Monday, 31 August 2009

The definition of Challenge.

What is a challenge?

To many of us out there, testing ourselves physically would involve something like a Marathon, or climbing a mountain.

On Sunday 6th September, two of our Advocates are taking on physical challenges to raise money for LLTGL. To understand just how these are challenges however, you have to know a bit about these girls.

On Sunday morning, Jess will be participating in the Adidas Challenge 5k, around Hyde Park. Jess has been waiting for a transplant for over 4 years now, and her lung function has dropped to a frighteningly low 11%. Jess needs oxygen 24 hours a day and often requires a non-invasive ventilator to help her breathe. She is going to try and walk as much of the 5k as she can. Considering that at this stage of lung disease, simply sitting up is exhausting, this is going to be very very hard work. You can watch her video here, and more importantly, sponsor her here.

Lou is one of a kind. She is constantly having new battles thrown at her, but still she keeps going. From childhood cancer, to end stage lung disease, this girl never loses her smile. Now post transplant, she is suffering severe complications, including a form of post transplant cancer and heart failure. Lou's body is still taking a battering - walking is out of the question. So Lou is testing her body in a different way, by hugging a tree without a break for 2 hours. For Lou, this is a huge challenge and will take a lot of mental determination to keep going. Take a look at her video here and her justgiving page here.

Both Lou and Jess are hugely inspirational to all of us at LLTGL. They constantly defy Doctors by getting up, brushing themselves off, and ploughing forwards once more. We are so very proud of them and wish them the very best of luck for Sunday.


Monday, 24 August 2009

Advocate away weekend 2009

Photos courtesy of Sarah Milne

On Saturday 22nd August, the LLTGL advocates gathered in London for the first (but definitely not last!) away weekend. We were thrilled that most could make it, but missed Jac - who has only recently joined the team so didn't have enough notice, Nyila - who is on Maternity leave having just had a beautiful healthy baby boy, and Jess - who sadly was just not well enough.

The assembled advocates got stuck straight in on Saturday morning and their enthusiasm immediately lit up the room; we knew straight away this was going to be a great weekend. For many of the Advocates, it was the first time they had met each other, and for some, it was the first time they'd met any of the LLTGL team. Everyone got on fantastically and bonded over spaghetti and marshmallow towers (there was a purpose to this) and cups of tea.

The weekend was full of great experiences and plenty of hard work; from brainstorming, to managing complex scenarios, from giving talks to learning from presentations. There were also some some very emotional moments as personal stories were shared and memories of transplant journeys relived, met by an empathy and understanding that can only be shown by those who have trodden that same path.

Trustees Emily, Pops and Mandy all attended and had a fantastic time getting to know our Advocates that bit better. We've said it once but we'll say it again; we're hugely proud to have each and every one of them on board. Look out for more pics coming soon!
*Edit* - For first hand accounts from the advocates themselves, check out Lou and Holly's blogs about the weekend!

Sunday, 16 August 2009

Charity Movements and Changes

Lots has been going on behind the scenes at LLTGL recently so we thought we'd update you with what some of our Trustees have been up to!

Firstly, there have been a few changes to the trustee board this last month. With great regret our Chairman, Oli Lewington, has decided to step down due to personal circumstances. We are very grateful to Oli for his contribution to the charity this year and are delighted that he will be continuing to work with LLTGL. We welcome Emily Thackray into the position of Chair following Oli's departure. Kidney recipient Mandy Venters has also joined the Trustee board, bringing with her a wealth of knowledge and experience as you will see from her biography which will be up on the site soon.

Our lovely Jen Dickinson has jetted off to Kenya for a month, and co-founder Emma Harris is excited to announce that she's going to be a mummy in 5 months time!

So lots of movement and excitement going on here at LLTGL HQ! All of us are looking forward to the months ahead, especially the launch of key projects currently under development, and as ever are grateful for the continued support of our wonderful LLTGL Advocates, volunteers and supporters.

Friday, 7 August 2009

We're at it again!

May of our fab supporters may well remember that last year we were chuffed to bits to be nominated for "Campaigning Team of the Year" at the Charity Times Awards 2008. We were even more delighted (and hugely surprised) when we were announced as the winners! You can watch the very brief video clip (and our looks of disbelief and joy) by clicking here.

Well guess what? We have made the shortlist again this year! This time we are up for Best New Charity. It's a huge honour and joy to have our work recognised with this nomination, and whatever happens we're hugely proud to even be shortlisted.

The awards take place in September so check back in to find out all the gossip from the big night!

As we say over and over again (but it's true so we feel the need to keep saying it) a charity is as strong as it's supporters and team, and it's thanks to you guys that we can do what we do.

Love to all


Inspiring times at the Transplant Games

We always get a bit excited every year about the British Transplant Games (run by the wonderful charity Transplant Sport UK), for it's an inspirational show-case for the awesome power of organ donation. Staged annually since 1978, the Games allow those who once had debilitating illness to come together to celebrate their newfound health thanks to their donors, donor families and everyone involved in their recovery.
Congratulations to everyone who participated this year on all their efforts they put into training! For more info please visit Transplant Sport UK and show your support for all the hard work they do in making such an awesome event happen!

Our friend Justine Laymond has embraced the new life given to her by her double-lung donor to full effect at the transplant games - this year she won an incredible 2 bronze medals in the 100m and 200m sprint and a personal best in the 100m of 18.8 seconds just 3 years after her life-saving transplant! Justine suffered from a rare condition called Lymphangioleiomyomatosis (Lam) and after 15 lung collapses, dependence on 24 hr oxygen and on life-support but thanks to her donor is now looking forward to exploring the possibilities of competing at the World Transplant Games ! To read more of Justine's account of her experiences at the British Transplant Games, head on over to her blog