Many of you will know that (a while ago) I made the decision to give the go ahead for my sister to set up a //FUNDRAISING PAGE// for my ongoing health treatment with //LYME DISEASE/ CFS//. You can read more about my initial reluctance and hesitation //HERE// in my achingly raw blog post, but the break-down gist of it was that I was embarrassed to ask for help and receive donations. Totally ashamed.
Its not particularly pleasant being quite so vulnerable and needy to be quite honest.
Ive realised that during life there are many safety nets which shield us from shame, and an abundance of money (to heal, to live, to plan) is one of the biggies.
Yet, as I remove myself from the equation and give myself chance to reflect (and take an objective view) I know that I am also humbled by the experience. Of course, no one would choose to ask for help, but perhaps humility is an experience many of us would actually benefit from?
Circumstances truly don’t make one superior human to another, and I believe (with everything) that no-one knows exactly how they would react unless they are in the exact same position. I never thought that I would be opening asking for money, and I’ll be honest and admit there is still a little shame and vulgarity surrounding the issue. But it has lessoned a lot. As ever, it is the worry and the fear which weighs heavier than actually immersing ourselves in the issue. For once we have jumped we quickly acclimatise. Have you noticed that?
I have acclimatised. Somewhat so anyway.
I do perhaps still want to bury my face in my hands if someone mentions my campaign to me, but the charge is nowhere near as strong. I made a difficult (yet liberating) choice and I’ve stuck with it. You have to.
And you know what, it hasn’t been so bad at all. Quite the opposite infact. Through the setting up of my fundraising page I have felt incredibly supported and loved. From expected and quite unexpected sources. From complete strangers, and best buddies. Donations and good wishes alike have brought tears to my eyes and warmth to my heart. Gestures speaking a thousand (often previously unsaid) words from so so many people.
I want to Thank You deeply and sincerely.
All of you. From every gift of £5 to £100. From every kind word and sharing of my fundraising on social media. For those of you who have sent me Lyme Disease information, offered fund-raising help, and asked me questions. For those who generously give their hugs freely and continuously and remind me they care.
I want to thank my little cousin Ella who attempted (somewhat challengingly and with a few false starts) a sponsored silence and her older sister Jasmine who chose a sponsored swim. My Aunty who is in the middle of a 6 month sponsored diet….. These are the memories which this whole idea created.
You have all made a difficult decision worthwhile. Flipped the switch entirely. You haven’t judged me at all and I realise that my fears were unwarranted. My lesson to learn. To know that you back me is more than enough. To hear that you think I am brave is too much. But Thank You.
Additionally – in coming out – in this oh so public way, something I never envisaged occurred. Quite wonderfully, it gave me (and my family) the chance to set the record straight. To tell you the facts and share the details. To make it crystal clear. This was a platform we never knew we needed until we had it.
In the past we have not always felt able to be so open – especially as more and more time passed. If one is burned (by judgement and negativity) it is natural that you retreat…… But this has long past. United we stand as a family and as a team. With us or against us. Your choice. Strong enough (even though we shatter and crack constantly) to stand tall. I am very proud of those who surround me and it has further made me realise just how lucky I am. How Love really is the biggest gift.
Yes, society and critics can often dim us too, and it has took getting a real diagnosis on paper and from top specialists to give us confidence and proof. But the irony of dealing with invisible illness is that often there just is no concrete evidence. All there is is a choice by those around us whether to trust us or not – or even simply whether to support or not.
None of us really know how we would potentially judge things ourselves in different circumstances so this isn’t any kind of attack. Often the only way of knowing something is by living it. The true lesson which I actually needed to learn (I realise now) is simply that I must not let myself be held back or diminished again. I must always have faith in myself no matter what. Your support helped me reach that conclusion.
My consultant teasingly compared me to a witch of olden days. To a time where women with powers unknown to the masses were feared and burned at the stake. Like he says, if we as humans we don’t understand something, then our default response is to rear up and aggressively resist…. After enough time has passed history allows us to re-write the script as we realise dreadful errors and we hopefully learn.
Let us remember how in 1850 Dr. Semmelweis shockingly advised his colleagues that washing their hands to avoid contamination of germs, leading to him being ridiculed and eventually dismissed from his position.
Note in point: What we thought to be true may be disproved as time and lessons advance. Nothing is static and views must evolve in time. There will always be a leader (or group) who sets the precedent for change to occur and mostly, or for a while at least, they will initially be ridiculed before finally a place of acceptance is reached and adopted.
The support which I have received through fundraising has convinced me that times are shifting already.
Ive asked for help and I have received it.
Friends have followed a similar pattern and also received help. The ball is rolling…..
That all being said, I would love to tell you that I am cured and doing cartwheels over and over. But the truth is that I am still deeply in the midst of the darkness of it all. It will be a long journey. There is light and I will slowly work my way towards it but to do so I will have to raise more funds ongoing. Medical care is incredible expensive as many of you know. This is the reality. However, you have allowed me to access the people I need to work with and to make a start. That is huge. And more than that you have made me feel valued and worthwhile and have restored some much needed belief in myself. I will never forget nor underestimate the power and nature of human kindness.
I would love to hear if you too decided to start a fundraising campaign and how it is going? Have you felt more supported than you initially imagined, or the opposite? I made a choice not to get caught up in any negativity when I agreed to this campaign and I am only taking the positives from it. I would definitely advise anyone considering this option to take a similar approach.
Moving forward, we have some fund-raising plans which will incorporate Living Brightly Retreat Days which I am really excited about. Hope you may be able to join us. Stayed tuned or ask me for more details if you are local to Kent.
*DETAILS OF MY //FUNDRAISING PAGE// CAN BE FOUND HERE.