We'll give you a pound for every mile you run, they said. With a slight snigger. After all I was far better known for partying than athletics. So it was with great satisfaction that I collected £13 from each of them. And handed a large cheque to a long forgotten charity.
Now there are requests for money every single day it seems. Some more successful than others. And the massive success of the Ice Bucket Challenge got me thinking about what makes me want to give to charity.
And what makes me vow never to donate:
...Pushy (charity) sales people on the doorstep, especially at dinner time.
...Charities that seem to use donations to top up the pay and pensions of the management team, and build shiny new headquarters for their offices.
My blood pressure is rising just thinking about it.
Other things make me reach for my purse faster than you can say famine in Africa.
Make it easy for me, make it fun, make me feel good, and don't put me under pressure. Perhaps I'm selfish, but it's even nicer if I get something out of it too.
I didn't pour icy water over my head, but I did give money to the Irish Motor Neurone Disease Association - text donations make it sooo easy. I also regularly sponsor friends on Facebook, but I prefer to do it anonymously. I'd hate to be thanked publicly and feel that I might be putting other people under pressure to give money too.
Charity events can be fun: I used to enjoy pub quizzes, though it's a bit mad paying a babysitter in order to go! The Dublin Women's Mini Marathon is also a favourite, but I haven't had enough free time to train for it in recent years.
But giving to charity and getting something beautiful and useful in return is the best feeling of all. Dublin autism charity Snowflakes has the right idea with its range of snuggly hoodies. I am now the proud owner of one, bought as a way of saying thank you for all the teen events that my son enjoyed attending.
And I thought I'd got enough charity clothes, until I spotted this T-shirt.
It is for a charity I'd never heard of before: Genetic Disorders UK, and it is part of their fundraising Jeans for Genes day on Friday 19th September - that's this week people - which raises funds to provide vital care and support to children with genetic disorders and their families. It turns out that the work of this charity could be relevant to Smiley as one day a genetic disorder could be identified as the cause of her problems. But besides that, I love the T-shirt. If you do too, you can buy one here.
I still think that charities are not the most efficient way to deliver services to those who need them, but in the meantime I'm happy to give to them when I get something in return. Even if it's just the satisfaction of proving that you can run 13 miles.
What makes you give to charity?
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