Returning for the third year, 2018 saw more nominations than ever before for the Alex Demain Young Fundraiser of the Year Award.
These annual awards are special to Crohn’s & Colitis UK, as not only are they a way for us to remember our colleague Alex Demain, who sadly passed away in 2015, they are also a way for us to celebrate the amazing achievements of our creative, motivated, and compassionate supporters.
With each and every nomination being so inspirational, it was a hard task to choose the winners. We were thrilled to award the winners with their award at our fantastic London WALK IT event on Saturday 9 June, where thousands of people came together to raise awareness and funds for Crohn's Disease and Ulcerative Colitis.
Our Ambassador, Carrie Grant, the television presenter and vocal coach, who was diagnosed with Crohn's Disease in 1983 awarded the winners along with Alex's sister Sophie.
Jack Craigie (15) won in the under 16's category. Jack was the single highest fundraiser at Plymouth WALK IT in 2017, and he completed the 10k route despite having considerable pain in his knees and heels due to his Crohn’s, and side effects from his medication. Earlier this year Jack organised a 100-mile cycle ride from Ilfracombe to Plymouth on the south coast and had to have an Infliximab infusion a few days before the ride to help him get through it. So far, Jack has raised £2,524 and has secured matched funding, doubling that amount! Jack has shown incredible courage and strength and has decided to do everything he can to help others and inspire other children with IBD to give them hope.
My hopes are that by raising money, I can help fund the critical research of IBD, to eventually find a cure and a cause, so children like me can be diagnosed and treated quickly so they don’t have to go through months of waiting and tests. As well as this, I hope that children like me with IBD will see this and realise that they can get better like I did and be able to take part in activities like this, to give them hope in a way!
Thomas Howourth (28 years old) won in the 17-29 age group. Over the past year, Tom has run the Berlin Marathon, London Marathon, sold homegrown vegetables, and held a charity beer pong event, raffle, coffee and cake morning, quiz, silent auction, and games event – and has so far raised £3,205.52! Tom’s partner, Tasha, has had a rough time over the past year with her Ulcerative Colitis, and Tom wanted to fundraise for Crohn’s & Colitis UK because of the help and support provided to Tasha through this difficult time. His next event is the Chicago Marathon later this year – he isn’t stopping anytime soon!
I am lucky enough not to be directly affected, however having experienced on a daily basis how hidden diseases can impact those close to you both mentally and physically, I want to raise funds to help Crohn’s & Colitis UK continue their research and increase their knowledge of the causes and best treatments.
For the first time ever, we also awarded the Alex Demain Lifetime Awareness Award to two truly inspiring people who have worked tirelessly in raising awareness of IBD – Ellie Pugh (13 years old) and James Conlon (27 years old).
Ellie Pugh began fundraising in support of Crohn's & Colitis UK after she was diagnosed with Crohn's Disease age seven. Since then she has raised more than £5,000 through many fundraising activities. Ellie continually 'digs deep' as she battles with the daily challenges of living with Crohn's, but has vowed to keep raising funds and awareness in the hope that one day other people don't have to feel the way she has.
I hope to raise more awareness and help support other people suffering. I really want to raise the profile of the charity and the importance of having that support.
James was diagnosed with Ulcerative Colitis, six years ago, since then he has fundraised and helped to raise awareness for these conditions as well as being a media volunteer for Crohn’s and Colitis UK. James founded The Toilet Me & IBD, a worldwide campaign, back in 2015 which has been hugely successful and inspiring in raising awareness of Crohn's and Colitis.
If me raising awareness helps just one person then it makes everything worthwhile for me.
It may seem like sometimes all I talk about is Inflammatory Bowel Disease, but awareness is key in breaking the stigma surrounding this disease.
Passionate about his work, Alex was a vibrant member of our fundraising team. He always loved to hear about the wonderful ways our incredible supporters pushed the boundaries to raise money & awareness for the charity.
We are so proud that Alex’s legacy lives on with this fundraising award. Alex had a real passion for fundraising and had such a charismatic personality. It is fantastic that these amazing young fundraisers have worked so hard and raised money for this amazing cause.
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