Please meet Karen King, one of our Fundraising Champions. Without amazing people like Karen, our charity would not be able to help improve quality of life for our veterans and so we are incredibly grateful.
Karen’s fundraising journey with us stems back 7 or 8 years ago, when her colleague Chrissie (who is our Fundraising Coordinator) introduced her to the charity and encouraged her to take part in a fundraising muddy fun run challenge. Since then, Karen has never looked back. Not only has her fundraising efforts positively impacted our charity, but since her initial fun run Karen became hooked on fitness and is now fitter than ever! We asked Karen to answer a few questions about her fundraising and the challenges she has faced below.
1) A little bit of background about yourself
I am 43 years old, married to Paul and have 2 boys Harrison 16 and Oliver 9. We are a very active family, we all play sports and love the outdoors. My hobbies are running, walking and yoga. I do both road and trail running, but Covid has taught me that I love the open moors and do a lot more running on Dartmoor now than ever before! I’m extremely lucky to have it on my doorstep. If I’m not running on the moors I’m walking up there. We also have 2 dogs who are boarder terriers, who are mother and daughter, Poppy is coming up to 15 and Bramble is coming up to 9. They are sweet little dogs, very loving and they think they're human! They are a big part of our family.
2) A summary of the incredible fundraising you have done for Veterans With Dogs?
The fundraising has been limited in some respects in the last year due to Covid, but before it struck, I was able to host a charity disco in one of our local pubs which went down well, plus advertising and promoting my London marathon just giving page through Facebook and Instagram. I had lots of other plans but watch this space as I WILL run the London Marathon this year and hope to raise even more money.
3) What made you start fundraising for Veterans With Dogs?
It all started about 7/8 years ago when Chrissie talked me into a fun muddy run one day at work, she said it would be a laugh, it’s called Rock Solid! The name gives it away really, but me and several colleagues signed up to Team Muddy Paws. It was a very tough race held during the winter, over about 13 miles most of it knee deep in mud, obstacles and water. I enjoyed it so much I also did it the following year.
Then just over a year ago Chrissie asked that if VWD (Veterans With Dogs) was to be allocated a place for the London Marathon would I like to run it for the charity. I have been trying for a long time to get a place with no success, so I was delighted, over the moon and felt honoured to take the place on behalf of them and so the training started and is continuing! Meeting some puppies whilst at the run and talking to people made me realise how amazing this charity really is.
4) What has been the most rewarding thing whilst fundraising for our charity?
Apart from knowing that the money I raise will help this amazing charity, the other most rewarding thing has to be getting my mojo back for fitness. I enjoyed the fun runs so much I knew I would enjoy it so much more if I was fitter. That spurred me on and several years later I was determined to be fit for 40 and completely changed my lifestyle, I lost over 3 stone and became a runner.
5) What has been the most challenging thing about fundraising for our charity?
So, the most challenging thing about fundraising for the charity definitely has to be COVID-19. My marathon turned into a virtual marathon which was the first time anything like this ever been done before. I am now in the Guinness Book of Records for being in the largest ever virtual marathon! It has been hard to raise funds, obviously when the whole of the world has come to a grinding halt and saying you're running a virtual marathon it doesn’t sound as good as the London Marathon!
6) Do you have any advice for anyone who wishes to fundraise for our charity in future?
The advice I can give anybody that would like to fundraise for VWD is just to go and do it! It's an amazing charity that helps some amazing people, who have served for our country. Giving them an Assistance Dog gives them their life back and a life that they deserve.
I would say social media is the way forward with fundraising, with a lot of things just put it out there let everyone know what you're doing and why. It really is just an amazing thing these dogs do for people. When I attend races, I am now known as the lady of Veterans with Dogs as my account name is KK VETERANS WITH DOGS and I am very quick at telling them all about us!
Would you like to be a fundraising champion like Karen?
Please get in touch or visit our website and join the team!