I started my blog, Take Off Your Running Shoes, as a fundraising exercise. The idea is that I want to raise £100,000 for cancer research, but I really, really do not want to have to run a marathon in order to contribute…partly because I am pretty washed out by the run of non-stop cancer treatment I’ve been taking since June 2004.
As the blog started to pick up readers I came up with a formula. I said that if everybody who reads my blog contributes one pound a week for one year, then I’d reach my target really quickly. The total is running at about £32,000 currently. Mostly, I’ve been incredibly impressed at just how generous complete strangers are; people I’ve only met across the internet have been ready to contribute hundreds of pounds. It’s also a symptom of how much cancer there is around these days – we are living in the cancer age, and everybody knows somebody.
Some friends I’ve spoken to who have run marathons for breast cancer organisations and raised thousands of pounds told me that when they tried to find out where exactly their £7000 or £10,000 or whatever would be going, they were not given exact answers by the charities. I felt it was really important, for me and for my givers, that I know exactly where my hundred thousand pounds will be spent. I got a “shopping list” from Gordon Rustin, founder of the CTRT (where my money is going) - £38,000 for a research nurse, that sort of thing. I think that is another reason readers responded to my appeal – there’s no sense of this money being spent on PR or anything not directly medical.
Every time donations slow down – a bit like when you lose readers on your blog – I start to panic and try and think of new ways to stimulate traffic to my Justgiving page. Every time, we hit another round figure – 20,000, 30,000 and so on – I’m celebrating.