The fundraising continues….,

“Keep walking through the storm, your rainbow is waiting on the other side”

If you read my last blog, you would know I had a “blip”! I let myself fall to a depth where I felt overwhelmed with all that I was doing. The continual thoughts of how to reach our pledged total started to dominate. It lasted about 24 hours. John felt it too but a day after me so we were able to help each other out.

Eventually I remembered one of my “laws” of life: it will pass. I know it comes from a well know spiritual saying but I read it in my Mums magazine and I’ve been trying to live by it ever since. I must have been a young teenager and her magazine was a newspaper-like print magazine, not glossy printed like most are now. It was called “Red Letter”, I used to pinch it off her and read it all the time.

It was where I first read “sugar hardens your arteries” – and I immediately stopped taking sugar in tea and stopped having “sugar butties”!!

The “it will pass” story was in one of the readers letters, where someone would write in with words of wisdom or little stories, I can’t recall names but it was from a lady who told of what her grandmother always said to her “whatever it is, remember it will pass, but remember this applies for all situations – bad or good”.

It was the second half that really struck a cord with me – remember the good times will pass too! So my rule is to enjoy opportunities, to take them on board if they feel right for you – but remember don’t be complacent nor arrogant about any situation – for it too will pass!

The tough times pass too, sometimes you just have to sit it out, over the years I’ve learnt that tough times are often challenges to learn and develop from.

So my blip passed and I was back in full swing to achieve our target of £20,000.

I was back on board organising events, requesting raffle prizes, booking venues, ensuring people knew about them …..remembering this amount of work will too pass.

I constantly held in my mind our target, I never falter in my belief that we will achieve it. I know it requires effort, commitment and sacrifices but I know it is achievable.

I know we are getting closer. Closer to our target and therefore closer to the collective target of £200,000 set by Wooden Spoon.

There is a team going to Tibet, to Everest. There is a team that will be together trekking to Advanced base camp and as a team we will be playing rugby – and yes we will play at the highest altitude and set a new world record….. but when all that has passed, when we are safely home and the game has been played the funds will be there. Funds raised from all manner of ways: meals, walks, dances, donations, balls, auctions.

The total will be added up and then it can be converted into benefits. We can see what our efforts will have achieved – for me, it’s not only the world record, it’s not just about playing rugby, it’s definitely an opportunity to see Tibet and Mount Everest, but most of all it is the opportunity to see changes in the lives of some children. Changes from routines, bringing things to them they never thought they would, children who may be able join a team to play wheelchair rugby from a specially adapted chair provided by Wooden Spoon, children who can feel items to stimulate and awaken their senses, children who may be able to play in adventure playgrounds funded Wooden Spoon that may not have had access to them before. Who maybe too can believe in this too will pass.

Your help is so important.

Our current individual total is at 80% of our pledged. I think that’s amazing, but I would like that to pass. Would you?

Please help. There is still time to donate at

http://www.virginmoneygiving.com/JohnCurtis15

Or text

EVERESTVIV20 to 70085

(This will give a donation of £20 but you can donate as little as £3 and know that every penny will go to Wooden Spoon)

You can find out more at

http://www.woodenspoon.org.uk

Thank you!

I know it will make a difference….

and making a difference is exactly what is keeping me going. Keeping me going with all the fundraising. I have to admit I’m feeling quite exhausted and at times overwhelmed. I had a little blip tonight when I felt I couldn’t do anymore.

I allowed myself to feel it’s all too much, I was fundraising instead of training. Blogs, tickets, organising and work were all taking up my time. I was close to saying I couldn’t do it. We had an email reminding us of our contractual obligation of raising £10,000 each. We’ve almost made it to Johns total and we will go some distance above that with the arranged events, but not enough for my commitment as well.

Together with knowing my training has taken a back seat, I started to doubt myself.

Was I fit enough to take on this challenge?  Would the altitude affect me again?  Would it be better I failed now?  Would I let my team and the other challengers down? Would I not be ready to uphold my expectations and those of my donors and sponsors?

I had to turn these thoughts around.  These were not the norm for me, I had to dig deep and find the energy to move on.  Could I do it?

 

 

 

 

It started in a wheelchair…..

My fundraising for Wooden Spoon started late compared to the other challengers as I only signed for the LMAX exchange Everest Rugby Challenge late last year. I knew I had a lot of catching up to do and I also knew it would be doubly challenging as the combined total of John and I is £20,000!

So why did I do it? Why I have I put myself through this anxious period – amidst the physical training for the event and still continuing with my normal working hours?

If you’ve been reading my blogs you will know that the Wheelchair Rugby event I was privileged to take part in played a large part in my decision. I decided to sit in a wheelchair and play. The others did too – they didn’t have to play, they didn’t have to go through the difficulty of getting from one chair to another, they could have decided to stay home and be looked after by others. But they didn’t, most of the Solent Sharks team that I was invited to play with, do have to be helped and looked after by others for some part of their day, but they chose to play rugby in a moving chair – they chose to play when it wasn’t easy. Why? I guess they all have their own answers and feelings on that one but as I see it – out there on the pitch they had freedom, they had their own independence and they had decisions to make with each play of the ball. They smiled, they laughed, they were serious and they had fun. And I guess for that time during the game they were able to do this on their own.

I’ve recently played my first game of rugby (see separate blog post) and I remembered my wheelchair rugby game – it displayed the same values: teamwork, independence, fun, respect and sportsmanship. For the time on the pitch we were running from the same place. I am so grateful for the lessons I learn throughout life, from the different areas they come from and currently my main gratitude goes to rugby and all that it represents. Thank you.

More and more I am committed to the same core values of the children’s charity Wooden Spoon, I feel closer to their vision that n………all children should have the same opportunity…..

I am proud to be part of this World Record Attempt for the highest game of rugby but increasingly I am more proud to be raising not only funds, but awareness for the awesome charity Wooden

We all make decisions every day, some of us are privileged enough not to have any physical nor circumstance limitations, but we still have a choice.

A choice to have fun or be angry. A choice to stay indoors or get out in nature. A choice to be ourselves or be what others want us to be. A choice to be kind or not. Acts of kindness are the wheels of the world. My wheels are turning at the moment and my direction is towards disabled and disadvantaged young people who have limited choices. To bring to them the chance to have some choices and to find the joy that lies in every aspect of life. No matter your circumstance.

Today I celebrate joy.

I thank you you for reading my blog and I make no apology for ending this post again with asking if you have the ability to – could you donate to the children’s charity that is making a difference to young people’s lives!

All donations are appreciated and ALL will go to the charity (and not towards payment of the trip)

Www.virginmoneygiving.com/JohnCURTIS15

Or Text

EVERESTVIV20 to 70085 to donate £20 or EVERESTVIV5 to 70085 to donate £5

You could also donate £3 or £10.

Thank you so very much, not from me but from the children who will benefit from the projects your donation will support.

Rugby Training

All in aid of the Wooden Spoon charity:

You can help to raise funds for projects to make life easier and more enjoyable for disabled and disadvantaged children: Please donate at:

http://www.virginmoneygiving.com/JohnCurtis15

First ever rugby game:

When you are faced with a challenge it’s important you embrace all aspects of it. Of course it is, so when you are attempting to break a world record to play rugby at the highest altitude – you have to know how to play rugby.

There were a couple of reasons why I didn’t sign up for this challenge at the time that John did and one of them was that I wasn’t a rugby player. I like watching rugby, and with John being a great fan and an ex-rugby player I have watched quite a few matches and tournaments, we always enjoy the Six Nations and the World Cup and maybe I thought I knew what goes on in a game – although John has to be patient with me as I continually ask why a penalty has been given. I know you run forwards towards your touch line. I know you run with the ball. I know you pass to someone behind you. I know you place the ball over the touch line to score a try. But knowing and doing are two quite different things when it comes to playing rugby…..

Last Sunday the North Dorset Rugby Football Club took myself and John under their wing and invited us to practice with them. We were to join the youngsters and try out some drills. I was looking forward to it, even if I admit to being a little nervous! It was all set for us to meet our coach George Cordle at the training ground. Then the last minute text came “bring something warm and rugby boots” Aha! I hadn’t quite worked it through that well because not only did I not possess any rugby boots I had never actually worn rugby boots at any stage in my life!! So after a few hellos and introductions at the Club, the next stop was at the Lost Property to find some boots to fit. I have small feet at size 4, that was OK it was mainly children’s boots that had ended up in there – but the boots just didn’t seem to be the right shape for my feet – too long, too narrow, only 1 of them! After a little perseverance we both found a pair.

Onto the pitch now? Not quite. “Can you say a few words to the Under 12’s?” Of course we say, having not prepared nor thought about how to explain it to that age group! “Oh and bring in some of the key values of rugby too”. No problem – we say! Well, I think we did alright, the children and parents were genuinely interested in our challenge and we received some interactive questions – and we managed to bring in Respect and Sportsmanship somehow!

So now the pitch, just for some ball throwing, catching and running, just some drills?

Well we started with a warm up but we were very soon involved in some mini games involving different criteria – when you catch the ball you have to touch it to the ground, you can only take three steps before you have to pass the ball on! So much to think about! As well as Run Forward Pass back, never be in front of the ball. Oh yes – never be in front of the ball – well how does that work when you pass backwards?!

After being in the wrong place several times I eventually got the hang of it – a quick shifty back to the line.

I also hadn’t realised how much I remembered how to play netball having not played it since school. The first time I caught the ball (yes I did catch it sometimes!) I stopped! Amazing what you automatically remember! But obviously not the right thing to do in a rugby game!

And where was that touch line? It all looks so obvious when watching the whole playing area on TV. But a very different matter being on the ground. Where was it? Where was I? Oops my first try had gone over the dead ball line! With some shouting from the sideline I managed to run, find the touch line and score a second try.

I loved the day, I found it very informative and just what I needed to be shown the ropes of rugby. The children I played with and against were amazing. They took me in and gave me tips and guided me all the way. Thank you all under 10’s and under 9’s of North Dorset Rugby Football Club – it was a pleasure to train with you. I hope I do you proud in succeeding in playing the highest game of rugby in history. If I do / it was the children NDRFC that played my first ever game with me – me! Who may just well become one of only five females to play the highest game of rugby – ever!

And to finish off a fabulous morning of training – players of the week!!!

Not a bad day at the office……

What happens when you say you are aiming to raise £20,000 for charity?

  • Well, after a few comments of “that’s a lot of money ” “that is loads” . “How are you going to raise that?” ……the energy changes, the room becomes charged with positive intentions.  The awareness of what that amount of money will do to help the lives of disabled and disadvantaged children kicks in. 
  • The room went quiet for a moment, then there were discussions of “you are crazy” when the event we are taking part in to raise this amount is explained.

    The LMAX Exchange Everest Rugby Challenge is a big deal, it is a world record attempt – and when it is successful I will be one of only 5 females to have played rugby at that height.  All the challengers are really up for this, some are current rugby players, some have played in the past, some just like watching it, others like trekking and travel and some simply want to be involved with the charity. The excitement is building as the time approaches – not long to go now, not many weekends and not much time to raise money!

    So what happens??…. after the realisation of the enormity of the task – my friends and colleagues say “we’ll help you” On this particular day one said “we should do a therapist day”. 

    Wow, the kindness of those I come into contact with just came oozing out.  Liz Meyer “picked up the ball and ran with it”.  Due to her tenacity and committment a “Time to be Tranquil” day was organised.  The date was set, the venue was found and the therapists agreed.

    24th February was the day, Hindon Village Hall the venue and four therapists booked that day in the diary. Others said they would serve teas and cake and recruited an army of bakers to bake a selection of delicious homemade cakes.

    Someone volunteered to be around to welcome people in and take the money.

    It was set, it was organised and people booked in!

    It was a super day – 37 treatments were given, teas were drunk and cakes were eaten and also bought to take home. There was 3 couches and one massage chair. Treatments on offer were hand, feet, face massage, seated back massage, aromatherapy face massage, Indian head massage, Reiki treatments or combinations. Sessions were charged st £20 for 20 minute sessions. Some bought two sessions back to back to enjoy the time for longer!!

    The atmosphere in the hall soon settled into a quiet and nurturing space, people came for their booked session and didn’t want to leave. Tea and cakes alone made £185 for Wooden Spoon.

    Do you know what that would buy? – four beanbags in a teenager only area of a children’s hospice to enable them to enjoy time with people their own age and be independent.

    The total of the day was £950 – that means we could fund – two sound and touch responsive colour globes which could enable children with cognitive disability to communicate for the first time.

    With your help we are on our way to achieving amazing things. Our total stands at £8000! Phenomenal!

    £10,000 could fund a specialist sensory room using light, touch and sound to stimulate the senses of children and young people with a range of disabilities.

    Please keep donating and share this blog to whoever you know has a kind heart and will join us in this huge task!

    Thank you!

    www.virginmoneygiving.com/johncurtis15

    Look out for my events page which gives details of evenings we are organizing to raise even more more whilst having fun!!

    Thank you

    Pilates for Charity

    Thank you to all those who came along to my first Pilates class at Fovant.

    What a wonderful turnout and a great start to the pot of money being raised by this event for Wooden Spoon. I look forward to seeing you next week and supporting you on your Pilates journey.

    Classes take place on Mondays at 11.15 am at Fovant Village Hall

    I love taking classes and seeing people embrace concepts they had not really thought about before. For some the technique of Pilates is totally new. I aim to teach in a non-competitive way and trying to convey the importance of being aware what you are actually doing

    Being mindful in what we do in all things brings a clearness and clarity into our lives. Sometimes we can feel overwhelmed with all the “stuff” we load on ourselves to do and sometimes feel pressured to achieve more and more.

    However, when we slow down and take our time – we actually start to see the time – by that I mean, – do you ever get to the end of a day or a week and wonder “where did that go?” Even sometimes finding it difficult to recall what you did? Well, if we give ourselves a chance to see and feel the time we begin to notice things with calmness and clarity.

    That’s what I know I’ll find on my trek to Advanced Base Camp on Mount Everest. Just walking. Just being where I am at that moment. Perhaps you read my blog of my Camino de Santiago nearly two years ago, where I tried to put across that not only every day mattered but every moment, every step. Once that step is taken it’s gone and we are on to the next. Yet we’ve needed the previous step to get us where we are. But we can’t stay stuck at that step because we would not move forward. Our life’s journey is just that – one step at a time.

    And that’s what I’ll be doing on Everest – one step at a time. Until we reach the plateau where our rugby matches will take place. I don’t know how I’ll feel, I don’t know whether I will achieve the world record – but what I do know is that I will treasure each step that takes me towards it.

    Just as I appreciate every pound that you donate. The Wooden Spoon charity brings joy into the lives of children who otherwise would not have the opportunity to move forward.

    Thank you for supporting me and all the challengers who are giving their time to raise £200,000 for disabled and disadvantaged children throughout the UK and Ireland.

    Please donate – large or small amounts – to

    http://www.virginmoneygiving.com/JohnCurtis15

    Or Text

    EverestViv10 to 70085 to donate £10

    ( or 20 for £20, 5 for £5)

    More events to help me raise money are coming up too – email me if you would like to be involved or know more:

    Everestrugbychallenge@gmail.com

    Thank you from me

    Thank you from John

    But most of all Thankyou from the children and young people who will benefit from your donation

    Winter Mountain Skills

    A scheduled training weekend in Scotland saw John and I pondering over flights, roads and rail to find the best route up there. There wasn’t really a best route, as with most things in life – there is always more than one way, and what is best for one doesn’t necessarily fit someone else.

    We were to go just South of Fort William to a place called Onich. The Hotel Onich was used by Adventure Peaks to run their mountaineering courses from. An ideal location for Ben Nevis area and Glen Coe.

    So John and I drove to Bristol airport, flew to Glasgow, got a bus to Queen street station and took a train to Fort William where we hopped in Jamie’s taxi who took us straight to the hotel (and picked us up again on Monday morning with the promise of donating on our virgin money giving page!He was so kind) .

    The train journey was incredible, as well as the train being very comfortable (and we met Tim, a gentle chatty stranger who worked at the Youth Hostel in Fort William who donated via our page – thank you!) with plenty of seats and tables, the scenery it went through was stunning. Pretty much following the West Highland Way we went through areas of “not to be reached by road”. Very special.

    We hired crampons and Ice axes and were set to learn how to use these sharp implements. I’d been a rock climber years ago but had never ventured into Ice climbing nor any winter walking that needed crampons. I was apprenhensive, mainly wondering whether I would be strong enough, but silently looking forward to it.

    Armed with all our kit and walking in hired boots we set off to the Ben Nevis area. But where was the snow? Where was the ice? Well there certainly wasn’t going to be much with the temperature about 8 degrees…. and there wasn’t, but there was plenty of rain. Always expect what you least expect or want!

    Our personal sponsors Paultons Park and AJN Steelstock

    But that was just Saturday…

    the snow came overnight and this was Sunday….

    Still no crampons and Ice axe practice – but a beautiful walk all the same. Thank you to the 4 wonderful guides that got us to the top of a Munroe and back again.

    From microphone to mountains – I don’t want an Oscar!

    A blue microphone. Two blue microphones, three if you include the interviewer’s as well. These were the microphones in front of my face of Spire FM two days ago when John and I had our dulcet tones recorded for airing soon.

    Am I pleased for technology and editing?! Yes, I fluffed my words again – but the magic of electronics means you probably won’t hear them. I did however start to relax and managed to get out the salient points!

    – Mainly the reason behind our challenge – our fundraising attempts for Wooden Spoon.

    John was a star and appeared quite calm and natural when he explained about the world record attempt and the charity. Why is he so good at everything? Actually I’m very grateful he is – he did admit he was nervous and didn’t believe he’d made a good job of it!!

    It shows how easy we can have a completely different opinion of ourselves than others perceive. Whilst training this weekend in Scotland I was introduced to the “mini video camera” that some of the challengers are using to record an ongoing diary. I had an interesting conversation with fellow challenger Robin Callaway about the ability to talk in front of the camera. He said he was nervous at first but says – you just “do it” – what is there to fear? And he’s right. As long as the truth comes across – just say it, look straight at the camera and say what you mean. So that’s me – I’m going to seek out more media interviews and just do it! After all – I’m not looking for an Oscar or anything I just want as many people to know about Wooden Spoon and our donation page –

    Www.virginmoneygiving.com/JohnCURTIS15

    Thank you

    THE Podcast!!

    Motcombe Pilates Mats To Mount Everest – Viv’s Charity Record Attempt

    Listen and read at ThisisAlfred.com

    http://thisisalfred.com/community/motcombe-pilates-mats-to-mount-everest-vivs-charity-record-attempt/

    Unfortunately I’m not really as “with it” as I thought! I cannot get the above link to work by clicking on it – you may have to cut and paste into your browser, alternatively I can send you the link via email or Whats App

    Thank you for the donations already received – what generosity!

    We still have a long way to go however – ALL donations go to the charity Wooden Spoon.

    Please donate at http://www.virginmoneygiving.com/JohnCURTIS15

    Thank You!!