From adrenaline-fuelled challenges like skydiving and wing walking, to charity collections and a spot of campaign modelling – Oonagh is always ready to step up and help ensure hospice care is there for those who need it. Here’s Oonagh’s story:
“My journey with John Taylor Hospice fundraising started about seven years ago but John Taylor was already a part of my family’s life. I grew up in Holly Lane in Erdington just around the corner and still live locally. Mum always went to fundraisers and I was later to learn that the hospice supported my mum who had multiple sclerosis (MS).
My inspiration now is my friend Fran who is supported by JTH. We went to school together, lost contact and about five years ago reconnected. She has a massive heart and is so funny. Her son Louis made a short film about people living with life-limiting illnesses which highlighted the great work the hospice does, and Fran has explained all the services they have offered to her and her family.
I started attending a gym for ladies called Gymophobics and they were looking for a local charity to raise money for. I nominated John Taylor Hospice – and this was before I changed from a member to a trained instructor.
I decided for my 50th birthday I would fundraise so I did the zip wire. I was terrified but Gill from the hospice Reception Team kept me calm and then I found it was fun!
So I thought I’d better do something completely out of my comfort zone next and decided upon skydiving. We had hours of delay before the jump but in that time we had fun and I giggled with the other jumpers – my friends Kate and Emily. Apparently my husband Ian was on the ground sick with nerves while I was in the sky having fun.
Then I felt I needed to help raise more money so my wing walk experience started! Then the dreaded pandemic hit but I had promised to raise money and so I ploughed on, but this time I was still nervous. I had committed, so to the wing I took. I was cold and nervous but determined to do it. The positives were the view was uninterrupted and the team at the airfield were great. My daughters Celia and Isobel said when I touched the ground their dad started breathing again! Are you reading this thinking ‘should I and could I?’. Well, the answer is ‘yes, yes, YES!’. It was fun and scary but so rewarding.
I too now find that I have MS and this has made me more determined to live life to the full. I have been able to push myself whilst helping a great cause. So, I have done most of the sponsored events and will shake a collection bucket anytime. The more contact I have with JTH the more I know it has to be supported. I have found that people have sponsored me because the hospice has helped their family make memories with a loved one. Their support helps people to explore their feelings, manage their pain and talk about their fears. As stated in their ethos; ‘every moment matters’.
So go on, get involved – you’ll never regret it. There are so many ways to support such as the lotto, going to the fundraising balls, doing a sponsored event, visiting and donating to the charity shops and joining the Big Brummie Bake. My work colleagues from the gym and I took part in a spot of modelling for the Brummie Bake and we giggled so much I’m not sure if any of the photos are usable! I also work in a school and we hope to host a cake sale ourselves in the future. I will always have time to help fundraise and hope to meet you all at future events.”
If you’d like to get involved in a John Taylor Hospice fundraiser then please visit our events page to find out more!