“Fundraising doesn’t need to be done in the typical ways.”
Caroline raised an incredible £1,336 for NASS from her Boutique Sale on Saturday 4 November. She’s sharing her story to inspire others who “don’t want to run a marathon” or “do another a sponsored activity” to fundraise in their own way.
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I was finally diagnosed with axial SpA in 2019 after living with debilitating symptoms of the condition from at least 10 years, when I was diagnosed with the correlating Inflammatory Bowel Disease of Crohn’s.
I’ve been so impressed with the support that NASS has provided not only to me, but to my fellow axial SpA patients. So, when learning at the NASS AGM 2023 how much of a challenge it is to continue to fund these fantastic and unique services, I set about trying to think of ways I might be able to help.
I’ve fundraised for NASS previously in their fantastic “Walk Your AS Off” and “Stretch-tember” sponsored events and wanted to do something a little different this time. I’m really conscious of “fundraising fatigue” and the cost-of-living squeeze – it’s my same wonderful friends and family that are the go-to for my fundraising support. So, I wanted to create a fundraiser that friends and family would also get something out of (not just in the altruism of supporting a fabulous cause!).
I’m known amongst friends and family for my love of fashion and accessories and particularly my love of second-hand shopping. So, I decided to host an “Accessories for Ax Spa” event at my home. I invited all my friends and family to drop in for a glass of fizz, browse accessories to update their wardrobes, all whilst donating to support those living with axial SpA. I encouraged them to donate their preloved accessories – bags, purses, scarves, costume jewellery, and more, as well as any items for a raffle. It also encouraged me to have a good clear out of my own wardrobe too!
Loved ones were very generous, and donated lots of beautiful items. Supported by the NASS Fundraising team, I also decided to ringfence funds raised from the raffle for my local NASS Glasgow Branch. In the week leading up to the event, I set about converting the downstairs of my house into a vintage boutique, creating displays which tapped into my creative side! On the night, it was lovely hearing different friendship groups chatting and sharing the “back stories” of where various accessories had been originally bought. Feedback was incredible and people loved the novelty of the idea, how sustainable it was in giving preloved accessories a new lease of life, the opportunity to come together socially, all whilst generating both funds and awareness of axial SpA.
I’m so proud of how successful it was, raising £307.50 in the raffle for NASS Glasgow Branch and £1,336 for NASS, across donations made in cash, via card payments and online donations. Many of the donations were gift-aided enabling people to increase the benefit of their donation by 25% with no extra cost to themselves.
I think it’s really empowering to kick back against this condition by helping fund support to better enable people to live well with axial SpA. It would be easy to leave fundraising up to other people, or to count yourself out of fundraising because “I can’t run a marathon”, or “I’ve already done a sponsored activity” etc. But fundraising doesn’t need to be done in the typical ways.
You can fundraise in imaginative ways that suit you and the people who support you. I organised “Accessories for Ax Spa”, as that suited me and my friendship group, but you can be as creative as you like, sponsored or not – “Bric-a-Brac for Better Backs”, “Afternoon Tea for axial SpA”, Birthday Party donations instead of presents……the list is endless! Not only will you generate desperately needed funds, but you’ll raise the profile of axial SpA in people’s minds which is an important driver for improved lives.
It feels good to make a difference. You can help make that difference for yourself and others and you may even inspire others to make a difference their own way too. I can’t wait to see everyone’s ideas!