One man, one Brompton, 16 gardens and one very big mountain
I joined Parkinson’s UK as Fundraising Director in 2009. At the time, a number of close family friends had just been diagnosed with Parkinson’s. I suddenly knew a lot of people with the condition – it was a dominant thing in my life that I knew very little about. I’m sure there are newly diagnosed people and their families feeling like this across the UK every week. And like them, I turned to Parkinson’s UK. I now know even more people with Parkinson’s – which just demonstrates the culture of Parkinson’s UK. As a charity, we don’t work on the condition as some distant, intangible thing – we’re right up close to it. We see it every day in people we know and care about. It’s a fantastic place to work – with people who really care. And whilst I’m the Fundraising Director at Parkinson’s UK, I still consider myself a Fundraiser. I’ve always loved fundraising – I’m passionate about it. I love learning about how and why people give. It fascinates me. It’s a really, really special thing. I’ve been in fundraising for 25 years, and I still love every day of being a fundraiser. I’m also a passionate “Brommy” and cycle my Brompton bicycle to work every day. So when a personal connection put me in contact with Brompton and suggested I partner with them, I was delighted. Brompton have now very kindly donated a bicycle to Parkinson’s UK. My first task was dreaming up a challenge worthy of the beautiful folding bike. The generosity of a company like Brompton Bicycle got me thinking about other partners who are kind enough to support Parkinson’s UK. And before long, I had settled on not one, but two fundraising challenges. Earlier this year, Parkinson’s UK was made a permanent beneficiary of the National Gardens Scheme – an incredible charitable organisation that has donated more than £45million to health care charities. To celebrate their 4th annual Festival Weekend on the 4 and 5 June, I decided I’d cycle the special Brompton around 16 of their London open gardens. Two weeks later on the 18 June, a team of 21 Parkinson’s UK supporters will be cycling up a mountain that stands 1,912 metres above sea level. This isn’t just any mountain – it’s a triple ascent of Mont Ventoux in Provence, France – a regular feature of the Tour de France. The Parkinson’s UK cycle challenge, Ventouxᵌ, was developed to celebrate the support of corporate partners, so like the NGS, this seemed the perfect fit! Brompton have now built me an incredible 6-speed bike specially modified for hill-climbing, with a blue frame to represent Parkinson’s UK and Ventouxᵌ, and a yellow saddle to signify our partnership with the NGS. Early starts to fit in my training and battling the unpredictable UK weather has been tough at times – but I’m feeling optimistic, and as ever I’m encouraged and motivated by the incredible generosity of my sponsors. My fundraising will specifically be helping to raise vital funds for research – because I believe a cure for Parkinson’s is possible in our lifetime. But Parkinson’s UK couldn’t do this work without the support of donors like the NGS and Brompton. Once I’ve completed my challenges, I’ll in turn be donating the bike to a free prize draw – one small way to thank everyone for supporting Parkinson’s UK. To find out details of how to #winthebike visit: www.justgiving.com/fundraising/PaulJacksonClark or text BIKE to 86222 to make an optional £5 donation to Parkinson’s UK via mobile. Follow Paul Jackson-Clark at @PJacksonClark and @ParkinsonsUK for updates on his double challenge.
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