26 letters to my nearest and dearest for Beat

Posted 22/05/2020

What inspired you to fundraise for Beat and to write the letters as your challenge?

I have suffered with anorexia for about 2 1/2 years now, and the descent into the disorder was very fast and absolutely devastating. I wanted to take part in a charity event to do something valuable with all the time I have, and although I was lucky enough to have a support system that has been amazing in helping me get the professional help I need, I know not everybody has this, and I know how much Beat has helped a number of my friends who have also struggled with disordered eating.

I decided to write letters, as my family say I've always had a way with words, and the feeling I get when I receive a letter is something I wanted to share with everyone who has supported me during this time, or to those I know could use a little pick me up. I got a typewriter for my birthday a couple of years ago, and have often posted things to my friends that I've typed up using it (song lyrics, poems, cards), and when I knew I wanted to write letters, it seemed the perfect touch to use the typewriter.

How easy was this to do during lockdown?

I've struggled a little with having sufficient concentration to complete the letters quickly, and often become frustrated with the spelling errors I make on the letters (no way to correct on a typewriter), but the time I have spare has been filled with writing draft after draft, and I often leave a letter half typed until I feel I know what else I want to say. Knowing that I have lots of time the following day takes the pressure off me to rush through a letter, and I have time to really think about what I want to say.

How did doing this challenge make you feel? 

I've been able to reflect on my relationships with friends and family, and think back on all the happy moments I've had with them over both the last couple of difficult years, and over my life as a whole. It's made me nostalgic, and grateful to have such amazing people in my life. I've also felt sad by how much more I could've done had I not been so badly affected by my eating disorder, and I know I must fight harder than ever. Every time I get a donation it warms my heart to know that people are willing to support not just me, but an organisation that supports so many like me who have been through so much.

Do you have any tips for anyone else that wants to fundraise in this way?

Don't set a tight schedule, it helps to just let the words come out when they naturally want to. Keep people updated on how you're doing, and put out regular updates to let everyone know where you're at, and how far you have to go until you'll be done. Let yourself make mistakes and keep going using the motivation that all the money raised is going to a cause that couldn't be more deserving.

Contributed by James Cash