On September 19th 2018 a handful of us started a campaign to raise £100,000 for our friend Claire, with little idea exactly how we were going to manage to reach that amount, or how long it would take.
Now, as Christmas nears, some three months later, our Go Fund Me page has reached a staggering £105,854.
As Clarence the angel in Its a Wonderful Life says, “Each man’s life touches so many other lives. When he isn’t around he leaves an awful hole”.
It seems that this sentiment very aptly sums up why this campaign has been as successful as it has: Claire Bothwell has touched so many other lives during her 40 years that there is collective outrage and horror that someone so truly wonderful could be dealing with such a terrible diagnosis. She has touched the lives of people who aren’t willing to deal with the awful, dark hole she would leave. Whether they are friends of many years who have a deep, personal love for Claire, or strangers who have heard her story and have also been affected by cancer, or perhaps see something of themselves in this brave young mother, it is clear that there are many, many people who stand with Claire.
And because Claire has accrued such a vast army of friends and acquaintances, all of whom value her profoundly, many have jumped at the chance to offer up their skills and talents in order to fight back against the horror of the situation, capitalising on the creation of beautiful music, art and dance. Some friends have set themselves sporting challenges such as half marathons, extreme distance running, even running the Scottish hills in the dark. There have been parties, auctions, raffles and a phenomenal gig featuring the good and the great from Scotland’s music scene. The Scottish art community has rallied. And in between these big events, individuals have cut off their beautiful hair, baked cakes, swept leaves, donated their wages, given endless time. Much of this generosity has been anonymous, has gone quietly unnoticed by most. These people have selflessly and tirelessly pounded the streets, the beaches, the mountains of the world so that they can inspire others to donate.
However, in the midst of all of this success, it is easy to become complacent and self-congratulatory and in the process lose sight of the difficult reality that Claire and her family must cope with every day. Whilst we all stand with Claire, none of us knows what it is like to walk in her shoes. There is no doubt that over the past two years she has approached this disease with courage, humour and her own charming blend of gung-ho and reflexivity that few would be able to summon in the face of such adversity. And so the absolute least we can do, as relatively helpless bystanders, is continue to stand with her, empower her with cold hard cash and show her we care so that she can keep up the good fight.
I’d like to take this opportunity to thank each and everyone one of you who has played their part to help raise such an awesome amount of money over the last few months, no matter what form this help took and no matter the size of the contribution. The fact that such a huge number of people from all walks of life has taken the time to stop what they are doing to lend their support has led to a truly life-affirming collective achievement which will hopefully continue as long as is necessary.
As George Bailey discovers around this time of year: no man is a failure who has friends.
Merry Christmas and thank you, everyone.