The 2.6 Challenge, set up in response to the increased pressure on charities’ funds during the coronavirus crisis, has brought out so much creativity and passion in fundraisers across the country! Sarah took on the 2.6 Challenge by sending 26 letters to people she knows who are suffering from eating disorders.
What inspired you to fundraise for Beat and to write the letters as your challenge?
Beat has been such a pillar of hope, support and encouragement for me during my own recovery. I have benefitted immensely from the work and services that they provide and have admired them ever since discovering them for the first time. We are all experiencing unprecedented hardships, and unfortunately along with so many charitable organisations, Beat has been placed under tremendous pressure. When the 2.6 challenge began, I knew that this would be a wonderful opportunity to not only give my eternal gratitude to Beat, but to fundraise for them whilst simultaneously reaching out to those who are struggling with an eating disorder during the pandemic.
It is vital to have love, care and support around you when you are in recovery from any illness, though evermore so when faced with additional stress, worry and fears that come with social isolation regulations. I know first-hand how incredibly valuable acts of compassion from others are when you are embarking through recovery, which is why I wanted to do something to let those in crisis know that they are not alone, that they do matter and are worth fighting for. I chose to send handwritten letters to them, so that they had something tangible to keep and look back on when they need a gentle reminder of the hope and encouragement that is there for them to recover.
How did you find doing this during lockdown?
Well, they didn’t call it a challenge for nothing! Though it was at times difficult to do because of what is going on in the world, being able to focus my time and energy into something that means so much to me and can hopefully make a positive difference for others was completely refreshing. Handwriting letters again was a lovely experience, and made me appreciate the value and personal touch that goes into them, especially in this digital age! Spreading kindness during this period in time is such a beautiful thing to do not only for those you are offering kindness to but also for your own wellbeing.
How did this challenge make you feel?
Whilst I was writing the letters out I remembered the times when I received acts of kindness during the darkest moments of my eating disorder, and it made me realise that this could be the glimmer of hope and light that someone else may need right now and will remember when they look back in years to come. I have been humbled by the responses from the recipients of my letters, as every one of them mentioned how much they appreciated it and how it gave them the encouragement to keep going forward. Also to top it off, raising £135 was unbelievable! I am so pleased to have done that on behalf of Beat.
Do you have any tips for anyone else that wants to fundraise in this way?
My advice to anyone who wishes to fundraise is to make it an experience that you will find value in. Be as creative as you can be with your ideas, maybe do something you haven’t done before or in a long time (like handwriting letters!) so that it gives you a different focus whilst completing your challenge. Also, I recommend getting your friends and family on board as your cheerleaders! They can be such a great help in getting the word out there and willing you on. You could even get them to join you in the challenge too, the more the merrier! Though whatever you do, make it fun, memorable and worthwhile because you will appreciate it that much more!
You can still take part in the 2.6 Challenge and raise funds for Beat! Find out more here.