Updated: May 24

I don’t know about you, but for me, there is just something about fundraising that makes me feel whole. And when I see people fundraising for a charity that exists to help people like myself, I just feel an enormous sense of gratitude.

In October, I took part in the ‘10,000 steps a day’ challenge for Versus Arthritis and managed to raise £630. Unfortunately, during the WHOLE of October, I was in a flare-up, with both knees affecting me. During my October flare and since, I have completed my 31 days of 10,000 steps; just not as fluently or as easy as I would’ve liked. But hey ho, a simple and easy ride wouldn’t be in true chronic illness style, would it!?

A few weeks ago, a friend and local lad, Fred Fox told us that he was doing the Kettlewell 10k and would like to do it in aid of Arthritis. My family and I were so touched. I would love to be able to do the 10k with him, but let’s not be unrealistic! So, I offered to help him out with the admin side and fundraising and leave the physical bit to him!

I have known Fred for about 3 years now, since he and his family moved to the village. I’ve seen him around and about over the years, through all stages of RA journey. He’s seen me on good days - having a laugh at the pub and seeming like a relatively normal 23 years old – and noticed me missing from events or time on the farm, unable to simply go outside or even walk about.

When I was first diagnosed, I really battled with the thought of letting people see me struggle. Seeming weak or unable is something I think I’ll always hate, but like many others, Fred would never see it as a weakness and always offered to help with anything out of generosity, not pity. It’s interactions like these that, as a chronic illness sufferer, help you to accept asking for help is okay.

Even though it’s all for a great cause, it can feel a little uncomfortable asking people to part with their hard-earned money, so when we first set up Fred’s JustGiving page we set a modest target of £300. This was soon surpassed and, as the donations kept rolling in, we’ve recently increased the target to an amazing £2000. We are both so overwhelmed and grateful for everyone’s donations. The more we can raise, the more Versus Arthritis can do to help both sufferers and their families.

We are currently at just under the £1500 mark and would be absolutely thrilled if we could meet our target by race day - 29th May. However, donations will also be accepted for up to two weeks after this.

To show what fundraising efforts like Fred’s mean to a charity such as Versus Arthritis, they have sent me a little piece to say thank you:

At its heart, Versus Arthritis exists for and because of the community of people coming together to defy arthritis. The money you raise will help to fund vital research and breakthrough treatments. It will enable important work to influence government to see arthritis as a priority, and to demand better for people with arthritis. And it will help to fund round the clock support, so we can be there for everyone who needs us, whenever they need us. In short, your fundraising will help to ensure that one day no one has to tolerate the pain, fatigue and isolation of arthritis alone. We couldn't do what we do without you and amazing fundraisers like you. Thank you so much.