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Chelsea, part of our candidate care team, recently participated in a 24 gaming session, to help raise money for MacMillan Cancer Support, a charity close to her heart. Below she talks about what inspired her fundraising and just how tough it is to play video games for 24 hours straight!
As COVID 19 turned to a global pandemic at the start of 2020, I honestly thought that within a few months our lives would be back to normal – clearly, I was mistaken! As the months went on, I became more aware of the impact that COVID was having on every aspect of life, but for me, the impact on charities and fundraising was truly upsetting. For as long as I can remember I have actively supported various charities and enjoyed fundraising.
When I joined Smile Education in June 2019, I was proud to work for a company who shared my passion for charity, with all staff members contributing money each month in return for dress down Friday and regular fundraising events across the team such as walking the Malvern Hills and creating care packages for the homeless at Christmas.
In late February 2019, a few months before joining Smile Education, I lost my Grandad to Lung Cancer, he wasn’t diagnosed until the disease had reached Stage 4, as a family we knew we had very little time to come to terms with the inevitable. There were so many things we wanted to do and share before it was too late. I had always dreamed of my Grandad walking me down the aisle on my wedding day, after a long engagement, myself and my fiancé decided we would scrap all wedding plans in favour of a small wedding, where my Grandad could give me away. We planned and organised our entire wedding in 2 months, we were to be married on 11th May 2019. On the 9th May 2019, my Grandad lost his battle with cancer.
I know that cancer affects thousands of families every day, including my best friend Amy, who also lost her Grandad to cancer. We talked about the impact of COVID on fundraising and decided we would like to find a way to support a cancer-based charity, whilst following the changing government guidance on COVID.
We decided to support MacMillan, they are an incredible charity who provide emotional, physical and financial support to those affected by the cruel disease, they have dedicated phone lines where you can get advice or just someone to talk if you’re upset or worried, they have a team of dedicated nurses and access to helpful online communities.
MacMillan are always creative with their fundraising, from Coffee Mornings, sports activities, and online events, but many of those haven’t been able to take place throughout 2020. We signed up to take part in the MacMillan ‘Game Heroes’ event, where we would online game for 24 consecutive hours playing games of our choice, fundraising as we went; the team at Smile were the first people to Sponsor us.
On Friday 23rd at 8 pm, we began our marathon, joined by our close friends we flew through the first 8 hours, we updated our social media pages as we went if nothing more than to prove we were still awake!
By 9 am my eyes felt like they were on fire, my hair had returned to its natural wild curly state and I am certain I only had 1 eye open whilst gaming. We took a recommended fresh air brake, got ourselves a smoothie and pushed through, laughing as we did.
We were joined by our close friends again at 4 pm for the final hours as they encouraged us and kept us laughing, by the time the alarm sounded for 8 pm we were ecstatic and a huge wave of emotion hit us, we had done it, we had completed our ‘Game Heroes Marathon’ and we had far exceeded our initial goal of £200, raising an incredible £400.
To some, gaming for 24 hours may not sound like much of a challenge, I know I personally underestimated how difficult it would be, but knowing that we had found a way to raise money to support such an important charity, who are there for people in their darkest days, made every second of tiredness and eye strain was worth it.
I would encourage everyone who is able to, to do something to support a charity of your choice, whether you donate your time, resources or money, every single person can make a difference, especially in these uncertain and scary times.
We’re really proud of Chelsea and all the money raised for such a fantastic charity. As she said above, many of our team have donated to the cause helping her to raise £400 and we’d love to help her raise even more!
If you’d like to donate, you can do so by visiting her JustGiving page.