Julie McDonnell, a ringer of only two years, has had three leukaemias and now brain cancer. In amongst her various treatments she has initiated a bell ringing campaign, now with its own method variations (eg Julie McDonnell Bob Doubles), which has huge sponsorship from celebrities and businessmen, as well as families affected by blood cancer, initially to raise funds and awareness for the Anthony Nolan Trust and DKMS (who both match stem cell donors with leukaemia sufferers) and now also to fund second stem cell transplants in England, including via a JustGiving page. The more quarter peals rung of Julie McDonnell methods, the more money is raised to help save the lives of children who need a second stem cell transplant, currently unavailable on the NHS in England. The sponsors have really taken to this initiative, which is in turn raising the awareness of bell ringing in a positive way in the public sphere.
Links to the methods are at http://juliedmcdonnell.wixsite.com/sbabc and although the initial target of 100 QPs by Christmas has now been exceeded, the target keeps being increased (it is now 200), for exponentially more money (100 QPs earned £10k, and a further £60k is pledged if 200 is reached). And if all towers of the alphabet are rung at (J, V, Y and X are particularly challenging!), even more funds are secured. If Julie herself rings, then additional money is earned – and she has just conducted her first! Thus far the total funds from the Strike Back Against Cancer campaign have shot up to c£1m, all since June 25th, and as the cut-off is Dec 25th there is the possibility to get this to a much higher figure.
So, for those interested, all you need to do is a) learn a new method, b) organise and ring a QP with or without Julie, and c) link the QP on Bellboard to the event Bellringers Strike Back Against Cancer. It is a great way for bell ringers to ‘do their thing’ and at the same time save lives, while raising awareness of the positive power of bell ringing and bell ringers.
We appreciate that not every charitable cause will appeal to everyone, but we believe that this particular initiative, by a bell ringer, for bell ringers, is something of general interest to the ringing community, hence our raising awareness of it.
There is also an article on the Central Council website:
CCCBR Public Relations Committee