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Fundraising in the Division of Psychiatry

By rejusro, on 4 November 2015

AS logo for blogThree months ago, five researchers woke up at 4am to walk 26 miles and climb three mountains in just 12 hours. Why? I asked myself the same question clambering up towards the third summit.

As Research Assistants on the MARQUE project, we had decided to try and do more to support dementia research by fundraising for the Alzheimer’s Society.

MARQUE is not funded by the Alzheimer’s Society, it is funded by the NIHR and the ESRC, but we wanted to fundraise for them for a number of reasons. The Alzheimer’s Society is the UK’s leading Printdementia support and research charity and we have benefitted from their existence in a number of ways. The Alzheimer’s Society support MARQUE by running our community of interest meetings and attending the steering groups and managers groups.

Throughout the project, they have always been there to provide us with valuable PPI input. As Research Assistants, we have always been able to reach and gain insights from their ever-helpful research engagement manager. As researchers, we have enjoyed attending their annual research conference as part of a diverse and inclusive audience. Here, we can talk with people affected by dementia as well as other researchers looking into the care, cure and prevention of dementia. In our day to day work, we rely on being able to refer our participants to the dementia helpline following potentially distressing discussions about quality of life.

For these reasons, we travelled to the Yorkshire Dales to climb Pen-y-Ghent (694m), Whernside (736m) and Ingleborough (723m) on, allegedly, the only sunny day in Yorkshire in 2015.

Walking on the left and sliding down on the right (it still counts, i checked).

Walking on the left and sliding down on the right (it still counts, i checked).

The journey itself was complete with equal measures of hilarity and misery. We arrived late due to a necessary detour off the motorway to get a cooked breakfast and coffee. This presented two additional challenges. We started roaming behind the main group along grass that we hoped was the “official path” because with a walk that long we couldn’t really afford to take the scenic route. Our late start also meant that we couldn’t afford to really take a break at the top of each peak as we risked not being at the final check point by 4pm and being carted off in the mini bus with those not able to finish…

For the first 10 miles:  we walked, we talked, and we laughed. The view was absolutely breath taking (so was the climb) and we were really enjoying the trip out of the congested city of London. I honestly remember, naively, wondering why I didn’t do this every weekend.

As the journey continued and our mobility decreased we gained a new basis for empathy with some of our participants. We ploughed on, however, with an awareness of the investment that kind people had made into the completion of the task.

3 peaks 2

MARQUE Researchers on top of the first mountain (and the world)

The final 3 miles were definitely the hardest. We completely lost the ability to talk; which, if you know any of us, you will appreciate is quite out of character. Nevertheless, we continued to drag our heavy, battered limbs through fields lined with pain until we reached the finish line and received our medals. We rewarded our exhaustion with several cups of tea and fish and chips.

The day was a huge success and we managed to raise £1,535 in total for the Alzheimer’s Society! One of the ways we did this was by hosting a bake sale with no fixed prices for cakes. We received amazing support fundraising within our division. We found that people gave generously and we raised £267.55 on just one day within the division. Even Shanlee’s courgette and raisin cakes managed to sell.

cake sale

The cake sale – where even my contribution looks appealing from a distance

I want to say a big thank you to all those who donated and share our story.

I also wanted to acknowledge another fundraising success within the division this year. On the 19th October the CORE team raised £750 for the charity Basmeh & Zeitooneh, a charity committed to serving Syrian refugees in Lebanon and Turkey. Liberty and Monica raised the money in creative and exciting ways. They approached local business for donations to add to a raffle. They also organised a silent auction and approached local colleagues to donate their time and offer experiences. This provided a fabulous auction that included everything from: a day out sailing for two; to hot drinks made by Monica for a week. These events were orchestrated around a highly enjoyable and well attended pub quiz!

I really wanted to write this piece so that we could celebrate these successes and say thank you to everybody that donated. I also want to actively encourage other research teams to do the same.

Fundraising events within the department are a great means to multiple good ends. They can bring research teams together and get people talking across the department – all whilst raising money for really good causes!

I would, therefore, encourage everybody to think about how we could do this more within the department: whether that’s up Pen-y-Ghent or down at the pub.

MeWritten by: Sarah Robertson, PhD Student & Research Assistant on the MARQUE Project

Email: sarah.robertson@ucl.ac.uk

Twitter: @1SarahMae




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