Fundraiser of the Year 2014
The Fundraiser of the Year Award recognises the individual who has ‘gone above and beyond’ to raise funds and/or awareness for Parkinson’s. The winner of the 2014 award is Rosemary Mason. To those who know Rosemary, the award will come as no surprise, as recognition of an outstanding talent and imagination in fundraising.
Rosemary is our very own stalwart Cure Parkinson’s champion! Despite her Parkinson’s and other health issues over the past year, Rosemary has given 100% to every element of her fundraising for Cure Parkinson’s with tireless commitment and enthusiasm. She regularly organises events and constantly campaigns at other local events encouraging people to take part and contribute. She talks to newly diagnosed people with Parkinson’s whenever and wherever she can to ease their fears and pass on her optimism and hope for the future.
Rosemary was diagnosed with Parkinson’s in 2006 and, like so many, the pathway to diagnosis was unconventional. A keen pianist, Rosemary was practising Beethoven’s famous Bagatelle No 25 “Für Elise” when she noticed that her fingers were unsteady over the keys. Suspecting something muscular or arthritic, she was referred to a rheumatologist and, although it was not his field, he confidently diagnosed Parkinson’s.
So how did Rosemary become so deeply immersed in fundraising? As so often, the path into advocacy and fundraising usually comes from a single event or encounter, often a single source of inspiration. For Rosie, that inspirational person was Shelagh Nichols, wife of Sir Richard Nichols, one of the four co-founders of Cure Parkinson’s. Rosemary met Shelagh at a charity fundraiser ‘Open Garden’ event in 2010. The two hit it off immediately and before we knew it, Cure Parkinson’s had a star fundraiser.
It is no surprise that Rosemary is so accomplished a fundraiser. Her background, in human resources and teaching, makes her very personable, an essential skill in any fundraiser. But what you notice first when you meet Rosemary is her laugh, joyous and infectious. This is a lady who concentrates on what she can do, not what she can’t. And she inspires others — only last year her daughter ran a half marathon and her physiotherapist swam the English channel, decisions taken in no small part because of Rosemary.
Rosemary is persuasive and imaginative. “There are certain key elements in fundraising” she says, “you need to measure your audience, and the idea has to be original, fun and topical. And it’s got to be value for money”. Sound advice, and advice she has been putting into practice for the last four years.
So what is the connection between an Olympic-themed games evening, a luncheon lecture on the history of bridal wear, an Italian evening on art, food and music and a craft stall? They are all successful fundraisers created by Rosemary.
But what drives her to do it? “It’s very simple” she says “I have to keep busy. If I don’t keep busy, I have far too much time on my hands to dwell. But I also like the challenge, the creation of something”.
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