or run services that are so thin on the ground that all but the most urgent of cases can be dealt with.

I have seen this happen year on year and the stress it can create in families is enormous.

Thousands of families are expected to turn to Scope for support this Christmas, which is why we’re asking you to donate to our Light up Christmas appeal. With your help we can be there for every family who contacts us.

Worried about writing your will? It’s easier than you might think

Making a will can seem like a daunting prospect. But Rachel, our Gifts in Wills Officer, found out that with our free will writing service it can be easier than you think.

Why am I writing my will? I’m not getting married or divorced, I don’t have any children and at 27, I’m not planning my retirement any time soon.

I’m writing my will because I want to know what it’s really like. Unless you’ve ever written a will, chances are you probably don’t know very much about the process. It might seem intimidating, morbid or just a bit of a hassle. Even if you’ve thought about it, it’s easy to push it down the to-do list. Is having a will that important anyway? Well, the short answer is yes. Without one, you don’t have a say in what happens to your possessions, and more importantly, what you’d like to pass on to your loved ones. Having a will puts you in control. And yet more than half of British adults haven’t made one. So is it really that difficult? I wanted to find out.

Arranging to write my will was easy. Through Scope’s free will service, I was put in contact with my local will writer, and organised to meet him near my office. I guessed I’d need to do some preparation for the meeting, and I was sent a pre-appointment check-list which explained the different areas I should be thinking about.

Writing a will does involve decision making and, depending on your circumstances, some of these decisions might involve more thought than others. But some people still put off writing a will even after they’ve made these decisions, because they think it will be complicated, expensive, or they just don’t know where to start.

Actually writing my will was the easiest bit of all. At our meeting, my will writer talked me through the main sections of the will – from appointing executors, to the specific gifts I want to leave, including to charity. I already knew I wanted to leave a gift to Scope. If I hadn’t mentioned it, I’d have been asked if I wanted to consider it – although there is no obligation. I like the idea that I can help Scope to be there for disabled people and their families in the future.

And that’s all I have to do. Once he has all the information, my will writer goes away to write up my will. I’ll check it and then sign it in front of two witnesses. I’ll have a will.

Of course, I might need to change it at some point in the future – it’s always a good idea to review your will around any major life changes. But now I know what I’m doing – I know what decisions I need to make, and I know that actually putting them down on paper isn’t difficult. It’s something I’m really glad I’ve done.

Find out more about our free will offer.