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Susan’s Story

I wanted to help other young people to access and benefit from the support of Mermaids in a way which my own family didn’t have when we needed support.

Six days before the date of the London Marathon, I saw details of the 2.6 Challenge organizers had set up to replace the event which, of course, couldn’t happen this year due to the pandemic.

I would never normally contemplate taking part in the Marathon, but they’d suggested socially-distanced events such as running round your garden for 2.6 miles, or 26 times. That made me decide I’d raise money for Mermaids by running/speed walking up and down my road (about quarter of a mile distance) 26 times. Having intimate knowledge from close family and friends of the challenges and social isolation experienced by transgender and gender diverse young people, I wanted to help other young people to access and benefit from the support of Mermaids in a way which my own family didn’t have when we needed support.

I set up a Virgin Money Giving page and thought £500 would be a target that I’d never achieve, but it was a good amount to give an aim for people’s donations. I started by making a couple of my own anonymous donations of a larger and smaller amount so people would feel comfortable donating any amount without feeling pressured.

I made sure every donation given had a personal thank you from me.

I then emailed and messaged friends, family, work colleagues and two community groups I belong to and added a link to my fundraising page through my Facebook account and my church’s Facebook page (our church belongs to Inclusive Church.) My motto was ‘rally all the help you can – people can only say no after all’! Then gently approach the same people through different methods ie Facebook posts, private messaging, emails or texts to targeted people, and especially allies.

I kept updating the Facebook pages every other day with encouraging messages: ‘Nearly there – only 20% to go’; ‘Reached £500 – let’s see if we can double that!’ I made sure every donation given had a personal thank you from me. Six days later, on the morning of the event, the total had reached £600. The family hung the trans flag at the front of the house and put out a donations pot for contributions from passers-by. Another £27 was raised on the gate in this way – a bonus in unsolicited money – and I managed to educate a few people along the way by explaining the work Mermaids does!

By the next evening the amount raised was £960 plus gift aid. The final total, including gift aid came in just over £1300.