*** Many thanks to so many people for their fantastic fundraising efforts!***
*** Exciting news from the Co-op!***
***Counselling Initiative and the Lisa Lowe***
*** July’s ‘Tales of the Unexpected – Healing Against the Odds’ and Iida’s new cookbook!***
*** The Big Hike and November’s Murder Under the Big Top Fund and Awareness Raising Event***

Hi once again! First off – apologies for such a delayed blog – we have been experiencing a few technical difficulties in the hand department that we are happy to say are now slowly resolving. We have also decided that now the charity is more settled – and as we do a lot of external awareness raising of autoimmune arthritis and the work of Without Wings, it is appropriate to blog less frequently.

Unbelievably, in October, Without Wings entered its third year! It really is mind-blowing how quickly the last two years have flown, how much money has been raised by so many kind and generous souls, and the exciting projects we have been able to undertake. We are grateful to every single person who has – and who continues to support our little, but very dedicated, charity.

Over the Summer/ Autumn alone, we’ve seen Douglas Ladies’ Golf Club Captain, Helen Jones, raise over £1000, the wonderful portrait artist, Danielle Kneale raise £150 from the sale of her drawings, and have had many donations of money bequeathed – which is especially touching. In addition to this, we have raised in total almost two thousand ourselves via Tynwald Day, our Big Hike in August – which raised literally a few pounds short of £1000, and our fabulous Murder Under the Big Top event that took place earlier this month. Please also keep an eye out for us on Christmas eve around lunchtime outside M & S! We’ll be carolling with a gang of local trombonists whilst also collecting money and handing out info about the charity.

In addition to this… drum roll… On Saturday we will be collecting a HUGE cheque from the brilliant Co-op to the tune of … Almost £14,000! THANK YOU EVERYONE who chose us as their cause in Northern stores over the last year – you really have no idea how important these funds are and what a MASSIVE pressure they take off our fundraising ventures!

So what are we using our money for? Our biggest project is our counselling initiative which we do in partnership with the Lisa Lowe Centre. This provisionally costs Without Wings £10,000 a year. However, the scheme is currently being well used and we will therefore be putting all of the Co-op money towards this project. This is to ensure that nobody is ever turned away – and, crucially, that the counselling always remains completely free.

Providing free, easy access and top quality emotional support, is at the absolute heart of our work. The protection of a person’s mental and emotional health during times when they are most vulnerable has been proven to have a huge positive impact on a person’s ability to cope with their diagnosis. This often impacts positively on the body itself and, often overlooked, but no less important, can dramatically affect how a person copes with their diagnosis within the wider context of family, friends and work.

PLEASE CONTACT US ON support@withoutwings.co.uk IF YOU THINK YOU WILL BENEFIT! We can also send someone to you home if needed, and to speak to your loved ones in recognition that an autoimmune arthritis diagnosis can affect the whole family <3

We are hoping the money from the Co-op will carry the project into 2020. However, a hard drive for fundraising for 2020-2021 – incredibly, will begin sometime in the coming year, in order to make sure that the project is always sustained.

For anyone interested, the Lisa Lowe Centre is a rapidly developing branch, of Manx Cancer Help and is now working in partnership with smaller charities, such as Without Wings, to provide emotional support for people with other health conditions. Their premises are in the stunningly renovated Old School House in Tromode and are calm and comfortable with a lovely, airy, open plan feel (though counselling is of course, discreet). All their counsellors are highly trained and super friendly and we have had excellent feed back from people who have taken up this initiative. We are hoping to be involved in an open day there very soon, so please keep an eye on our Facebook page if you might be interested!

So what else do we spend our money on? As a voluntary and predominantly family run charity, we have very little in the way of overheads, and even our event advertising costs are more than covered by the events themselves. This enables us to focus any remaining funds on other projects which include: funding towards physical rehabilitation; physical aids for the home; help around the home, complementary health care and underwriting funds for our popular educational, fund and awareness raising events.

One of our big drives for 2019 will be encouraging people to keep their body fit and moving. Exercise can have a profound effect on a person’s mental wellbeing, but, crucially, because autoimmune arthritis bodies tend to cease up, which can, if ignored over time, cause major problems with mobility (beyond the dreaded ‘flare,’) we recognise that this is an essential service. Yoga, Pilates and swimming alongside a well monitored medical regime can all help to keep the body fit and active, as can supervised gym work. We therefore also provide funding towards the costs of activities such as these – more of which you’ll hear about in 2019.

In other news… Iida van der Knoefel, one of our July ‘Tales of the Unexpected’ speakers, launched her plant based cookbook ‘A Kitchen Fairy Tale,’ at the beginning of the month – and sold out in America in a matter of hours! We are planning to put Iida’s story regarding how she successfully uses a plant based diet to manage her own autoimmune arthritis, on our ‘Inspirational Living’ Page. We’ll announce on Facebook when the story is up there. There will also be a link to where you can purchase this book if you are interested – as we hear more are being printed as we type!

Thank you to everybody who supported our family hike of the Three Peaks in the Yorkshire Dales in the Summer – especially IOM Steam Packet and Carters Advocates. The weather conditions were atrocious and we got very lost along the way, but despite under-estimating how much food a pair of teenage boys need to consume whilst hiking 22 miles, and how wet it is possible to get in that time, we did it – and mostly enjoyed it too.

Also another MASSIVE thank you to everybody who supported the Murder Mystery evening in conjunction with Penny Productions. Special thanks to all at Penny Productions who gave their time and talents for free, the Laxey Working Men’s Institute, Emma Lynch (previously of Flour Power vegan bakery ) for the amazing soup, Ramsey Bakery for the lovely bread, and everyone who donated raffle prizes or who just came and had FUN! Fun is very often under-estimated when in fact, it is one of the most important things we can ever do – even when we have a diagnosis of autoimmune arthritis and can’t really drink!  It was an utterly, utterly bonkers evening and whoever let go of the whistling balloon directly after the murder and the SCREAM! On behalf of all here at Without Wings, we salute you for your perfect comedy timing! We raised over £600 by the way 🙂

There you go, enough words to last a few months, see you Christmas Eve!