Will you get on board with Marie Curies Daffodil Campaign?

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Spring is a time to celebrate new life: when flowers are blooming, the sun is starting to shine, and the cold winter months are fading. However, whatever the season, people become terminally ill and die. Recently we have lost some national treasures at the cruel hands of terminal illness: Alan Rickman and David Bowie. Now, more than ever, we have been shown how terminal illness can affect us all. As our population ages, the number of deaths is on the increase: meaning more people are contracting multiple and ever more complex illnesses. Care is needed not only for those diagnosed, but also the family: the turmoil of terminal illness can be confusing and isolated.

This March there is something you can do, to not only help a cause which has the potential to affect us all in one way or another. Marie Curie’s Great Daffodil Appeal, has been raising awareness and funds for those with terminal illnesses since 1986: bringing light in the darkest hours. Running 9 hospices, giving free specialist care, and pouring their efforts into palliative and life care research, Marie Curie are one of the most proactive charities in the UK.

Every day matters when you’re living with terminal illness, and Marie Curie works to make the most of every single one. Their specialist nurses have touched the lives of so many sufferers, as well as offering long term support to families who are grieving. They understand that terminal illness does not just affect the diagnosed, but is equally as painful for those surrounding them. From practical to compassionate help, every source of suffering is cared for both during and beyond the final stages of someone’s life.

Their work is tangible, delivering results and making a real difference to the lives of thousands of families in the UK. And their work is only set to evolve: changing the conversation about terminal illness to one more positive and less fearful.

So how can you get involved?

From the simple donning of a cheery daffodil pin to running a fundraising event, every effort towards the cause is appreciated. The daffodil is a symbol of new life, and a reminder of the joy loved ones past have given us. Perhaps you could spare a couple of hours to sell the pins: get together a group of friends and paint your local area yellow with daffodils!

Or maybe you have a little bit more time to spare? From bake sales, to tea mornings, to charity shows, to a challenging sponsored run, the potential is endless! For a free fundraising pack, visit the Marie Curies Daffodil Appeal website, where you can also calculate how far your time will go and what impact you can make.

Terminal illness is sadly an issue we cannot avoid, but with your help, Marie Curie can ensure that every sufferer, and their family can have the support and care they need: what better cause to support this spring?

Cuddle Fairy

It is World Down Syndrome Day 2015

It is a date to focus on sharing information, support and personal stories.

So, how can you get involved in #WDSD15?

Wear your funkiest socks #lotsofsocks

We tried to think what to do to have fun with socks. My son suggested sock puppets, I though I might dust with socks on my hands and my daughter thought about wearing socks in her hair. In the end, as we had bought a funky purple microwave, we tried to see how many colourful socks we could get in the box. Daddy did not quite fit and fell backwards showing the bottom of his mucky socks.

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It’s a way of showing our individual differences, and of gaining attention so that you can engage people in conversation about the day and leave them a little wiser about the condition.

Donate as you Text SOCK £1 to 70070.

Just £1 is all it takes to make a difference to the Down’s Syndrome Association. Money goes towards medical research, support for families and educational resources as well as campaigns that benefit us all. Downs Side Up is fundraising on their behalf this year and I am proud to call her my friend and to have shared a cuddle with the lovely Natty. I am also proud of Mia for her great work on the awareness-raising book I Love you Natty. The family are giving a donation of £2 from every hard copy of I Love You Natty sold during March to the Down’s Syndrome Association and you could do worse than buy a copy for your school or home. It’s also now available as an iBook.

Keep Active

The focus from the charities this year is on keeping active for health and wellbeing.

You can share your photos and stories, as well as your sock selfies using the hashtags #lotsofsocks #WDSD15 and #TeamT21.

My youngest son always has to be different but says you get a thumbs up for him for putting your best sock forward for such a great cause.

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To find out more please visit my friend Hayley’s blog at DownsSideUP

Are you good at spelling?

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Today is Misspelling Day and I am asking you to get involved on your social networks in support of Save the Children UK and the #ReadonGetOn campaign.

If we want children to achieve their potential and to enhance their life chances we need them to be good at reading.

This is what the #ReadOnGetOn campaign is all about – doing something to ensure our children read well rather than leaving it to chance.

It is so very easy to get involved in Misspelling Day.

Simply send a tweet or make Facebook post where you make deliberate spelling mistakes.

It is hoped that if enough people get involved (and it only takes seconds to do so_), it will draw attention to the #ReadonGeton campaign and get more people signing the petition.

Act Now: Sign the petition calling on party leaders to make a commitment to get every child reading well at age 11 by 2025.

Here is the message to leaders

I call on you to make a commitment to get every child reading well at age 11 by 2025. Together, we will ensure that all children have a brighter future.

If you find it difficult to argue with that, please sign the petition.

    RS84339_Read-On-Get-On_High-res logo

    Can you remember learning to read?

    I remember when the shapes of letters started to have meaning to me and I remember the thrill of reading books but also things like road signs.

    My parents read to me and the house was full of books both fiction and non-fiction. Reading made me want to write and look where that took me. I read about Cambridge University when I was a little girl so when I was told I had an outside chance of getting in, I was inspired to work hard and to do so. I always remember my late mum saying it was impossible to be lonely if you had a good book.

    My Mum left school aged 11 so used to get the Reader’s Digest and learn the meanings of new words. She had an amazing vocabulary and could hold her own in any company despite her very humble background.

    Reading is the key to a child’s future: it unlocks their potential and opens up a world filled with possibilities and for our poorest children reading well is their best route out of poverty: they do better at school, better in the workplace and are better placed to give their own children the best start in life.

    However, every year in the UK, 130,000 children, leave primary school not reading as well as they should. This figure includes 40% of all children from poorer backgrounds – a shockingly high proportion. This means over the next decade almost 1.5 million children will start secondary school already behind with dismal consequences for their futures. As if poverty is not soul-destroying enough, the lack of good literacy skills keeps children trapped where they are with little hope of moving forwards positively finding themselves unemployed or in low paid jobs.

    Save the Children UK’s research has also found that the UK’s GDP could be an extra 2.1% higher by 2025 if we can get all our children reading well by age 11- the equivalent of £32.1 billion.

    PETITION

    I would love you to get behind the Read On Get On campaign – a national mission to ensure every child is a confident reader by age 11.

    Act Now: Sign the petition calling on party leaders to make a commitment to get every child reading well at age 11 by 2025.

    Here is the message to leaders

    I call on you to make a commitment to get every child reading well at age 11 by 2025. Together, we will ensure that all children have a brighter future.
    Together we can make sure that every child leaves primary school with the reading skills to shape a brighter future:

    Find out more about the campaign

    You have read this blog. You know the joy of reading. Take the time to sign the petition and play your part in fighting for a brighter future for our children.

    If you sign the petition, you can then enjoy the amazing David Walliams reading you and your child a story.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ce5ATeNrTM0

    Read On Get On

    Read With Me

    I am taking part in the Dryathalon fundraising campaign for Cancer Research UK. This involves giving up alcohol for the month of January.

    Whether by nature or nurture, I do like a tipple. My drink on a night in would be bacardi and coke. Sometimes I change this to brandy and coke which was one of my mum’s favourites. I like a glass or two of wine especially on the nights where my nerves feel a little frazzled. Baileys used to be a regular event back in the day but is a rare treat since having the children.

    After years of drinking, I am getting a bit fed up with it. I don’t cope with drinking as well as I used to. It can make me feel very down. I also find myself resenting the amount of money it costs. So I decided to give up drink for January and possibly beyond.

    Then I heard about Cancer Research UK’s Dryatholon and thought it would help motivate me to stay on track and also be a bit of a tribute to my mum who died from cancer in 2009.

    I have completed a full week without a drop of alcohol. To be honest, I am a bit disappointed with the low number of people who have sponsored me but I know lots of folks are doing sponsored events and also times are hard out there for people. The truth is the time to judge how I have done on the challenge and sponsorship wise is at the end of this month. It is also important to remember that there is no correlation between people liking you and people wanting to sponsor you. I like a lot of people who do sponsored events and I am pretty random at who and when I sponsor people. Often I intend to sponsor someone and then forget to do so.

    I don’t think I have met any of my donors (except myself). Who knew that strangers would donate? I get very excited as I see my donations increasing towards my target which I set ridiculously high at £150.

    So how have I found me first week as a dryathelete?

    I have enjoyed the process a lot. I turned down a glass of wine waved under my nose. I found a bottle of wine in a cupboard that was long forgotten and put it right back there. I am getting a bit bored of drinking diet coke but will investigate other non-alcoholic options.

    The joy is that I feel so much better in myself. I feel a lot more upbeat and also very motivated to take on challenges. I even beamed on the school run this morning. I seem to be getting more stuff done too.

    I have noticed that I seem to be dreaming more and have had a couple of nightmares. I don’t know whether that is related to giving up drink or not but something makes me think it might be.

    I have every confidence I will successfully complete this challenge.

    Here’s to another booze-free week!

    Sponsors welcome and here is my fundraising page

    www.justgiving.com/Catherine-Holmes-dryathlete2014