Four years ago, Lauren was diagnosed with Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis. Family friend, Jon decided he wanted to do something to make her feel special, by sending her to Disneyland Paris.
Hi Jon. Can you tell us a bit about yourself and your relationship with Lauren and her family?
Hmm, okay. So, I’m a 36 year old guy that’s always wanted to be fitter than I actually am but I really like pizza so its very hard to strike a balance! I really love the idea of obstacle races and have always loved social and competitive activities and want to do more of them, so I gather my friends and together we just go for it.
I've known Lauren's parents, Andy and Victoria for an absolute age, I had the honour of being Best Man at their wedding and although we never see each other as much as we would like I count them among my greatest and most inspirational friends.
“We were completely overwhelmed by the generosity of Jon, his team of fund-raisers and their family and friends. Lauren was so excited from the moment she found out counted down the days until finally the big day arrived! It really was a once-in-a-lifetime holiday and one that we will never forget.”
- Lauren's Mum and Dad
How did you find out about JustGiving and what prompted you to set up your page?
I’d heard about JustGiving before, I have a few friends who like running Marathons and they always use JustGiving to run their campaigns, I always tried to help when I could, so I had a little understanding about how running a JustGiving page works.
I’ve always been alright at events and promoting them, I figured if I could set myself some tough goals to hit, then not only could I take part in obstacle course races and try to get a little healthier, I could also be able to do a little good for someone else out there. So, in an effort to up my own game I set up a page on JustGiving and with the help of a few friends we set about trying to do a little good.
How did you initially come to decide the target amount on your page?
That was easy, we knew we wanted three tickets to Disneyland, so the initial target was that. Simple.
Once we hit that, we challenged ourselves a little and tried to add special activies for Lauren, like a Character Breakfast, so we added the cost to the target and tried to keep going.
Did you train for the Muscle Acre and what was it like on the day?
Yes, yes I did. I had no choice, I am twice the size of most people and I felt like I needed to achieve a basic level of fitness even to take part. I started doing Spinning classes and hitting the gym sometimes up to 5 times a week. Although I did some fairly intense sessions which did increase my fitness levels, I wish I had run more as when the day of the race came around I had done no running at all and was now faced with 5k to run.
The race itself was amazing! So much fun, so much mud and so much support! There were four of us in “The Fairy Godbrothers”. We made sure that each of us tackled every obstacle and supported each other throughout. If you ever need to know who your real friends are, they are the ones that will be with you in the freezing waters and muddy ditches of an obstacle course in the middle of winter.
We had so much fun on the day, we were cheered around the course itself by staff and spectators and we looked resplendent in our pink shirts and tutus.
Since you reached your target and your page closed, how have the funds been used? If Lauren has been on holiday, how was her experience?
So, as soon as we got the funds I called Laurens father and booked three tickets to Disneyland for the Winter Celebrations they host every Christmas. All three of them had a fantastic time and luckily Lauren’s JIA cleared a little before the trip so she was able to fully experience Disneyland.
Now you’ve completed this campaign, what’s next?!
So, we now have 9 Fairy Godbrothers on the team, on the 16th July and we are running another Muscle Acre and hoping to send another young deserving child to Disneyland Paris. I had thought that the Godbrothers would have been a once only kind of deal but it’s taken on a life of its own and we are now aiming to send one child each year for as long peoples generosity (and our legs) holds out.
What top 3 tips would you give to someone who was going to set up a Crowdfunding Page?
- Give yourself some time to ramp up interest in your page before it goes lives. We had a number of generous
donors waiting in the wings to get involved.
- Have some people from different social circles share your page and widen your reach.
- Make sure you do an update every couple of days and continue the story of your cause, keep your page and cause at the front of peoples mind.