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The Fitwise 'Care for a Balloon' Challenge

Jun 20, 2018

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Last week was National Carers Week 2018. To recognise this important week, we wanted to do something to help raise awareness for carers both within Fitwise as well as to our network. Not only that, but we wanted to mark the week with a contribution to our Charity of the Year, Carers of West Lothian.

In our previous instalment of Wise Up, we talked about the ways you can get involved in Carers Week; the least we could do was follow through on our own advice!

On Monday, we held a bake sale at Blackburn House for our staff, neighbours and visitors. There were so many treats brought in by our avid bakers that we set it up buffet-style. People could take as much as they wanted in return for a small donation. Sweet-tooths were satisfied and diets were compromised. Even the postman tucked into some cake!

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The main event, so to speak, was the Care for a Balloon Challenge. Members of staff had a balloon attached to their wrist and were tasked with going about their job for the week as normal without popping their balloon. In order to raise a little bit of extra money for Carers of West Lothian, everyone was encouraged to bet on who they thought would pop first and who would be the last person standing.

Two early do-overs were needed as Liam and Michelle both popped their balloons whilst blowing them up – not a great start but once their replacements had been successfully inflated, the challenge began.

It only took an hour and a half for the first casualty – Lorraine didn’t account for the jewellery hazard! Equally as devastating for Nicola who had bet on Lorraine to last the week!

Quickly, people had started naming their balloons as well as giving them faces, hair and (in some cases) back-stories. Dario in particular wrote a beautiful eulogy after he trapped Dario Jr between his chair and his desk.

Plenty of participants complained about the balloon getting in their way – rolling across their keyboard, ruining the office tea run and of course making for interesting trips to the toilet. People were allowed to pop their own balloon at any time if they wanted to quit, but this was actively discouraged as a carer doesn’t have that option. To our pleasure, no-one did.

Some resorted to removing their balloons when they thought no-one was looking. As a result, a new rule was brought into effect – if you leave your balloon unattended, anyone can pop it! Not long after, several people returned to their desks to find their balloons gone. This acted as a reminder that carers have to be responsible for their dependant all the time, not just when it suits them.

As Friday rolled round, it became clear that more than one person would make it to the end of the week, so it was decided that the ‘Best Dressed’ balloon would be declared the overall winner (as we felt that a free-for-all with thumbtacks would be both dangerous and not in the spirit of the week!) Michaela, who had even created a body for her balloon, was judged to be the winner.

 

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The week taught us a lot about why charities such as Carers of West Lothian are so important. Taking care of a balloon for a week is not even 1% of the experience of being a carer, but even then most of us couldn’t manage it. Our balloons limited us and occasionally frustrated us. This really helped us appreciate how tough it must be to care full-time for another human being.

Carers of West Lothian is a hugely deserving charity who provide support for carers of all ages. Being a carer is tough, and it’s even tougher going it alone. If you want to volunteer, donate or get involved in any way with Carers of West Lothian please visit their website: http://carers-westlothian.com/

The bake sale and the balloon challenge raised a combined total of £133.




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