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Sharon's marching mums! (and Amy's 'name the dog' competition)

When my dad was diagnosed with prostate cancer earlier this year the experience felt life changing. He had never been ill a day in his life, so to be told he had cancer when he looked outwardly well was impossible to comprehend. I decided that once his treatment was settled, I would do some fundraising to help find a cure for this horrible disease.

Professor Stebbing who is currently treating my Dad, gave the reassurance I needed that things weren't so bad, which really lifted the strain that I felt personally. We were extremely impressed by his expertise and positive attitude. When I found out that there was a charity linked to Professor Stebbing's work it was the natural choice for my fundraising efforts. I am so impressed by his research team, whose commitment is abundantly clear. They are proactive and dynamic and I really believe they could be the ones to make a real difference!

Feeling inspired by the work of the Action Against Cancer team and my own experiences, I discussed the idea of a sponsored walk with a couple of mums at my children's school as this was something simple that everyone could do. Their reaction was extremely positive and quickly the idea spread. Many of the mums had personal experiences of cancer involving someone close to them and several had helped me through my own experience, so there were many volunteers! In the end 14 mums took part in the 10 mile walk from school. The walk was such an enjoyable social experience that the mums ended up doing the same route several times just for the exercise!

Fantastic efforts were made to raise funds from sponsorship and despite bad weather more money was raised from collecting in Ware town centre. Our fundraising target increased gradually which kept us motivated. Some firms matched their employees donations which considerably increased the amounts raised. The MyDonate online giving website was fantastic for raising sponsorship and it was amazing how easy the whole process was to manage; also seeing the amounts raised on the website encouraged competition between the mums to see who could raise the most! Many people who took part in the walk and several who couldn't this time have asked if we can do it again next year, so it may be set to become an annual event!

We decided that we would try and push the fundraising a bit further with a raffle and a 'name the dog' competition, an idea which was quickly taken over by my 7 year old daughter Amy. She has really enjoyed managing the fundraising herself, creating a chart & selling names to friends at school and their families.

The fundraising experience has helped me through a difficult time. It gave a new focus and a real sense of achievement. In the end the total fundraising exceeded £7,000!

Little things and small ideas can make a big difference, if my 7 year old daughter can do it anyone can.

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Sharon and 7 year old daughter Amys

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