Karen O’Dea, a member of staff at the Mary Lyon Centre, has raised almost £700 for Alzheimer’s Research UK by taking part in their Knit, Sew, or Crochet in November Challenge, and knitting and selling gnomes.
In the Knit, Sew, or Crochet in November Challenge, volunteers are asked to knit, sew, or crochet every day throughout the month while raising money to support Alzheimer’s research. The charity started this challenge last year and Karen, who works as an animal technician as well as in the admin team, has taken part both years, raising around £700 each time.
“My nan taught me to knit when I was younger, and I have always loved it. Then she died with Alzheimer’s in 2009 and my mum has been living with the disease since 2011, so for a long time I’ve been wanting to fundraise for charities that support research in this area and knitting felt like a great way to do it! Alongside taking part in these challenges, I also donate some of the proceeds from knitting I do at other times of year, and in May I raised £355 for Dementia UK by walking.”
Karen estimates that it takes her around 6 hours per gnome and although November is behind us, she’s still going and thinks that she will have made 73 by Christmas – “If I’m sitting, I’m usually knitting – whether at home in the evening or on a train journey!” She enjoys the process but knows that she can take on too many orders, as it’s easy to keep saying yes when asked if she can make another gnome for someone.
In total, the Knit, Sew, or Crochet in November Challenge has raised around £90,000 for Alzheimer’s Research UK. Elise Burton, an Online Fundraising Officer at the charity said: “The group was so wonderful, with so many creative projects that we loved seeing every single day, and we are blown away by the incredible fundraising efforts of every single one of our supporters!”
Although Karen’s still making gnomes until Christmas, if you haven’t already placed your order with her, you might just have to wait until next year; I’ve already got my order in for next year! And if you want to plan ahead for your own fundraising, efforts, Alzheimer’s Research UK are starting a new walking, running, cycling, or swimming challenge next year, “29 Miles in February”.