From the very first days of the Covid-19 pandemic, when it became starkly clear how serious its impact would be on the medical profession, the outpouring of support for doctors and other healthcare workers has been heartening. Throughout the past year, we have been very fortunate to have the support of many dedicated and innovative fundraisers, working around the limitations of lockdown and social distancing to encourage vital donations that will help doctors when they need it most. Read on to meet our most recent fundraising superstars!
Leo’s marathon week
Last year, more than 200 walkers, runners and cyclists came together to raise vital funds for the RMBF in memory of their friend Ottie, who was training to be a doctor when she died unexpectedly. One of those involved was Leo Wood, who is currently studying medicine at the University of Bristol. Since the first lockdown last year, Leo, seen in the photo above, has made the most of his daily exercise time, building his running stamina from “the odd short plod” up to a truly ambitious target: running seven full marathons in seven days.
Leo found that his daily excursions on the trails helped him reflect on how lucky he feels to be physically well and able to get out and run. Wanting to use that good fortune to help others, Leo conceived the week-long, 183-mile challenge, which he completed at the end of March, raising funds for RMBF and the Global Snakebite Initiative. After initially setting a fundraising target of £2,500, Leo said he felt “absolutely flabbergasted” to reach the total in less than a day. All in all, his marathon efforts have now raised over £10,000 for his chosen causes. As well as contributing donations, friends also joined him for stretches of the run, providing socially distanced encouragement.
“She was so vivacious, and made the most of every opportunity that came her way,” Leo said of Ottie, noting how she has inspired so much togetherness and positivity in her friends’ fundraising activities. Our warmest thanks and hearty congratulations to Leo – an incredible achievement.
Funny for the money
Staying in Bristol, March also saw medical students use their comedic talents to support medics under pressure. The Bristol Medical Revue is an annual sketch show about the trials and tribulations of studying medicine.
Unsurprisingly, this year’s edition had to be performed via Zoom, but the committed cast, drawn from all years of study from 1st to 5th, didn’t let social distancing stop the show.
Promising “brilliant impressions, hilarious jokes and probably technical hitches” the show offered a mix of live sketches and pre-recorded films. “It went incredibly! I’ve had lots of great feedback and hopefully it made people smile,” said Flo Lenehan, a performer and organiser of the night. Ticket sales were brisk, with more than 150 individuals and groups in attendance – and the show raised over £1,100 for the RMBF and the Cavell Nurses’ Trust. Our thanks to all the performers and everyone who attended!
Saying yes to yoga
With its range of physical and mental health benefits, it’s no surprise that yoga has been a tonic for many people this year. Torzi (pictured above) took the opportunity during lockdown to qualify as a yoga instructor, and used proceeds from her online classes to support good causes. When the second wave of the pandemic hit, Torzi wanted to find an impactful charity for doctors, and found the RMBF. “The classes have a positive personal impact on our wellbeing, as well as a collective impact towards supporting our doctors,” said Torzi. Her series of sessions supporting the RMBF, accessible to all levels, were a hit with attendees and raised over £400 for the charity. Huge thanks to Torzi for her flexible fundraising!
Quiz nights a brain teasing success
In the autumn, many supporters got involved with our Big Quiz for Medics, pitting your wits against faraway friends and family for a good cause. In Sheffield, actor Kate Rutter (pictured above) and lecturer Mike Beaken had drinks and nibbles at the ready for a (fiercely competitive!) evening quiz with close friends.
The RMBF’s South Warwickshire Guild also took part, holding a quiz to replace their annual coffee and mince pies morning. It proved a great fundraising success, as well as maintaining the social benefits of being in a local Guild during times of lockdown.
Elizabeth Tothill has helped keep a family tradition alive by supporting the RMBF – her mother was a Guild committee member in Streatham, and Elizabeth was involved in the Uxbridge Guild. She shared with us some of the reasons she is keen to help at this crucial time.
“When I retired from the NHS in 2000, having been a consultant clinical oncologist for 25 years, I quickly got involved in many activities including serving as a committee member of the RMBF Uxbridge Guild,” said Elizabeth. “We organised barbecues, plant sales, Christmas parties and the like. Sadly it is no longer active but I’ve continued to support with an annual donation – when you suggested that a quiz would be fun it seemed a good idea to organise.
“I am very well aware what an awful time the medical profession is having at the moment, and I hope the RMBF is managing to help as many as possible.” Our sincere thanks to all our brilliant brainiac quizzers, who between them raised nearly £2,000 for doctors in need!
Thank you so much to all our fantastic fundraisers – you are all superstars! The proceeds raised are already going towards support for doctors affected by the coronavirus pandemic, and they will help us prepare for the many more who will need our help in future. Your support truly makes a huge difference.