A huge and very warm welcome to our first ever blog post! And also, of course, to our spanking new website that we have chosen to launch today - February 2nd, in recognition of Rheumatoid Arthritis Awareness Day. (Please excuse us if we use the term 'RA' generically!) We have worked hard to make this space useful and informative and we hope you enjoy what we have to offer within these pages. We are also very much looking forward to seeing how both the site and the charity evolve during this, our very first year, in line with local wants and needs. For people living with any form of autoimmune arthritis on the Isle of Man, your friends and family, this charity is designed for you.
We have tried to pack lots of information into these pages. On our homepage you can find details regarding how you can get more involved, as well as a calendar of events we have planned for 2017. For our first year we have decided to make these initiatives as interesting and varied as possible, kicking off with making Juvenile Arthritis awareness our February campaign - listen out for us on the radio and look for us in the press in conjunction with the newly formed IOM JIA group - contact details for which can be found under our 'Information' page at the top.
Next up we are planning a social event for April, sometime around Easter - the Manx RAmble will be followed by soup and rolls at a local pub. Here you can meet us and each other, enjoy a social chat and get some essential fresh air and movement.
May will see us campaign for RA and mental health awareness. This is one of our key initiatives - raising enough funds to ensure that all people living with these illnesses have access to either counselling, or practical help around the home, during times when they are most 'Without Wings,' or their freedom. Again, look out for us in the press around this time and please, get in contact via our 'contact' page and USE US! if you need some help. All financial aid will be strictly confidential unless expressly agreed otherwise. In our 'Positive Living' section, under 'Inspirational Stories,' you can find out a little more about our Chair, Jackie, and how she has learnt to deal with her own mental health issues.
May is also the date of the Pigs on the Wing concert at Andreas Village Hall, in honour of Without Wings! We are very grateful that they selected us as the recipients of their charity bucket donations for this, the last gig of their 'points of the compass' IOM tour! Unfortunately tickets have sold out! But if you did manage to secure one, please bring some cash along so you can donate. We'll be there in our blue t-shirts!
July is set to be a busy and exciting month! First up, we are hoping to secure a stand at Tynwald (tbc), come and find us! Next, we intend to have the BIGGEST AND BEST carnival float at the Douglas Carnival. Keep an eye on our blog here for more information as we have BIG plans! And we will be looking for help!
The end of July sees the exciting arrival of our first speaker, Danny Preil from the Netherlands. Danny is a huge inspiration for people living with autoimmune illness, having worked hard to manage his illness 100% naturally. He really is an inspiration (and a thoroughly lovely person). You can also read a little more about Danny under 'Inspirational Stories,' though he has asked us not to give away too many of his secrets! These he is looking forward to telling you all about in person. More details regarding venue and cost of tickets will be released closer to the time.
October is also a busy month. Provisionally - and depending on health, tides and weather! Jackie, our Chair, is planning a charity swim to the Calf of Man. As soon as our Just Giving page is up and running, you, your friends, family and colleagues! Will all be able to donate. The provisional date for this is October 14th 4.10pm or October 15th 5.30pm as a reserve. If everything is against us, the swim will instead take place sometime in October around Peel Castle instead. If everything is good for those dates, we'll let you know just in case you want to come down and cheer her on!
October will also be our first anniversary! We are therefore currently mooting some interesting ideas - the current winner being some kind of variety performance evening with a difference. Keep an eye out here for more details!
December will once more be busy with more fundraisers - fruit smoothie stands at both Sulby and Andreas School Fairs, as well plans for more trombone fun!
If you want to get involved with your own social, group, awareness or fundraising event, please let us know and we can tell everyone about it here!
So that's it for now! Browse these pages, contact us just to say hello, or if there is any way in which we can help, as we get ready for a fantastic year! Best wishes from all of us at Without Wings, Jackie, Sue, Suzanne and Laura.