Team Diabetes Reykjavik 2012- The Experience

Why I joined

I joined Team Diabetes around September of last year after running a race in August with Matt (Navy 10 km). We saw the Team Diabetes table at the race pick up and Matt suggested it was a neat idea for me to take a look at it. I love to travel, I love to run, why not raise a few dollars to do so? Sounded somewhat easy enough. Though a little voice in the back of my head still said “Jenn, 2012 is a very busy year for you. Can you take this on? $6100 is a lot of money to fundraise!” Though that voice chirped at me, I signed up and made the commitment. After all, my loving grandmother is diabetic, I worked and still work with people who have diabetes. It was a cause that was close to me.

The Process

I will be honest. Somewhere in between April and July I lost the reason on why I joined in the first place. The stresses I had from fundraising were through the roof. Being a 22 year old with friends that are mainly still in University, it made it hard to get personal donations from people. I took it very personally. The people you expected to get at least 5 bucks out of, wouldn’t donate at all but still had the guts to purchase 7 dollar lattes and copious amounts of MAC or Christian Dior makeup in front of me. Or the people who would ignore my texts, calls or emails for the past year because they were too worried I would talk about my fundraising. Yet when I ran the race I got a “I am so proud of you.” I soon realized I can’t take it personally. However, what got my blood boiling was when I had a message from a friend  after my race saying “how can you expect people to donate and PAY entirely for your little trip to Iceland?” I made it pretty clear that I was part of an association, this was for a good cause. I could not help be put off and furious about that message.

For myself, I will be honest, I had the worst time this year stressing about fundraising. I had moments of random sobbing tears, moments in anger in which resulted in a 23 km run just to cope, and many hours of lost sleep.

Would I do this again?

Crazy enough, I think I would. Maybe when I have less things on my plate. 2012 was a busy year! I went to Toronto to run the marathon, went to Hawaii with my family, went to Winnipeg with Matt, had summer school, quit my old job, took my PT exam and passed, got a new job, moved house, the list goes on. I really WANT to sign up for Team D in Edinburgh 2013 but I honestly don’t think I have the time. (I may also lose more friends over asking for money haha!)

So maybe down the road I will do this again, or at least when I forget how painful the process of fundraising really is for me! 😛

What I take back from this experience

With all honesty, I dreaded this trip. But once I got there I realized why I joined in the first place. I met 48 of the most dedicated, funny, sweetest Canadians I could have ever imagined. In total, our team in Reykjavik raised OVER $320,000 !! I had so much fun talking and learning about the different people, places and experiences with their fundraising these members had.

I also had a chance to breathe my ancestors air as I wanted to. Iceland is a BEAUTIFUL country. The air, like perfume. The springs, BETTER then any hot tub. The landscape, better then any painting I have seen. I absolutely LOVED my trip and would go back in a heart beat.

 

Love you all

J

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One thought on “Team Diabetes Reykjavik 2012- The Experience

  1. Hey there Jenn.

    I’ve been sort of following your journey with the Iceland race and the fundraising so thought I’d leave a comment.

    First, I think the concept of running a marathon in another country is great, I’d love to do something like that myself someday. Even running them in other states is pretty cool to me. So I totally get wanting to do that.

    On the fundraising side, for me I think I’d have to go into something like that ready and willing to pay the whole sum myself. Getting people, even friends and relatives, to donate sizable amounts of money (say, $100 or more) is really really tough in my experience. You’d have to rely on the $5 or $10 donations from a LOT of people, mostly strangers, to pull it off, I’d imagine. (I know I couldn’t pull it off!) So I wouldn’t be too disappointed about people not giving much, I guess. I mean, I can see the frustration with people who maybe indicated they WOULD donate something and then pulled out, and so on. But in general, no matter how great the cause, people just aren’t that willing to part with their money, even small amounts, unless they feel they are getting something tangible in return. There are exceptions of course. Some people donate to many causes. But most don’t, I don’t think.

    For me, I donated my tiny sum because first of all I felt I got some use from your YT videos last year when I was starting my running, and even this year I enjoy seeing the ups and downs of your running experiences, it’s a lot of fun. And I know the money would help the charity as well, so it was two birds/one stone. Part of it is probably age-related as well. Would I have given when I was a 20 year old? I doubt it, honestly. I was more selfish in those days and also had virtually no money! I think older folks, maybe 30 and over, would be much more likely to support your fundraisers.

    Also there may have been some confusion as to the nature of the money raising. Perhaps some actually did think that the money was just to give you a “free trip” to Iceland? I don’t know.

    Maybe one way around that would be to separate the two things, pay up front yourself for the travel and board and then fund-raise as a matching donation, or something? I know for the 4 races I’ve done, the charity contribution is often a separate line item to be charged to my credit card. So if I were to ask for money to contribute to the charity on my behalf, I might just ask for that portion, whatever I set it as for my goal.

    In my mind, I see nothing wrong with “crowd sourcing” funds for a project you want to do from people who like you/want to help, even if there is NO charity involved, but honestly it would be tough to find enough people to make that happen!

    Anyway I wouldn’t let it bum you out too much. It’s just a learning experience. I think fundraising is hard and I’m no good at it. You have to be a saleswoman I guess and market things well and so forth and I’m sure the folks working for these charities get very frustrated! Best of luck for the next one.

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