As my Birthday on the 4th March (Sunday) is fast approaching, I would like to invite you all to do something for others. If you were thinking of buying me a Birthday present this year, I would like you to donate to a cause I am running Silverstone Half Marathon for (on the 11th March) INSTEAD. The amount does not matter, it can be £5, £10, £20 or any other. By doing so, you are supporting the Mission to Seafarers, a charity that has helped out a lot of crew members working on ships (including me!). Again: It does not matter how much, what matters is a gesture!
As many of you know, I used to work as a cruise ship photographer for a couple of years. Except for the highlights such as seeing the World, making friends from every corner of the Globe and becoming professional photographer, working on ships had its` dark side...
I experienced an incredible loneliness, being separated from family and friends, including two Christmas periods in a row. I worked my butt off, 12-14 hours a day, losing the track of time - I never knew what day of a week it was! And I got physically very ill. Having breathed in lots and lots of iodine from the salty seas that evaporated into the air, combined with the amount of work we had to do, caused me to suffer from thyroitoxicosis. It`s a disease where your thyroid refuses to funcion and therefore your body refuses to funcion normal as well. In the end I was forced to resign from working on ships for medical reasons.
The reason why I am writing all about it is because whilst I was a cruise ship photographer, visiting all those beautiful ports of call and being away from my beloved ones, in some of those places I found Mission to Seafarers call centres, where I could use cheap phone cards to call family on the other side ofthe World, or surf internet and update my travel blog www.travelpod.com/members/bogna
As they describe themselves: "Around the world, night and day, The Mission to Seafarers provides help and support to those in need. As a Christian agency, we work in more than 230 ports caring for the practical and spiritual welfare of seafarers of all nationalities and faiths. (...)These are places where seafarers can contact their loved ones from whom they are separated for months on end, receive assistance with any problems they may be facing and get a break from their demanding way of life onboard ship."
They also visit sick crew members in hospitals and provide any assistance they need.
Now, I have plenty of friends who still continue working on ships in different roles - from photographers, performers, through facilities, waiters, guest services, cooks, officers, and even ships` captains.
Donating through JustGiving is simple, fast and totally secure. Your details are safe with JustGiving – they’ll never sell them on or send unwanted emails. Once you donate, they’ll send your money directly to the charity and make sure Gift Aid is reclaimed on every eligible donation by a UK taxpayer. So it’s the most efficient way to donate - I raise more, whilst saving time and cutting costs for the charity.
Guys, if every one of you gives £10 or any other amount, I will make sure all the money will go for the Mission to Seafarers. So that they can build more centres for crew members all over the World. And help my friends from ships feel a bit less lonely... Every little helps!