Answer – they’ve all featured in a list of 50 fundraising challenges completed by Hampton resident Shelle Luscombe in the 500 days following her 50thbirthday.
For that matter, stand-up comedy, a horse, hairdressing scissors, welly boots, sign language, a barge, a unicycle, dancing shoes, a sewing machine and countless other things all had a part to play in helping Shelle to raise over £11,000 (and still rising) for Alzheimer’s Research UK, the UK’s leading dementia research charity.
The 50 challenges were all set for Shelle by friends, family and strangers in exchange for a donation to her JustGiving page. Her crazy fundraising antics caught the attention of JustGiving as she was selected as one of three finalists in the Creative Fundraiser of the Year category of the company’s 2022 Awards. Shelle was also shortlisted as a fundraising trailblazer in the inaugural Alzheimer’s Research UK Supporter Awards.
Inspiration for the mammoth fundraising campaign came from Shelle watching dementia rob both her parents of their dignity, their relationships, and their quality of life. Her dad, Ian, had Parkinson’s Disease for many years and went on to develop Parkinson’s Dementia a couple of years before he died, aged 75, in December 2017.
Meanwhile, Shelle’s mum, Sue, began to display symptoms of dementia while she was caring for Ian. She was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s and Vascular Dementia in 2017 and was in a nursing home in the advanced stages of dementia when Shelle celebrated her milestone birthday. Sue died, aged 76, at the end of February 2022, when Shelle was midway through her challenges.
The original plan was to complete all 50 challenges before turning 51 but her mum’s passing understandably caused a bit of a delay, so Shelle decided to extend her deadline to 18th November 2022, which was exactly 500 days from her 50th birthday.
So, here we are and Shelle can now say she’s completed 50 challenges in 500 days following her 50th birthday, and raised over £11,000 for a cause close to her heart along the way.
When asked which was her favourite challenge, Shelle finds it really hard to pick one. Instead she’s highlighted some standout experiences like so:
- Most proud of – completing a 5K run
- Most difficult to master – unicycling
- Most nerve-wracking – stand-up comedy
- Most exciting – appearing live on Steph’s Packed Lunch
- Most funny – the Chubby Bunny marshmallow challenge
- Most ridiculous – having to cut a friend’s hair after having drunk a bottle of Prosecco
- The activity she’s most likely to continue with – drumming with a band
Lucy Haines, fundraising officer at Alzheimer’s Research UK, said: “From day one Shelle has thrown herself into her 50 at 50 challenge and it has been incredible to follow her journey and find out about each of her challenges along the way.
“We are really grateful to Shelle for not only raising thousands of pounds for dementia research but also raising vital awareness of dementia and the diseases that cause it.
“It is thanks to supporters like Shelle that we are able to fund research into new treatments, preventions and a cure to protect future generations from the heartache of dementia.”
So, what’s next for Shelle? She says: “Right now, I’m not sure. The challenges provided a welcome distraction and focus for my grief. I think I need to give myself a bit of time to process everything, and then I can make a plan for my next chapter!”
To donate or to read more about Shelle’s challenges, go to: www.justgiving.com/fundraising/shelleluscombeofficial
And there’s a full blog on Shelle’s website: www.shelleluscombe.co.uk/50-at-50