Saturday, 27 April 2013

the Venus awards!

inspirationalWell! I have been nominated for the Venus Awards 'Devon Inspirational Woman'. Startled [to say the very least] - and quite chuffed! I can’t think I've ever been ‘nominated’ for anything before in my life. How flattering is this? Very.
So, I've been looking into this award thing properly [as at first I thought it was spam!] - initially I thought it was some kind of joke - but it’s not.
*IF* I were to win this Venus Awards category, it would allow me lots of latitude for publicity etc and raising awareness. As you all know from my constant blathering on here, I am on a mission to raise both funds for research and awareness of the symptoms of ovarian cancer. This would give me access to LOTS of business women! Which would give me the opportunity to share a lot of awareness. Bring it on.
Why not go to this web site and nominate an inspirational woman for this award [you need to select 'Inspirational Woman' from the list of Categories]. 

Tuesday, 23 April 2013

2013 Women v Cancer cycle from Havana to Santa Clara, Cuba

View Larger Map

We're all gearing up for the Cuba cycle now that the weather has improved a bit. Training has begun in earnest! The Facebook page is full of cycle rides and average speeds and worries. I thought I'd better update the actual map [I forgot to do it when I updated the itinerary].

This map of the Cuba cycle includes the bus transfer from Jaguey Grande [+/- 1.5 hours] to Cienfuegos to stay overnight. If you’re interested, the 'actual' cycle maps are on Mapmyride, split into three. Day 01 to 03, then we transfer by bus, then day 04, then days 05 to 06, as we have another bus transfer on the morning of day 05.

Best get out on the bike!!

Day 01 to 03 MAP 01

Day 04 MAP 02

Day 05 to 06 MAP 03

Sunday, 21 April 2013

here we go again!

where's Cuba Crittur?Today was the first ‘proper’ training cycle for the Cuba ride in October. I’ve been to a few spin classes, but even though they are brilliant for stamina, they are nothing compared to a road cycle. No wind, no rain etc. Check out the Cuba Creature in my Camelback – I really need a name for him. He is going to be photographed all over the place, a bit like Where’s Wally.

The FH and I cycled down to Exmouth and back, roughly 23 miles, at below average speed [for us] of 11.5 miles per hour. But, not too bad for a first run, as we had a head wind all the way out, and then we had it all the way back plus rain. And cold. My hands were freezing! Horrible – but I am glad I did it, as I have been very concerned about my ability to do Cuba. I almost got to the point of thinking I wouldn’t do it at all.

I have been fund raising like a maniac [probably driving everyone I know completely insane] and as always, I’ve had amazing support. At the moment, I am at 86% of my target, which is £5060.00 – just ten pounds more than I raised for the Kenya cycle. I’d really like to beat that! But even if I don’t, I’ve raised over the required minimum of £2900.00; at the moment I have raised £4,366.30. So now all I have to worry about is the training!

Doing this second fund raiser has been difficult and exhausting. I also have a job, and as a freelance designer, I am constantly glued to the computer. So social networking is a breeze, as I do it in between jobs…but ‘actual’ fund raising is pretty stressful. Organising people always is. BUT, it’s gone well! And, my friend Lindsey is doing an auction of one of her amazing paintings to raise funds too! Check this out – a beautiful painting she did whilst convalescing from surgery. The auction is on FaceBook here:

paintingGoing back to the worry of doing Cuba – it has taken me 4 years to get back on my feet regarding my little freelance business. One year after diagnosis, my ongoing contract ended – gave me an excellent lesson – do not have only one client! Since then I have been networking, and now I actually know local people – even road names! I have built up a little client base, and they are all lovely. So I don’t want to risk losing them. But, I have to train.

So, weekends are now Designated Cycling times, and I am hoping to fit something in during the week if possible. At least after today’s cycle I remembered that I CAN cycle! And I WILL do Cuba.

On other things; I don’t have my check-up appointment. Shriek! What used to happen was one would make the appointment on the way out from the last one. Nice and simple. The sweet reception lady would give one a choice of times and dates. Fill in the card…boom, sorted. Then you could just forget about it until it was due.

NOW, some prat has changed the system  [I’m hoping they have a headache for a year actually] and we have to wait for an appointment to come through the post. What?? So, when will it come? Where is it?? I am having nightmares about missing it, dreams about calling and asking when it is… I need to know NOW. So that I don’t have to worry about it. Thinking I may call and ask – but it’s so unnecessary! The old system worked perfectly. Bah. Additional stress. Fools who changed the system. Slap to the head those people!!

So, mad check up attacks aside, please buy a raffle ticket! I am holding an on-line raffle here if you are on facebook:

If not, to buy tickets, please just donate to my JUSTGIVING account. Tickets are £2.50 per strip [five tickets]. I will email [please leave your email with justgiving – they do NOT share it] message or post your ticket numbers on the event wall and enter you in the draw. The draw will take place on the 6th May. The winner will be notified by email/ phone or through Facebook.

THE PRIZE is two nights accommodation with breakfast at The Waterman’s Arms Country Inn, Bow Bridge [dogs are welcome too!], kindly donated by the Waterman's Arms. PLUS!! A meal for two with a bottle of wine kindly donated by Scotties Electrical. This is worth a *minimum* of £250.00!! So, if you fancy a weekend away in Devon this year for the price of a raffle ticket, get buying.


Thanks for your support, and good luck!


Friday, 5 April 2013

another life - another fund raiser

I am sitting here with tears running down my face. On Sunday 31st, Easter Sunday, my friend Laurel died of ovarian cancer – we knew each other for some time..she joined my little FaceBook group a long time ago. We went through lots together. She fought very hard…and it’s only just sunk in that she’s dead. Here she is with Di, another friend who was killed by ovarian cancer – Laurel would kill ME if she saw me post this pic – but I love it. She got so thin after this.

laurel and Di

On Easter Sunday I held an event at the Bar Venezia at Exeter Quay. Saturday, we went down and helped Wonderful William of Claremont Marquees to set up the full size marquee they lent me for the day [get that!! amazing!]. Without the marquee, the day would have been a lot less fun than it was!


Sunday I woke up early, as I needed to be down at the Quay to ‘organise’ everyone. Before I left, I checked FaceBook. I saw posts all over the place about Laurel. I read them and read them and couldn’t believe my eyes. Then I saw a post by Kim, and I believed it. And I felt so sick. So, so sick. It was like someone had stabbed me in the stomach. And I wanted to just go back to bed and cry. But I couldn’t. I had the event. Then I became angry – and remembered why I am raising these funds. Because this shit shouldn’t happen! Laurel has two very young daughters. And now they have no mother. Because we can’t cure this disease.

So. I stomped off down to the Quay. And was rewarded with a glorious sunny morning. And masses of chirpy people. And free cake and coffee from Kitty at Exeter Cycles and Cafe…and the day went on.
We FROZE. We really did. It was so cold. But the event raised over £900 – mainly thanks to the raffle and the live music. It would have raised over £1100 – but the evening band charged us £180…and didn’t tell us until the night…grr. Oh well!

But in the afternoon, I had Mark Travis, Peachy Farmer and Jay Tamkin – all of them absolutely brilliant. And so kind to give their time to the fund raiser – none of them charged anything!! We had a good day. It didn’t rain. The FH spent his time selling raffle tickets and freezing his butt off.


The venue was kindly donated by Medhat of the Bar Venezia [who is merrily selling his chairs to raise MORE funds this week!]. Thank you Med.

This is my favourite picture from the day – Peachy FarmerMark Travis – and me. These people were so happy! They really helped me to get through the day without bursting into tears.


Photo: Sally Ewin

And of course, the girls supported me! Elaine came down – bloody marvellous – she raised funds and never stopped laughing all day. I imagine it took three days for her to recover – and she brought the lovely Helen…and Barb and Wendy appeared too. Seeing them was a serious test of my ‘Do Not Cry’ rule for the day.



So the event was a success. I thought about Laurel all day, and imagined that she had sent me the sunshine.

We raised £950 – not even enough to pay for one session of chemo. BUT a lot of money nonetheless.

Thank you so much everyone who supported the event by buying raffle tickets if they couldn’t come, or by being there on the day; I really appreciate your support.

If you’d like to donate, please click the link below.No amount is to small.Thanks.