Milton Keynes fundraiser calls on others to take up a new challenge
Committed fundraiser Ozge Gunes, from Milton Keynes, has called for would-be fundraisers to step out of their comfort zones to take up a new challenge in an article for Alzheimer’s Research UK’s blog, www.dementiablog.org. The 25-year-old, known to her friends as Oz, tells how she undertook a gruelling 450km cycle challenge across Vietnam that raised a massive £11,000 for dementia research – despite not owning a bike when she signed up for the challenge. Oz pedalled the length of country in 10 days in support of the UK’s leading dementia research charity, with daily distances ranging between 30km and 100km. The laboratory analyst, who works for Rexam, one of the leading global beverage can makers, in Milton Keynes, nearly tripled her original fundraising target after her work colleagues pulled out the stops to help her raise money.
The adventure saw Oz and 10 fellow cyclists set off from Hanoi, battling soaring temperatures, driving rain, hill climbs and dirt tracks as they travelled through stunning landscapes to reach their finish line. Writing about the challenge in her blog post, Oz describes moments in which she felt ‘tired, exhausted, drained’ – and how the cause pushed her on to the finish line. The article also features a video that captures some of the highs and lows of the adventure.
Not content with the physical challenge, Oz threw herself into fundraising with a range of events to help her reach her target. Her colleagues at Rexam also threw their weight behind her to raise funds using the company’s annual community can challenge, in which Rexam locations around Europe compete to collect and recycle aluminium cans from local schools and businesses. Their efforts saw the Milton Keynes office win the competition, securing a £5,000 donation from the company in the process.
Oz chose to support Alzheimer’s Research UK after deciding to volunteer to help people with dementia, and learning more about the condition’s devastating effects. She said:
“When I set out to do this challenge I didn’t even own a bike, so I knew I was stepping outside my comfort zone, but it wasn’t until the first day that I started to really wonder what I was getting myself into. Cycling in Vietnam was a crazy experience, I’ve never seen traffic like it – it was like organised chaos.
“The hardest part was tackling the mountains, when you had a constant uphill battle. The first real hill we did was a big challenge and it took forever, but getting to the top was one of my proudest moments. It was an amazing experience. I pushed myself to the limits and I’m so glad I did it, and really pleased to have beaten my fundraising target. It’s incredible how generous everyone was, and knowing the money raised will help the dementia experts makes it even better. I hope I can inspire other people to take on a fundraising challenge too.”
Miranda Johnson, Head of Corporate and Community Partnerships at Alzheimer’s Research UK, said:
“This is an amazing challenge, and we couldn’t be more grateful to Oz and all her Rexam colleagues for their support. The amount Oz has raised is enough to fund vital equipment for our scientists, bringing new treatments, preventions and improved diagnosis ever closer.
“With over 1,500 people affected by dementia in Milton Keynes alone, we urgently need treatments to tackle the diseases that cause it, and research is the only way to make those a reality. We rely on our wonderful supporters to fund our pioneering research, and it’s thanks to the efforts of people like Oz that we’re able to continue our work.”
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