As the countdown to Christmas gets fully underway, the Findacure team has had yet another busy weekend! Keep reading to see how we got on at the Mill Road Winter Fair, Cambridge’s RAREfest, and the London Santa Run.

Mill Road Winter Fair – Katie

We started the December month in the best festive way possible – at Cambridge Mill Road Winter Fair! We were thrilled to be asked back for a second year for this unmissable event last Saturday. Mill Road Winter Fair has been a key date in the Cambridge diary since 2005; a wonderful celebration of the local community with something for everyone. The Findacure office is based just round the corner from Mill Road so the fair provides a great opportunity to feel more connected to the community, meet other great local organisations and raise awareness of Findacure among the general public.

As is British tradition, the biggest issue on Saturday was the unpredictable weather! However, after a wet and windy morning, the people of Cambridge came in their hundreds to enjoy the delights of the fair, with full wallets and empty stomachs. Findacure’s stall was full of beautiful handmade gifts, from cushions and blankets to dresses and decorations, all kindly donated by our incredible supporters. Firm favourites that gained the most attention were our knitted cat caves, snitch baubles, and basket of colourful teddy bears!

We are delighted to have raised a brilliant £324, beating last year’s £252! Thank you to everyone who bought something from us, every pound raised will make a difference to rare disease patients living in the UK. Thank you to Mill Road Winter Fair’s amazing team of volunteers and to Glenn at Cambridge Hobbycraft for donating craft materials for our candy cane reindeer. Most importantly, huge thanks to Helen Cliss, Georgina Keating, and Libbie Read for generously donating their beautiful handmade treasures for us to sell on the stall. We are incredibly lucky to have such creative, talented supporters!

RAREfest – Libbie and Mary Rose

It’s 2018 and rare diseases are still not being consistently diagnosed, treated and supported. To build attention around these issues and shine a light on innovative solutions, the Cambridge Rare Disease Network held their first super exciting public celebration of all things rare: RAREfest 2018! The hype around RAREfest had been building for months and Libbie, Mary Rose and Rick were keen go along and see what it was all about.

And they weren’t disappointed! The Friday evening launch event was full of amazement, humour and warm fuzzy feelings as individuals from across the rare community took to the stage. The highlight of the night had to be the performance by the Unique Feet dance troupe. Rare diseases can be so isolating, but it was lovely to see how this dance club gives children the opportunity form friendships around their rarity in-common. Huge well done to everyone involved!

The Friday launch evening was the perfect lead into the main Saturday event. With a silent film festival, interactive exhibitions and informative talks, there was plenty to do and learn. We would like to say a huge congratulations to the whole CRDN team – many of whom are volunteers – for nailing such an ambitious project and making it so enjoyable.

London Santa Run – Rick

On the first Sunday of September I gathered up my running gear, stepped into the cool crisp morning air, and headed for Cambridge Station. I was setting off for Victoria Park, London, to take part in the UK’s biggest Santa run. My challenge, to drag my new Dad body around a 10km park circuit, hopefully inside an hour. As someone who isn’t too fond of running, and has barely done any strenuous exercise in 2018 (bar essential event training), this would prove no small feat.

I arrived in Victoria Park in good time, and was soon clad in a fetching St Nicholas costume and performing a vigorous warm up dance in the largest gathering of Santas you will likely see. Obviously I was awesome.

Minutes later I was lined up on the start line, alongside fellow Findacure fundraiser Melita, and ready to run. I’m sure the runners made for a fantastic picture, the crowd of spectators enjoying themselves as a sea of smiling red-clad runners began to move past, some playing Christmas songs, and one notable woman carrying a very large Santa sack on her back! Within two kilometres it became clear that Santa’s suit is certainly built for Christmas in the northern hemisphere, as runner after runner was seen shedding their suits and beards as they began to overheat! My own hat may have gone walkabout…

Regardless of the cosy attire, there was a great atmosphere and brilliant support along the route. While my first 6km went really well, I began to struggle in the latter stages of the run, and didn’t manage to beat my time target, coming in a little over one hour and three minutes. Despite this I was proud of the run, and thrilled to hear that Findacure’s Santa team have so far raised over £1,100 for the charity. Now that is better than a lump of coal.