Three weeks ago, after a lot of deep thought and daydreaming, I finally compiled and published my 24 before 24 list. This list is part of a challenge, set by me - for me, to complete 24 goals before my 24th birthday (which is in October 2016). The list contains a real variety of items - from blogging goals to travel, trying new places and spending time with family and friends.
Today I ticked my first goal off the list: Donate regularly to Macmillan, St. John's Hospice and British Red Cross.
Why do I want to do this?
In my mind, donating to charity is incredibly important. Charities do amazing work and rely so heavily on public funding, so if you know that you can afford to spare a few pounds each month (and, lets be honest, most of us can) then why not give it to a good cause rather than spending it on a magazine or a coffee? It's so much more worthwhile; it helps people, and it makes you feel good knowing that you're helping somebody else who is less fortunate than yourself.
The majority of us will have been, or will at some point be, affected by cancer in some shape or form. Whether it's a family member, work colleague or close friend who has suffered from this terrible disease, or perhaps you've suffered yourself - it affects so many of us that it's hard to turn a blind eye.
I lost both of my grandfathers to cancer - one to bowel cancer, and one to prostate - and, in their final weeks, they both received wonderful care from Macmillan nurses, who also provided aftercare, counselling and support to the family following their passing.
Although I couldn't afford to set up a substantial donation to Macmillan, the amount I am giving will, over the course of the year, pay for one hour of a Macmillan nurse's time and, in turn, help to support an individual, and their family, in a time of great need.
You can find out more about donating to Macmillan here.
Why St. John's Hospice?
This time last year, my Grandad was spending time in St. John's Hospice, in Lancaster, whilst fighting prostate cancer. We visited him in the hospice in April and, as he seemed so content and so happy in the beautiful surroundings, we had no idea that I would be the last time we'd see him. It makes me so, so happy to be able to remember him smiling and chatting and having a bit o' banter with the hospice nurses, and I know that so much of that was down to the exemplary care provided by St. John's. That is why I chose to donate to them.
Hospices do incredible work to help people feel comfortable and content in their final months, weeks and days, and I think that this is so important which is why I would urge you to donate to your local hospice - as you never know when you, or someone you love, will rely on them.
Why British Red Cross?
I love the ethics behind British Red Cross; they treat every emergency or crisis relatively - meaning that they don't compare something happening in the UK to something happening in, say, Syria or Africa. To the British Red Cross, a crisis is a crisis - no matter where it is and no matter how many people are affected, and I completely agree with this.
British Red Cross are currently running emergency appeals for survivors of the Iraqi war, the Ebola outbreak and conflict in Syria, South Sudan and Yemen, as well as numerous projects across the UK and the rest of the world. From refugee support, tracing missing people and providing social care, the British Red Cross are a great support to thousands and thousands of people, and this deserves our support in return.
You can find out about donating to British Red Cross here.
How did I achieve this?
To be honest, this was probably the most straightforward of all of the challenges on my list. It's incredibly simple to set up a Direct Debit to donate money to a charity either monthly or annually. I set up my first one a couple of weeks ago, and set up the remaining two this morning. And that's that - done.
My donations are only a total of £10 a month which, in the grand scheme of things, is a tiny amount but will, undoubtedly, help these three incredible charities to continue their inspiring work.
Do you donate to charity?
If not, what could you sacrifice in order to do so?