Louise Smith
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How can I help?

Louise Smith
Posted by
25 Sep 2014

I read a comment recently from someone who said that they felt they could only do so much fundraising as they didn't feel happy approaching the same people every time. Coming from a large family where there are nephews and nieces often asking for sponsorship, not to mention many friends who are raising money for their own causes, I must admit it struck a chord, especially as many of my family have young children or are pensioners.

I did a couple of fundraisers as I recovered from my illness which, as well as raising funds, helped me on my road to recovery. After this I needed to look for other ways I could help my favourite cause. The obvious one was buying cards and gifts from the shop, sometimes I might sponsor someone else, I might make a donation in memory of someone who has died instead of flowers, we can also leave money when we die.

For those of limited funds there are other things we can do. I spent a lot of time in hospital and on many occasions I was asked if I would talk to medical students about how I became ill, symptoms etc. I hope that having spoken to at least 20 over a couple of years (including one 4th year student who did a presentation with photos for other students) I might have saved at least one life. I also met a lady who was going through treatment and was able to reassure her and answer some of her questions. I still see her around and we always ask how each other is doing.

When I saw that the Bikeathon was being held in Birmingham I had a mad moment and got in touch to volunteer (managed 58yrs without riding a bike and not going to start now!!!). I am so glad I did. My fabulous son-in-law took me into Birmingham at 6.45am last Sunday (unfortunately their 3 month old baby had decided that was the morning NOT to wake for a 6.30 feed) I reported for action, got my shirt, and then it was all go. The organising team had decided that being a start and finish marshal would be a fun experience for me, and it was terrific.

The atmosphere was amazing. Centenary Square was a mass of black and red. Broad Street was the quietest I have ever seen, then it was time to line up the 100 milers, over 300 fantastic people. Cheering them as they went off was quite emotional. There was a lull until the rest of the cyclists started to line up, over 1000 more riders. I helped Rachel and Mark make sure that everyone set off safely, and that groups were kept together. There was lots of banter and good humour amongst the riders, some taking selfies while they waited.

We had some time to grab some breakfast and a coffee, get the site ready for the finish, and then the riders started to return. Although you could tell that they were exhausted, I think nearly all had smiles on their faces because they had done it. Everyone was cheering, there were hugs for some from family who had been waiting for them, more photos. I had a lovely surprise when one of the cyclists called my name as he came in....it was Hywel, who had taken my photo for the 100 project, so I got a hug too!

Looking around it was lovely to see that all sections of the communtity were represented. Cancer does not discriminate. There were families riding together, and I spoke to some people who told me their reasons for being there.

Would I do it again? Most definitely!!! As soon as I know the date it will go in my diary, and I shall fill in my form. The team were so friendly and really looked after me I had a sore throat for a couple of days, and ached on Monday (so goodness knows what the cyclists feel like) and will soon be looking for other ways I can help. Together we are UNSTOPPABLE!



This is such a lovely blog! Thanks for all your help in the many many different ways. Lauren 

Ellie Dawes

What a brilliant blog, Louise! Thank you for writing these posts for us, they will be a great way to inspire other people who want to find ways to help us beat blood cancer. I've added a couple of links in, so people can click through for more information (including a link to Hywel's blog on here.) 

Glad you enjoyed volunteering at Birmingham! We had some lovely feedback from riders about the event. I was at the start point for London Bikeathon this year and it was such a friendly atmosphere. Andy has put all the photos people shared on social media of themselves doing the Birmingham Bikeathon in an album on Facebook, you can see it here: https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10152915613043243.1073741848.2... (spot the pic where Hywel is on the big screen!)

Many thanks for all your amazing support, we do enjoy reading your blog updates.


Hey, Louise! It really was a treat to bump in to you. Serendipity, I'm sure! You, and tens of other people just like you, made the Bikeathon such a great event, so on behalf of the hundreds of riders who were there, thank you, Louise.


Reading your blog bought back memories of when I volunteered at my first bikeathon in 2011 and I've never looked back. I'm a survivor too and since have ridden in 3 bikeathons. I love volunteering for this charity and I'm so glad that you will be doing more for this wonderful charity. I get a huge buzz every time I do something for them and I'm sure you do too. It's people like you that make this charity what it is. Keep up up the good work.