A year ago Naomi emailed me about a silly little idea. I was coming to the end of another fundraising initiative, and Naomi figured that I'd need something to keep myself occupied.
We say it all the time: we're not scientists, so we're no good in a lab. However, we're photographers, a designer, and a programmer, so we've got skills that we thought we could use to try to make a difference. That evening, The 100 Project was born.
At the start the idea was to photograph 100 people and then ask businesses to sponsor a photo for £10. We thought we'd raise £1,000 and that'd be it. Then it got serious. Money was rolling in even though we weren't asking for it. We were fast-approaching the maximum amount we could raise before being required to register as a charity. Naomi and I pondered it for a while, found some people who gave us excellent, free advice, and we thought, "Let's do it!"
During the last year ...
- We've met people in London, Manchester, Cardiff, Caerleon, Nottingham, Milton Keynes, Leeds, Spalding, Devon, Bristol, Dusrsley, Kent - everywhere!
- We've had help from people who are knitting Plushis that go to help cheer up youngsters who are going through treatment.
- We've got people sending us their selfies and their own stories.
- We've built software to help look after our web site, contacts, and sponsorhip.
- We're working with Cobalt to help raise money to buy a new MRI scanner and to share stories about how Cobalt is more than the sum of its parts.
- We've been on BBC Radio and ITV News.
- We hosted an exhibition of all 106 (at the time) portraits at Maggie's Centres in Cheltenham, with prints kindly provided by our friends at Photobox.
- We had a pop-up shop in the Beechwood Shopping Centre in Cheltenham.
- People ran the Cheltenham Half Marathon in our colours, and we crossed the line with Jasmine, Lily, and Ev - three of our biggest fans, I think!
Anna and Naomi
Hywel, Naomi, Jasmine, Lily, Luke (one of our very generous sponsors)
Typically, this week has a been a busy one for us.
- We've sent out cheques to our supported charities.
- Precious, the first participant we met in London on a chilly autumn morning, made a donation so that we can buy wool to send out to people who would like to knit Plushis for us.
- Bristol Children's Hospital emailed us to tell us how pleased they are with Plushis, telling us that some of them have even gone through MRI and radiotherapy with their friends.
- My mum raised £400 by hosting a coffee day.
- We had this photo from Jasmine's mum. Spike and Ev also sent over £350 which they raised at recent community event.
We fit The 100 Project in around our regular day jobs, but the prospect of working on it drives us on. In fact, all of the team at Pink Sky gets involved with The 100 Project, providing help with design, planning, and admin. We're extremely grateful to them (Frankie, Harriet, and Owen) for their help, which they offer for just biscuits and posh coffee.
It may sound like a cliché, but we really are humbled and inspired by the support we receive and the people we meet. It hasn't been an easy year, and has, at times, been desperately sad. However, we're still determined and we still have a lot to do. A silly idea it may have been, but I'm proud of it. I just want it to become a silly massive idea.