“Hello! My name is Thomas Donald and this year for my birthday I decided to hold a Facebook Birthday Fundraiser in aid of the Children’s Heart Surgery Fund.”
The charity is close to my heart (literally!) as I am a congenital heart patient. At just 4 weeks old, I underwent open heart surgery which included arterial switch of both my main and coronary arteries, coarctation of main arteries and the repair of a hole in my heart.
It’s thanks to this amazing hospital, the Leeds Congenital Heart Unit and wonderful charity that I made it to my first birthday, let alone my 26th!
I initially set my target to £260, hoping between my friends and family we could raise £10 to mark each year of my life, but we smashed that in less than 24 hours! I raised the target to £500 – and again thanks to the kindness of my Facebook friends and connections we reached that goal in just a few days.
I decided to be a bit cheeky and upped the goal to £1000, never really believing we could do that in just a week or so to my birthday…but we did! I still can’t believe how amazingly kind and supportive people have been.
Through the power of Facebook, I received donations from family, friends, co-workers, people I haven’t seen since I left school or who I worked with years ago. Even friends of friends or family who just wanted to support this wonderful cause.
It was so easy to do, in fact Facebook even suggests you might want to hold a fundraiser a couple of weeks before your birthday, so you don’t even have to remember to do it. All it takes is a few clicks to set it up and share with your friends and that’s it!
I’ve definitely caught the fundraising bug and am already trying to think of ways I can raise more money to help the charity do what they do, helping families like mine go through the toughest times in their lives.
I’d like to raise money but also help raise awareness and share my story to hopefully show those families going through everything now to know that there is hope.
When I see those pictures of me at 4 weeks old hooked up to all of those machines I honestly can’t believe that’s me. I’m now 26, the Head Chef of a 3-restaurant chain in Sheffield and living a happy and healthy life and, other than my 2-yearly check-ups at LGI, even I sometimes forget I have a heart condition!
There is hope and, thanks to this incredible charity, there is always help and support available. Thank you, from the bottom of my big dodgy heart!