The Portraits For Macmillan Fundraiser - Mini Portrait Marathon! In Aid of Macmillan Cancer Support


Portraits For Macmillan

Join Me on the 5th -6th October and 12th - 13th October 2019. Let’s make a difference, together!

I will start this blog post by saying that this is one thing I wish I did not have to do! I am not being negative or grumpy, but I say this because I truly wish that no one needed cancer care or support - I wish this dreadful disease was not longer around… I strongly suspect that anyone reading this would agree.

However, right now, I know of no fewer than seven people including friends, family, and professional colleagues, who have recently been through cancer treatment or who are going through it. Not to mention those whom we have already lost.

I have felt powerless on the face of it, for a very long time, and I am not good at feeling powerless! I genuinely did not know how, and if, I could help in any way. Nothing I came up with seemed relevant, or enough.

The Final Straw

On the 26th July I was talking to one of my childhood friends who told me her skin cancer had returned and how she already had one operation and was going to have to face another in September, in order to try and halt its progress - During that same conversation she also told about a mutual childhood friend whose cancer has returned, and whom has now decided she no longer wants treatment.

These news really made me angry. Feeling powerless was no longer acceptable. I knew that I could not affect their diagnosis, but I felt that there must be something I can do.

That same evening, watching tv, the Macmillan Cancer Support advert showed up - I had seen it dozens of times before, and always thought about my friends. This time, however, it hit me hard and I knew that I was going to do “something” and I knew what it was. The seed had been planted in my mind!

That night I had trouble going to sleep as my brain was over-active with ideas. I knew I was not going to hold a coffee morning... It simply had to be photography related! I had already come up with the name “Portraits For Macmillan”, which I felt was to the point and quite straight forward and so in the morning I called Macmillan Cancer Support, to find out if my ideas were acceptable to them.

After a brief introduction and an overview of my idea, the lovely lady who answered the phone put me through to their Corporate Department - I felt quite grown up! My call was passed to an equally lovely (and very patient) lady called Maria. She listened, patiently, as I enthusiastically blurted out my ideas and many times talked over her - If you know me, that will ring a bell. I act like an over-excited puppy when I have an idea in my head, especially if it is photography related - and this was a doubly exciting thing as not only I was talking about photography but I was also doing something (that word, again!) that could help, in very real terms.

Felling Scared - Can I actually Do This?

One of the things I fear most in life is letting people down. I don’t like it. It is just the way I am and I make no apologies for it. But it can be a problem as I am constantly wondering if I can do this, whatever this may be at the time.

A project which can, potentially, make a real difference to people’s lives is a big thing - I am by no means unique and certainly not the only one doing my best to help Macmillan, but I can only speak for my journey and I have questioned whether I am up to the task - It seemed like a huge challenge and I never done this before! The photography aspect of it is the thing I am most comfortable about and I know I can, absolutely, deliver it. The setting it up… Well, I was going to need help!

Getting Help!

I am terrible at asking for help. I am so used to doing things by myself that I have become awful at reaching out, but this time I knew I would have to ask - If nothing else because I simply did not have the most basic thing I needed: A venue!

That was the starting point and the base of this project, as I could not even consider dates for the portrait sessions, never mind go public, until I had a place for the sessions.

FaB, FaB, FAB!

I am a, newish, member of the aptly named FaB Network, in Nuneaton, and I thought that if any group of people might be able to help, they were the ones! I needed a warehouse or a function room, or somewhere similar, for the event and I imagined that a local business might be able to help.

And so I asked the lovely Amanda whether she would allow me to address the group at our next event, and she graciously agreed.

On the 12th August (last Monday), I stood in front of the other members and told them about this project and about what I needed help with - But not before almost crumbling into an emotional mess (which I promised I would not do - But, hey…)

Within minutes the very lovely Dawn of Go Print, Nuneaton, put her hand up and offered me the use of the Coton Sports and Social Club Function Rooms! What an absolute star!

I also want to mention the very kind members who came up to me, after my talk, and said that not only would they participate on the event but also that they would help in any way needed.

To say that I am touched and positively overwhelmed, is an understatement!

Thank you all!

I Have a Venue - Now The Work Really Begins!

The first hurdle has been overcome and now I have set the dates, as can be seen above.

I have prepared the event details and have sent a link to Macmillan to ensure they approve, given the possible legal ramifications. The event details will go live, soon!

I will next be setting up the Just Giving Fundrasing Page, as this is Macmillan’s preferred method as it can link seamlessly to the records they created for me.

Then, letting everyone know! I am looking at local radio and even, possibly, tv…

I was, initially, worried about appproaching media outlets as I am not looking for publicity for my business, and have questioned whether all this potential media attention might send out the wrong message and come across as some cynical attempt to promote my business - but as Maria from Macmillan said, I will simply refrain from mentioning my business and will concentrate on telling everyone about the event itself.

Something to do with omelletes and breaking eggs…

The Fundraising Goal

My goal is to raise at least £1000 in aid of Macmillan Cancer Support. I am nervous, but I think it is doable! Though, in the end, I know that they will appreciate any amount, so it’s all good!

100% of the money raised will go to Macmillan Cancer Support. I understand that Just Giving will take a fee from it, but Macmillan are aware and asked me to use Just Giving, in any case.

I will not take any fees or profit in any way from the event.

How To Get Involved!

Once Macmillan have given me approval for the event details, I will be posting about it on the Facebook page and will start to take bookings!

I will also propagate it on LinkedIn, and via my mailing list.

I hope you will feel excited about this event and that you will want to get involved!

If you, or anyone you know, need help from Macmillan Cancer Support, visit their website at:

Andrea de Gabriel