Thursday 17 April 2014

Easter Endurance Eggstravaganza for Elliot!

Here at Operation Elliot blog HQ we've just heard about an amazing challenge that two impressive Kayakers are undertaking for Elliot.

Edward Long and his kayaking partner Brad will be racing 125 miles from Devizes in Wiltshire to Westminster this weekend, along with 200 other kayakers.  We're exhausted just thinking about it!

Here's what the official race website says:
The Devizes to Westminster International Canoe Race starts in Devizes, Wiltshire and finishing just downstream of Westminster Bridge in central London, opposite the Houses of Parliament. The race has been held annually over the Easter Weekend since 1948.
The race is 125 miles long and has 77 portages. The first 52 miles are along the Kennet and Avon Canal to Reading, the next 55 miles are on the River Thames to Teddington. The final 17 mile section is on the tidal portion of the Thames.

Ed and Brad will be kayaking for about 22 hours straight, day and night - we really hope that the weather is kind to them over the weekend.  Their supporters have certainly been very generous, they have raised £1,229 so far, very nearly their target of £1,250 through their Justgiving site.

Here are some more photos of the pair training.  Good luck Ed and Brad, we're all rooting for you!

Saturday 12 April 2014

Eating for Elliot!

This week we hear from Sophie Donovan and friends who completed a sponsored three-day purée diet for Operation Elliot, eating nothing but pureed meals and thickened water (apparently normal water was not allowed).  Sound disgusting? Well it was, just look at the photos below!  Sophie is a friend of Elliot's Mum Morwenna. Sophie and other fellow Speech and Language Therapists have together raised over £3,000 for Operation Elliot.

£3,000 for eating disgusting food.  Is it worth it? Well of course we think so!  Here's how Sophie, Helen and colleagues, and Becky, Jo, Shona, Nikki and Jules managed it:

Sophie, tell us what it was like to eat nothing but pureed meals for three days
Pretty grim! I was thirsty all the time despite making a real effort to keep my fluids up. The drinks were awful thickened! Smoothies were ok but I quickly got fed up with having sweet drinks all the time. I became desperate for water!

I made some soup for lunches and had puréed shepherds pie one night. They actually tasted ok but the food looks awful puréed. Not at all appetising, even when you're hungry! On Fri night I had puréed curry & rice which I just couldn't finish - it was all wrong, yuk.  My first normal meal tasted amazing. Pizza and a glass of crisp white wine has never tasted so good!

How did you keep going?
I had such a fantastic response from friends and colleagues which really helped keep me going, plus we all supported each other on Facebook which was fantastic (purée dieters and others from our UCL course). We shared notes about palatable foods and things to stock up on that were easy to transport around for snacks etc.

Anyway, that's enough from me! Here are some snippets from the others' Facebook food diaries:

Shona's Facebook Diary, Day One:
Day one of sponsored modified diet done. Harder than I thought. I have learned that thickened drinks really are awful. Tea is especially vile. Also getting a smooth texture in blended foods is difficult as I had to blend and then sieve some things. Also experimented with using the thickener as a soaking solution - soaked sandwiches anyone? Urghhhh!

Jules' Facebook Diary, Day One:
I've just encountered first pureed meal that I couldnt finish: scrambled eggs, veggie hotdogs and tomatoes. Just not right! Then tonic water thickened- fizzes over and was just unpalatable. However, black Earl grey tea (sweetened) was ok, and almost getting used to water being somewhere between wallpaper paste and frogspawn....At least it's for a good cause!

Jo's Facebook Diary, Day 3:
I've just had my last puréed meal - carrot, broccoli, potato with brown sauce for a bit of flavour, served up in one big splurge! And for pudding, treacle sponge pud and custard all blended together - SO sweet.

Reckon I'll have another thickened drink before bed. Looking forward to normal drinks more than anything tomorrow - I miss water the most. Still v thirsty.

A really big and heartfelt thanks to you all for your donations - together you have raised more than £250 through my challenge - with some more for me to forward when pledges are collected. Wonderful. I'm truly moved by your generosity and know that Elliot and his family are too x x

We certainly are, thanks to all of you for enduring what sounds like a truly horrible challenge!

Tuesday 1 April 2014

Hard graft

Carrying on our posts about all the hard work our supporters have been doing, we also wanted to hear from Angela Cole, one of Elliot's family's oldest friends (duration, not age!).

Angela has been the coordination and brains behind some very successful events. The folk concert at Elliot's Granny's house raised a whopping £936.  Many thanks go to Ed and Mo for all their hard work, and the fantastic performers: Rod Jenkins & Black Tulip, Malcolm Bishop, Take Thackray, Frank Boyle, Bob Whitley, Sue Pugh & Dave Lambert.

And then there was the Zumba party, also Angela's doing.  Angela said "It went really well despite a terrible storm which kept quite a few away.  The session was very energetic and enjoyable and we had masses of cakes and scones to raffle".  The Zumba raised over £200, a fantastic amount - and thanks must go to Claire Nightingale and the Two Riversmeet Leisure Centre who donated the sports hall. 

If any of you were at the Valentine's Dinner and Auction you'll know that the room looked stunning.
Angela after the hard work was done

Well, it was Angela that did all this for us - she spent hours hand-making the amazing table centre pieces and generally making all the tables beautiful. She's a wonder, don't you think?

The success of the auction was down to lots of people, not least the very generous businesses and friends that donated holidays, collector's items and days out.  Without them, it simply wouldn't have happen. Here's a reminder of how generous people were - we had so many lots to auction!

And of course, the auction itself was run by our Star Wars celebrity extraordinaire Jack McKenzie and seasoned charity auctioneer Juliet Pull.  We are incredibly grateful to both of them for helping us out and getting some fantastic prices!

Here are some more photos of the night, including early photos of the children 'helping' to set up the room!! :)

Loadsa fun getting ready for the auction night!

Some of the impressive auction lots