My colleague Emma and I decided to fundraise in aid of Brain Cancer Awareness Month. The decision was easy: Emma’s friend had recently been diagnosed with a malignant brain tumor and my close friend’s father had lost the fight to glioblastoma last year. This was not to mention the fact that I had been working on a client project surrounding stage 5 brain cancer throughout 2012, for the drug to sadly fail its  clinical trials in early 2013.

The question for Emma and I was therefore, what on earth do we do that will capture people’s attention enough for them to donate during these financially hard times? I thought Emma’s initial suggestion of “why don’t we do something crazy like shave our head!” was slightly scary, so we had to think of something that was innovative but also fun for us. The idea of ‘swapping lives’ for a week developed and was relatively straightforward: Emma was to become a ‘fashionista’ (because I have such good taste dahhling) and I was to jump my way to four metres across the sand (Emma is a trained competitive long jumper).

So we ‘PR-ed’ our way to the swap week through incessant Facebook status updates on the fan page we created and before I knew it, it was the first day of our fundraising week. I had prepared a ridiculous outfit for Emma that was in no way ‘fashionable,’ but I felt this more than compensated her for the daily two hour training sessions she had planned for me. The first day was a mixture of hilariousness and breathlessness as Emma made me run about half a mile in the rain and then perform high-jump activities sticking Post-It notes high upon the London Boardroom wall.  As some of my colleagues were also drinking for ‘Wine-o’clock’ in the Boardroom, my high-jump efforts also provided comedic humor. The weekend, however, was not too awful as I was predominantly circuit training (and I could do it in the comfort of my own home). The worst part for me was heading down to an outdoor athletics club after a full day at work in the freezing cold. Considering the fact that my normal routine is to go home and have an evening with the television and dinner, this was a shock to the system, and mainly, my legs. My poor pins had never had such a work-out and by Day 5, I felt like an older-aged pensioner when I sat down at my desk chair.

Although I write this in a tongue-in-cheek fashion, I must say that it was a fantastic week and the support we both received was incredible. To date, we have received 89 donations and raised £1,725 -more than triple our initial target of £500.  I must admit that I did become a bit of a fundraising tyrant and became obsessed with raising more and more money!

What did I like most about the week? Unfortunately not the jumping, but what I did love was doing something different, trying something new, and meeting new people. Emma’s coach and training group were absolutely fantastic, fun and so supportive (albeit the fact that my Yorkshire-born coach regularly shouted at me “EMILY, YOU’VE GOT NO BALANCE”). This, I knew already.

Oh, and it is never too late to donate either (if I have managed to sell it to you, please do donate on our page).

Emily Sweetman