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No two days are the same

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Our community fundraisers around the country work tirelessly to raise money for Action Medical Research, supporting our amazing committees and spreading the word on our ground-breaking research.

In this guest blog, Paula Ray, our Community Fundraising Manager for London and the south east, gives us a glimpse behind-the-scenes at a day in the life of an Action fundraiser…

I had worked in the charity sector for around eight years before moving to Action Medical Research. My previous role had been for a local charity and I felt I would like the experience of working for a national charity. The minute I walked through the door at Vincent House I fell in love with Action and the great work that they do - which is why I’m still here two years on.

No two days are the same which, for me, is part of the appeal of the job. Yesterday I met a new supporter who sadly lost her son to a condition that we are funding research into. Meeting with people like this is inspiring and humbling and reminds me how lucky I am to have three healthy children. This lady had been through so much but has found the strength and energy to raise money for our research to help to make things better for others.

I then went on to meet with a local branch of NatWest who chose to use their new branch opening to raise awareness for us. This is so important for Action and we hope it will build a good relationship both with the branch and their customers. Even Paddington BearTM (Action’s mascot) had it in his very busy diary to pop in and say hello on the day.

Being a 1970s child, Paddington was an important part of my childhood and I was thrilled to find out he was Action Medical Research’s mascot (I may even have mentioned it at my interview, rather embarrassingly) and has been involved with the charity for 40 years.

It was then back to the office to catch up on my emails. We are in event season with lots of planning happening for next year’s cycling and PLOD events, as well as making final plans for the social events happening in the autumn.

A quick catch up over Skype with the team for London and the south east to hear about what they’ve been doing finished my working day. There was time to cook and eat tea before heading out to a planning meeting with one of our lovely committees who have a number of things planned this year, from a picnic with Paddington to a ladies’ lunch. It’s great to hear their thoughts and ideas and offer them support; I’m always amazed how much our kind volunteers are willing to take on and how committed they are to the charity. I was home in time for a quick social media update and bed. Not every day is as long as that one (event days are even longer!)

I’m so lucky to work with a very supportive team here in the London and the south east region. Myself and the small team made up of  Lorraine, Alice and Katia all have very different skill-sets which is important in a fundraising team. Alice has worked for Action for many years whereas Lorraine and Kata both joined in 2015; we live in different areas of the region, all at least an hour apart, so regular catch-ups over Skype prove to be very useful.

If I had to name an Action hero, I’d definitely highlight the team of medics doing research into the Action-funded Conceive project who are researching pre-eclampsia and tracking hundreds of women before, during and after pregnancy. I suffered from pre-eclampsia with my two eldest children, who are now 18 and 16; as a mum-to-be it was scary to be told the risks of this to you and your baby and no one could tell me why. I was lucky and, despite being in and out of hospital for over two months before their births, both children were delivered safely and almost at full-term, but I know of friends who have had their babies very early because of the condition. It would be amazing if they could pin point why this condition happens to certain women in pregnancy.