Since my post about making your kids proud and using your awful run in with hyperemesis as a force for change and improvement, for our daughters and granddaughters, I've had lots of people ask how they can get involved, raise awareness and make a difference.
Well there are three main facets to the hyperemesis improvement movement (ooh, I like that!). They are money, awareness and peer support systems. I'm going to cover all three of these and how you can make a difference in depth over the next few days, starting with money. It's an ugly subject, but that's never stopped me before...
Pregnancy Sickness Support is the main UK charity working to improve care for women with Hyperemesis and as a trustee for the charity I can assure you that we desperately need funds. We don't receive any formal funding whatsoever and rely entirely on donations. The HER Foundation in America is in a similar situation. And that's where you lot come in... Get fundraising, get donating and let's give the improvement movement a boost.
Don't know where to start? Well, if organising fundraising events or doing personal challenges isn't your cup of tea then perhaps you could spare a one off donation or a small amount each week or month via direct debit. Click here for a link to Virgin MoneyGiving where you can set up a direct debit which automatically collects gift aid where eligible. As we saw recently with the incredible fundraising effort for Breast Cancer Research, if everyone gives a little it really adds up! Now they made millions over a few days, but if each of my readers in one month gave £1 we would have around £5,000! If you all gave £3 then in one month you would have funded the entire support network for a whole year!
But for those of you who are up for raising bigger amounts with events or challenges then PSS has just launched an event for Hyperemesis Awareness Day on 15th May which you can all get involved in... The Big Brew... organise a tea and cake morning, invite family, friends, collegues, mums from baby groups, random strangers off the street, staff from your GP surgery or local maternity ward and anyone else you can think of, ply them with tea, coffee and cake, tell them about PSS and ask for donations... simples! Awareness and money in one morning (or afternoon/evening or whenever you can manage it). There are even posters, invites, a top tips sheet and other resources available for you to make the day go smoothly. What's your excuse eh? (Okay so mine is the fact that I'll be living in a tent on a stone age living skills centre somewhere in the depth of the Colorado Rockies... beat that!)
For those of you in America you could get involved in the 5k run that the HER Foundation has organised at the end of May. I'm hoping to be in Washington for it myself this year... I even bought to trainers last week to run in although am yet to run anywhere other than after my, annoyingly fast, toddler.
Other things you can do is hold car boot sales, dinner with friends, eBay auctions, personal challenges such as climbing a mountain/running/cycling/sky diving and any other crazy ass thing you can think of. You can even raise money for PSS when you shop online by going to easyfundraising.com first or givingabit.com and by recycling your old mobile and ink cartridges - perhaps your office might be happy to have a box to collect ink cartridges for us?
Another option is to ask for the gift of donations in leu of birth/christening presents as we all know how bombarded with "stuff" you can be when a baby is born, ask for donations instead and if you still end up with mountains of junk then Ebay for PSS!
Without money, charities like PSS and HER cannot even survive, let alone thrive. In fact our support network in the UK only has enough money to continue for another two years with our current funds. Yet we help thousands of women every year, actually, every month! If we all gave a little, just a pound or two then we could easily fund the network for years to come. Money on top of that will allow for research, conferences, education packages, leaflets and information packs to name but a little of what money can buy.
Basically, what I'm getting at is... Put your money where your mouth is. If you suffered hyperemesis and want care and treatment to be better for those in the future then get fundraising or donating... nothings going to happen without money... as sad as that may be, it's fact. Lets get the Hyperemesis Improvement Movement off the ground.