Rising to the challenge

Were you one of the millions of people who poured icy water over your head back in 2014?

Even if you weren’t, you couldn’t fail at the time to be aware of the Ice Bucket Challenge, when everyone from presidents to film stars lent their support to a phenomenal social media fundraising campaign for ALS (a progressive neurodegenerative disease known in the UK as motor neurone disease).  

Criticised in some quarters at the time as a stunt, the campaign raised $115m (£87.7m) which has since funded six major research projects. 

The ALS Association has just announced that this research has resulted in the discovery of an important scientific gene which contributes to inherited ALS. This means scientists can now begin to develop a gene therapy to tackle this form of the condition.

An amazing result which wouldn’t have been achieved without the money and awareness raised through this fundraising challenge.

Albeit on a far more modest scale, this is something we can completely relate to at Leuchie House. It’s thanks to all kinds of creative fundraising activities that we continue to be able to deliver Leuchie’s unique service. With no long-term core funding, every year we need to raise almost half of Leuchie’s £1.8m annual running costs through fundraising. Without it, Leuchie couldn’t survive.

So every time you buy a ticket for one of our events, or sponsor a friend to take part in a Leuchie fundraising challenge, you’re contributing directly to making sure someone who really needs a respite break can have one. To give you an idea of the impact of this, everyone who came to our Ascot fundraising event in June jointly funded a Leuchie care assistant for a year. A day out at our recent Hops in the Garden music festival collectively paid for a part-time member of our essential house-keeping team.

The other fascinating side of this of course is the incredible power of social media to harness support. The thinking caps are on in our fundraising team, so if we ask you to do something silly for Leuchie later this year, we know we can count on you to rise to the challenge!

Mairi O'Keefe, CEO, Leuchie House. Published in the East Lothian Courier on 4 August 2016.