A little word from GetYourBellyOut CIC Co-Founders -
Hey there, good looking!
Thanks for stopping by, we really appreciate you taking an interest in our Crowdfunder project!
I bet you're wondering why on earth we've chosen to spend our days oggling people's belly photos and have devoted ourselves to campaigning for better rights for people that have Crohn's Disease or Ulcerative Colitis.
Let us explain...
We (GetYourBellyOut CIC co-founders, Lorna & Victoria) are ourselves living with Inflammatory Bowel Disease and both lived for many years, following our diagnosis, feeling anxious, isolated and lonely as neither of us had anyone we could relate to. We felt it was important that we create a safe haven where people like ourselves could turn to in their time of need.
Our support group has seen a 51% increase in traffic in recent weeks as people look to find advice, reassurance and comfort online. As a result we need to ask for your help...
Why are we Crowdfunding?
We've set ourselves an ambitious target of £10,000 so that we can upscale the amount of support than that which we can currently offer. Our aim is to lay strong foundations which will enable us to continue to plan, host and subsidise a number of activities or events that we can undertake each year for our amazing community of 'bellies'.
Example 1 - GetYourBellyOut Confidence Weekender...
Our aim is to host a weekend break for people who's lives have been affected by Inflammatory Bowel Disease. To host an event like this, which would consist of two night's accommodation, food and three days of activities for a group of around 20 people comes at a significant cost (several thousand). We hope to heavily subsidise this confidence building weekend so that everyone has a fair opportunity to join us.
Example 2 - GetYourBellyOut Annual Social...
Our 'GetYourBellyOut Ball' has become a staple of the IBD calendar, but to host an event of this magnitude which caters for between 150 - 200 people per year poses a large financial outlay each year as GetYourBellyOut's a voluntary lead not-for-profit organisation. We ensure that our party tickets are subsidised so that as many members of our community as possible can join us.
A snapshot of how Crowdfunder work...
There are two different ways to pledge...
Option 1 - Make a financial pledge simply because you love our Crowdfunding project. Go about your day knowing that you have a heart of gold!
Option 2 - Pledge in exchange for a reward. We get it - sometime's it's nice to get a little extra bang for your buck so...
We've got some amazing rewards on offer - be sure to check them out!!
We've lined up some really awesome rewards to help sweeten the deal! In exchange for your pledge, choose from teddies, talks or t-shirts as a little extra thank you from us.
**If we reach our Crowdfunding target the rewards will be sent out to you at the end of our campaign. If we don't, sadly all financial donations will be returned which means we could all end up with nothing - but we definitely don't want that to happen so please SHARE OUR CROWDFUNDER so that we can hit that target!!**
Let's talk through some of our bigger rewards...
- £500 Advertising Opportunity
Do you have a business, brand or product that you'd like us to share on our Facebook platform that has a following of over 23,600 people! If you think that you'd be a good fit, pledge your support and we'll happily share x1 post on our Facebook page. *Redeemable at GetYourBellyOut's digression.
- £1,000 Bespoke Founders Talk
If you like bad jokes, have time to spare or need a good cry then you'll LOVE our #GetYourBellyOut presentation! Listen as we take you on a whirlwind of emotions as we recount what life is like living with Crohn's / Ulcerative Colitis & how we founded a global campaign! If you'd like to add a little extra magic to your next event then this reward is definitely for you! 20 minutes bespoke presentation (topics can cover Mental Health/ IBD/ SoMedia etc)
- £5,000 Become a #GetYourBellyOut Corporate Sponsor
Become our corporate sponsors by helping us cover the cost of a #GetYourBellyOut activity. We're known for boosting people's confidence, reducing feelings of isolation and creating opportunities for people to spark new friendships. All of our events have created change & had a lasting impact on members of our community. Help us provide even more during 2021.
The impact of Coronavirus...
COVID-19 has had a detrimental impact upon us all, and it's effects upon organisations such as ours will be felt for a very long time. Our community is made up of vulnerable individuals who have been asked by the Government to shield themselves at home for a period of up to 12 weeks - this means that we're unable to rely on the income generated from their amazing fundraising efforts. We too have had to postpone our largest annual gathering until November, which is usually an integral opportunity for GetYourBellyOut CIC to raise funds.
Due to the Coronavirus, we're starting to feel the pinch! As a result, today we're launching an urgent appeal for pledges of support to ensure an invaluable global support network for people living with Crohn's Disease & Ulcerative Colitis isn't lost. We need you to pledge your support.
GetYourBellyOut CIC is a voluntary run patient lead organisation, providing support to a global community of people affected by Crohn’s Disease & Ulcerative Colitis.
From humble beginnings...
Launched in March 2014, the #GetYourBellyOut campaign initially encouraged people to share a photograph of their belly to social media, to showcase that whether people had scars, an ostomy or no visible signs of the illness we were all united in our fight against Inflammatory Bowel Disease. By encouraging people to share such an honest account of what life is truly like living with IBD, we have been able to put a visual aid, to what is an invisible illness which in turn has kick-started the conversation to help educate the public. As the demand for #GetYourBellyOut was so great, in 2018 we registered ourselves as a Community Interest Company (11276246) in order to sustain and safeguard it's future.
Here's how your support can help...
Often thought of as an 'invisible illness' Inflammatory Bowel Disease can have a detrimental impact on all aspects of a persons life. We need YOU to help us, by pledging your support so that we can continue to provide a safe haven for people like Jane and thousands of others right around the globe...
“I was 11 when I was diagnosed with Crohn's Disease. I didn't really know what was happening, what it was or how bad it could be. As a teenager I would never take my medications as I used to think that I was in control and that I was okay. Things like going to the toilet so much, losing weight, extreme belly cramps, tiredness, sickness and all the blood I would lose on the toilet became so normal for me because I developed Crohn's Disease at such a young age. I didn't realise I was any different.”
Jane's full story recounts the constant battle between gaining or losing excessive amounts of weight, due to medications or flares. She had had an incredibly hard time with her body image and had been teased about this. Unfortunately, as a result Jane decided to stop taking her steroid medication to try and control the weight gain, which landed her in a terrible state.
“I ended up going from 9 and a half stone down to 8 stone by the time I got admitted to hospital. I was told that my large bowel had narrowed so much that it was going to either turn cancerous or burst and that I needed emergency surgery to remove it which would leave me with an ileostomy.
By this point I couldn't get out of bed, I needed 3 blood transfusions, 2 iron infusions and IV steroids to build my body back up in time for the surgery. I was drained from how much I was losing on the toilet and it got the point where I couldn't stand up straight or lift my head.”
Following the surgery she encountered a number of complications which saw her weight plummet again from 8 stone to 5.9 stone. “I lost all my independence, I genuinely thought that I was going to die and felt totally helpless.” she recalls.
“Eventually I was told that if I didn't have a feeding tube that I would start fitting so I was given an NG tube for a month and a half to build my body back up. After amazing support from friends, family and my medical teams I slowly but surely began to gain weight again. My confidence was building, and I was starting to see the light at the end of this tunnel that everyone had been talking about.”
We’re pleased to say that Jane, like thousands of others, has made a number of friends through #GetYourBellyOut and is now doing well.
The evolution of #GetYourBellyOut...
Whilst #GetYourBellyOut continues to raise awareness and understanding of these debilitating chronic illnesses, we're also delivering vital support in a variety of different ways...
We provide and monitor a safe space through our online Facebook support group where patients can discuss various issues relating to life IBD 24 hours a day. This helps to kindle new friendships, lessen feelings of isolation and prevents loneliness.
Loved ones also find solace through our community as we actively engage with people's friends and family to help them gain a greater understanding of IBD as it can be a big change.
'I can't imagine what Nicola (or my) life would be like without the love and support of this group and the amazing people in it! We love you all and I thank you for giving her a shoulder to cry on that truly understands. I see the pain, but I don't FEEL the pain. You all do, and for that you gave my wife something I simply never could.' - Travis
To combat these issues further we provide numerous social opportunities throughout the year which restores people's self esteem, boosts their confidence and encourages them back out into the community as they're able to feel safe amongst people that understand the challenges involved in trying to socialise whilst having a chronic bowel disease.
Our reach doesn't stop there though, as we also spend time highlighting important issues in order to influence practice and policies as well as aiding research, whether that be by supporting students with their PHD's or by increasing the number of people that fill out crucial surveys / questionnaires so that people and organisations can better understand IBD and the impact it's having on young adults.
What we do works and we've got an awesome track record to prove it!
Which is why you should invest in us!! Our modern approach of utilising social media and pushing the boundaries has lead us to change the face of IBD advocacy, gain global media coverage, a social following of 40,000 people and a Pride of Britain award.
Here's what our 'bellies' had to say...
"#GetYourBellyOut completely changed my life giving me so much knowledge, confidence and love. I will always be grateful and would advise anyone newly diagnosed to follow them on social media!" - Brenda.
"The #GetYourBellyOut campaign has changed the face of #IBD advocacy." - Thaila
"Thanks to #GetYourBellyOut and all of their amazing inspiring warriors I FINALLY told everyone my 14 year old secret! I’ll forever be grateful to this campaign and the amazing people I’ve met through it, who gave me the confidence to do something I thought I’d never in my life even think of doing. So thank you from the bottom of my heart" - Francesca.
The stats speak for themselves -
When asked in 2019, 93% of people said they had seen a benefit from being part of our #GetYourBellyOut community ( 18% Brightened mood - 20% felt supported - 24% Made new friends - 13% Improved anxiety - 18% Built confidence - 7% No impact felt ), which shows a real need for our services.
Other findings from our latest feedback survey found that 73% said they now feel differently about their chronic illness because of the support #GetYourBellyOut had provided and an impressive 78% said they now have a better understanding or feel more informed about their illness due to being a part of #GetYourBellyOut.
During 2018-19 #GetYourBellyOut hosted a large gathering of community members, provided activity days out and hosted numerous local meet ups throughout the UK. A whopping 87.5% said they would attend our next large gathering and of the 36 ‘bellies’ we took bowling 90% said they would join us again!
We need ongoing investment...
We have a number of ambitious plans proposed over the next 18 months which will allow us to continue delivering a high level of support to our community.
The demand for our unique type of support is quickly on the increase which means we desperately need to upscale the amount of support and number of events we can provide each year, so that more members of our community can benefit from #GetYourBellyOut.
So whilst we're Crowdfunding to cover our upcoming costs and have various rewards in place to tempt you, GetYourBellyOut CIC will need substantial investment going forward.
Why do we feel we're the right people to drive forward these projects?
We know we're the right people for the 'job' as we've been able to attract people from all around the world to take an interest or become actively involved in our movement.
We're approachable due to knowing first hand what it's like to live with these illnesses, are able to relate to what others are going through and are passionate about creating lasting change.
We take a hands on approach and are able to react quickly to address all issues that are important to our community. We've come to know our supporters well over the years as we often invite them to have a say in the type of projects that we undertake.
#GetYourBellyOut has become a well established and trusted brand/name within the industry with 6 years of experience under our belt.
We're putting out an urgent plea for pledges to ensure an invaluable global support network for people living with Crohn's Disease & Ulcerative Colitis isn't lost forever.
If you've made it this far down the page, we'd like to give an extra special thank you for your time! We know life is a little upside down at the moment for everyone and the fact you've given our Crowdfunding project some consideration means the absolute world to us. If we could ask one more time for you to give what you can, no matter how large or small and share our Crowdfunding link far and wide via friends and family. Thank you for your support. Keep safe everyone Xx