Charitable Acts

I wouldn’t say I’ve done lots for charity, I could certainly have done more.  However, over the years I have engaged in some fundraising.  See some of my charitable acts here.

 

“The smallest act of kindness is worth more than the grandest intention”, Oscar Wilde.

You can’t change the world… actually I can!

One of the things I’ve heard people say is “I’m just one person, I can’t change the world”, to this I say “yes you can!” I understand why people think they can’t change the world, because the world is so big and let’s face it, it has issues that would baffle Oprah . But actually it’s just about perception. 

You might only help one person, in a small way and think nothing of it.  But that one small act of kindness could change that person’s life forever. You might not have changed the world, but you’ve changed their world.  I am a big believer in the ripple effect, do something small and it could end up being something massive and life changing.

Can I change the world with a cricket ball? No. How about if I take that cricket ball and smash it into a fish tank, the water and fish would spill out onto the floor and the fish would die… have I not changed their world?  Now how about if I took that cricket ball as far as the Sun and sent it hurtling back to the Earth at a speed never before seen.  What would happen if it hit the Earth? Would it not have a devastating impact for someone, somewhere? Maybe even all of us (I don’t know, I’m no sceintist, I don’t know the math, but it seems to me like that would have some kind of impact). See, it’s all about perception!

Looking at it from this perception, I decided (not to change the world, but) to fill the world with hope and happiness, in whatever small way I could. 

 

 

The Little Princess Trust

The most rewarding of my charitable acts was donating my hair to and fundraising for the Little Princess Trust.

The Little Princess Trust was established in 2006 and they provide free, real hair wigs for children and young adults (up to 24 years old) who have lost their own hair due to cancer treatment or other conditions. When I saw other people donating their hair I thought, what a simple way to make a lifechanging difference to a childs life. So I started growing my hair, which at the time, was a shoulder-length bob.

It took years to grow (so this was not my quickest charitable act), but eventually I got to the point of being able to replicate Cousin IT from the Addams Family.

Dead ringer right? 

I wasn’t sure when to take the plunge and cut it off, so I kept growing it until I just couldn’t take it anymore. That day came when one morning I took my daughter to school, got out the drivers seat, went to walk away and was instantly pulled back in true slapstick fashion, by my stupidly long hair (which had gotten itself shut in the car door… it did it itself, nothing to do with me). 

So I set-up a JustGiving page and started taking donations, placing a small but realistic £35 fundraising target. 

A week or two later, I had it all chopped off.

And I was left with the shortest bob I have ever had!

Before I had my hair cut off women would ask “aren’t you scared?” or say “I couldn’t chop all my hair off” and I’d reply “it’s just hair, it’ll grow back”.  But the day after my scalping and thats exactly how I felt, scalped, I was feeling a little “what have I done?”  I’d been growing the hair for so long that it felt weird to be left with almost none and I had NO idea how to style short hair. So immediately after the school run, I went to a local shop that sells hair products and it was an experience here that this made the most rewarding charitable act.

I was the first customer in the shop, when I entered the shop assistant asked if I needed help. I briefly explained why I was there and without saying a word, she crossed the width of the shop and scooped me into a beautiful, heartfelt, bear-hug.

After she released me she told me her granddaughter was diagnosed with leukemia and she had dealt with it fine, including the treatment, until she lost her hair.  The lady shop assistant explained how she watched her granddaughters personality disappear along with her hair. she said the little girl had become a recluse, not wanting to go to school or see people, just wanting to hide away. Until she received her own wig from the Little Princess Trust.  The woman beamed as she told me the wig gave her her granddaughter back.  After this, I was in love with my stupidly short bob and actually kept the style for a while.

In the end, I raised £200 for the trust, to go along with my hair donation.

Race for Life (s)

This one I’ve done a few times now. The first couple were with an invoice finance company I worked for, so I have no idea about the fundraising total for those and I have no photos either. However, I do have more recent ones I can evidence here. My MOST recent being my favourite, you’ll see why. 

 

 

What is the Race for Life?

The Race for Life is an annual event hosted by Cancer Research.  These are fundraising events that raise money to fund research into more than 200 types of cancer.  It was first held in 1994 as a women-only 5k event, however, men are also now able to particpate and there are also 10k and ‘pretty muddy’ events.

The events themselves are so much fun.  There’s an exictement in the air, a feeling of togetherness and support, its just beautiful.  We have a fun warm up, which feels more like a dance party during which everyone supports and encourages one another, then the race starts.  The whole way round there are people handing out water and snacks and people at the sidelines, cheering you on.  It’s a wonderful experience.

The first Race for Life I did (outside of the invoice finance company) was through my writing company.  Although I do work alone, I did this race with a friend.  We set-up a JustGiving Page and set a target of £200.  We raised £240.50 and had the most fun doing it.

It was my next Race for Life that I enjoyed most though, because my daughter was finally able to do it with me!

And WOW, was she a superstar.  Like me, she loved the build up, she had so much fun warming-up and the support she got from the other people there was amazing.  She was probably the youngest person doing the race and it felt like everyone felt motivated to tell her how amazing she was for doing it. She enjoyed the cheers from the people on the way round, motivating her to keep going, and she finished the race like a trooper!

 

Like everyone, she received her medal….

She was over the moon with her medal, she wore it with pride and even took it into school with her for ‘show and tell’.  But more than the medal, she loved knowing she had done something to help.  I had explained to her the purpose for the race and why we were fundraising and she was so proud of herself for helping to raise money for this charity.

Our fundraising target was £100 and we smashed this, raising £245.00!  We did this race (and fundraising) with my friend and her daughter.  We called ourselves Team SLAM (our initials).

Samaritan’s Purse Operation Christmas Child

I love this annual charitable act (which we try to do every Christmas-haven’t always but we try).  It’s so simple, it doesn’t have to cost much and it makes such a big difference to underprivileged children around the world. 

What is Operation Christmas Child

Not every child is lucky enough to have presents at Christmas, for some children Christmas passes them unnoticed.  They get no gifts, no excitement over Santa coming, no elaborate Christmas dinner with crackers and party hats.  That’s what Operation Christmas Child is for.  It gives a Christmas to those children.

See their video:

 

So most years, in November, my children and I will get a shoebox and we fill it.  We put toys and toiletries, stationery and school supplies, we fit as many things as possible into the shoebox and my children write a personal message to go with it. Here’s an example of one we did a couple of years ago (pre-COVID).

 

A few weeks later we usually receive an email from Samaritan’s Purse sharing a video of the children receiving the boxes.  My children and I gather around, watch the video together and try to spot the boxes my children put together.  Although we have never seen our boxes my children are never disheartened, instead they’re beaming.  One of the most beautiful things my daughter has ever said to me is “mommy, we made them smile like that didn’t we”.  She gets it.  She gets that some children have nothing and that her small gift means the world to them and she gets the satisfaction from knowing she has made another child happy.

Thank you NHS

This was a one-off, “let’s show our appreciation to the NHS” idea.  Let me start off by saying, this wasn’t my idea.  A good friend of mine is a Body Shop at Home consultant and this was an idea she and the other consultants were doing.  I thought it was a fantastic idea, so I yoinked it. 

The idea was sinple, show our appeciation to our doctors and nurses by donating some hand creams to them. My hands were dry as anything with all the hand washing and antibacterial top-ups, they were cracking and falling apart.  I was washing my hands a lot, but I can imagine it was nothing compared to our NHS workers. I relied on my hand cream and I know my family members who work in care relied on theirs too.  I thought it was a very simple donation, but would be a welcomed one.

I asked all my friends and family to donate the price of a hand cream, I donated a couple myself, then I brought a bunch of hand creams and put them in a box with some thank you cards made by my children. I have a nurse friend who works at a local hospital, she took them into work for me.  A few days later I received photo’s of the grateful looking nurses holding their hand creams, wearing a smile.  No, it doesn’t really show my gratitude for these heroes, but it goes some way and as small as it may have been, it made a difference to the nurses who at the time were going through probably the most worrying period of their professional career.

Meal Deals

This wasn’t actually something I was going to add into this page.  I’ve been doing it so long it comes as second-nature, it doesn’t really feel much like a charitable act anymore.  However, now my children have started doing it (and my heart swells with pride each time they do), I have realised, it is one of the most simple and beautiful forms of charity.

Every time I go shopping I see at least one homeless person, begging for money, most likely starved of food and it really saddens me.  I think homeless people have a lot of stereotypes thrown at them, they’re “druggies”, “alcoholics”, “lazy”, “never worked a day”, “probably put themselves there”.  But actually from speaking to them, I don’t find this to be the case at all.

Yes, some homeless people have bad habits, yes some of them haven’t made the best life choices, but most of them are just trying to survive and weren’t lucky enough to have the start in life we were.  For most of the homeless people I speak to, the reality of living on the streets was actually safer than remaining at home, for some their habits weren’t their choice but something that was forced upon them.  For some, their only chance of survival was to risk living alone, scared and hungry on the streets.  The LAST thing these people need is judgement from the rest of the world, but that’s what they get, every single day.

So, I buy them a meal deal, I give it to them and I spend a few minutes chatting to them.  You know what I’ve found?  As hungry as their belly is, what they are actually starved of is attention and equality.  Yes, they appreciate the food I buy for them, but what they appreciate more is my time.  They appreciate the conversation, being treated as an equal with equally valid concerns and fears.  They enjoy being made to feeel human again.

I’ve been doing this since I was at university and worked in Pizza Hut, I used to get a staff pizza everyday (which isn’t great for my autoimmune disease) and I’d give this to one of the homeless people living in Wolverhampton city centre. I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve been called an angel, how many people have told me I’ve restored their faith in humanity, the level of gratitude I’ve received is overwhelming.  And all it really costs me is £3 and 3 minutes of my time.

Now my children do it and the response they get is even more amazing.  The smiles of pride on their faces, the smiles on the face of the man (who now has a name because we made the effort to ask for it) it’s all so beautiful to see.

A small act of kindness, but one that makes a massive difference to the life of someone else. I get an incredible sense of satisfaction from this and I encourage you to try it.

p.s. no photographs, that would be insensitive. 

Fundraising through Book Sales

This one you already know, this is on-going and something I mention on pretty much every page of my website. I won’t go into too much detail about it here, I’ll summarise here and leave a link to my blog with more info:

 

50% of ALL book sales are donated to the COVID-19 Solidarity Response Fund by the WHO.  

 

At the time I write this (31.07.21) I am at 22% (£44) of my £200 fundraising total.

Follow my crowdfunding page to see your donation and follow my progress, or to make a donation directly.

Please note, your name does not appear against your donation for confidentiality purposes.  However, if you ordered directly from my website you will have an order number and this is shown against your donation. If you ordered through Amazon I am not given an order number so your donation is listed with the date and format of your book order (e.g, 31.07.21 paperback order).

Thank you for following my journey!

Lisa Thomas

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