08 Feb 2018

Claire's challenge for her friends and family

The Haringey Huskies are getting behind the cause, by signing and auctioning off pink shirts they have worn to every match in January.

At 34, married and only a few months into an exciting new job as a nurse lecturer at Birmingham City University, Claire Flatt was happy and enjoying life to the full. Having previously worked in clinical practice at the Heart of England Foundation Trust, as a nurse for thoracic surgery, she was well versed in how to care for people with serious illnesses and the coping strategies patients need. But it wasn’t until she was unexpectedly diagnosed with cervical cancer and then, only two weeks later, told she also had breast cancer that her life flipped upside down and she was forced to find some coping strategies of her own.

During the early days of diagnosis, Claire’s family and friends were eager to support her and help her out when they could. However, there was little they could actually do other than being there when she needed them. “It took me a while to accept that it was ok to not be ok and ask for help when needed, I was so used to being independent.”

Claire didn’t want to be defined by the cancer, so decided to launch #claireschallenge. This gave her family, friends and supporters, the opportunity to challenge themselves and try something new by taking up a fundraising challenge for two charities that were increasingly important to her – Macmillan Cancer Care and Cancer Research.

“I knew their stories would create some amazing memories and it would help to know we were not only challenging ourselves, but collectively raising vital money for two amazing charities which, in turn, will not only help me but other people and families going through cancer.”

To date, over 22 different fundraising challenges have taken place including bake sales, cycling events and marathons. And now, the Haringey Huskies are getting behind the cause, by signing and auctioning off pink shirts they have worn to every match in January.

“I’ve been overwhelmed by people’s enthusiasm and generosity. I reached my original target of £5,000 within six weeks! A variety night organised by Jo, one of my closest friends, will take place in February has already sold over 200 tickets and raised more than £2,000. So, given the support and motivation of everyone to date, I believe that I can raise more than £10,000 to help those in need."

Until she decided to launch the campaign #claireschallenge, Claire had been unaware that most fundraising platforms take commission, reducing the amount that charities receive from generous donations.

“I was horrified at the percentage taken by some platforms. It didn’t sit well with me – especially when people had given their time and effort for charitable causes. I now tell everyone that MyDonate doesn’t take any commission, so more money goes directly to the charities you care about.”

Claire felt it was easy to set up her fundraising page on MyDonate and was impressed that the BT support team have been on hand to assist her every step of the way. “They’ve been great at helping me promote all the fundraising events and how I can use social media to raise more awareness, and ultimately attract more donations.”

Having done so much good work to help others, Claire recently received some excellent news of her own: she no longer has cervical cancer. And, while she is still undergoing treatment for breast cancer, she is determined to stay positive and committed to donating to the fundraising campaign she set up.

“I’m looking forward to doing my own challenges once I’m better. I’ve got two fundraising trips in mind – one to climb Mount Kilimanjaro with my husband, who’s been so incredible throughout this journey and a second to cycle from London to Paris – I’d only had my new bike four weeks before I became unwell. I’m not sure how I’ll get on but one thing I know for definite – I’ll be using MyDonate as my fundraising platform.”

To support Claire, please visit: https://mydonate.bt.com/fundraisers/claireschallenge and you can follow her progress across social media using #claireschallenge.


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