What if you only had your youth?

My name is Lynne McNicoll and I am co-founder of It’s Good to Give! and currently Scotland’s Volunteer Fundraiser of the Year.

I started fundraising in December 2005 as I hit my 49th birthday. I wanted to find a different and more giving way to celebrate my 50th birthday.

I very much appreciate all I have, count my blessings daily!

I wanted a way to express that gratitude and I have found it in helping others.

I said I would raise £50,000 for a young persons cancer charity by my 50th birthday.

I was named Fundraiser of the Year in 2009 and now run It’s Good 2 Give.

You know, the older I get the stiffer I get! I have had a frozen shoulder for four years and have tried a variety of treatments over the years from injections to taping it up and even acupuncture. It disturbs my sleep and makes me ache in the mornings.

I still wake every single morning counting my blessings. How lucky am I to be middleaged . To feel these aches and pains. To have this lovely man beside me, a fantastic family, to live in this amazing country. (Goodness me, how we forget how lucky we are to live in such a free society, to be able to speak freely, to criticise our government and public services)

This month an inspirational young man, Paul, lost his fight with cancer aged just 17. Many of the younger cancer patients looked up to him – he had been fighting this cancer for four years so he became the person they turned to when they wanted advice or support. He ALWAYS smiled – that’s what his friends are all saying about him – he was always smiling. And he was always fighting – he was determined this cancer wasn’t going to beat him.

Sadly it wasn’t to be.

He is the ninth young person I have now known with cancer to lose their fight. Nine amazing young people we won’t know as adults. Adults with quite remarkable potential.

My way of honouring them is to remember them often (and believe me, I do) and to grow It’s Good 2 Give! into a charity worthy of them all. Those we have lost, those who have won their fights and those still fighting and most definitely their families too. Paul taught me a valuable lesson too. Our long term goal is to create a retreat for families affected by cancer. Since that goal is to raise £1m it’s a very long term plan! But on the journey we can support families in other ways. Paul asked for a mobile phone. He was very specific about make and model. I felt sure I could beg one. (I couldn’t – turns out I have a lot to learn about begging from major mobile phone providers!). We were able to buy one fairly quickly and gave it to him. I was rewarded with a smiley face text as soon as he had got it set up.

A week or so later I met his mum who explained how much this phone meant to him – he now had damage to his sight from treatment and this phone allowed him to increase the size of the text so he could still keep in touch with his friends and family. Something he did right up to the end.

A small gesture on our part – a huge impact on his life.

To move us forward on our fundraising journey a wee bit faster my September challenge is to raise £150,000 in 30 days. Pretty crazy and I will be honest the closer I get to September the crazier it seems. Worth trying though!

By the time you read this our website will be updated with lots of events already planned and I hope that more and more of the community will participate and organize events of their own.

In keeping with my own beliefs I have also made it a Kindness month too. 30 days of kindness. If I can persuade just half a dozen people to do a few random acts of kindness I will have succeeded – but am aiming for more than that! I personally pledge to do one act of kindness every day.

I am embracing new to me forms of technology too – podcasts, videos onto the website, and daily blogging.

It is going to be one amazing month, – fun, exhilarating, kind, rewarding, and I suspect unbelievably tiring! Help me make it successful too! Do join in if you can – there really is something for everyone….


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