Naomi Hall

Naomi’s #AUK15for15 Challenge!

Imagine this, there you are at work just getting along with your day when all of a sudden, your colleagues tell you “Hey it’s Alopecia UK’s 15th birthday next year!” Great! You think to yourself. What will we do to celebrate? A big party? A Ball? Ooh, maybe cake will be involved!

Nope. We’re going to do a series of challenges to fundraise!! Soooo, no cake then. After my mild moment of disappointment at the lack of streamers I agreed at what an amazing opportunity this would be. No peer pressure was involved at all 😉 but seriously, I promise I am doing this of my own free will!

I never make New Year’s resolutions; I’ll be honest I don’t stick to them. My friends and family will tell you I have very little will power, so some of these will really test that… But given that these fundraising challenges are for a cause obviously for close to my heart I feel like now is the time to give it all I have.

Now Jen and Amy have tied theirs to the anniversaries of their hair loss, I however have decided to do 15 individual challenges. Some are to better myself; some are to better my community and some are to hopefully better the wider world around me! So, if you’re a friend who wants to support me, a family member who wants an alternative way to give me money or an enemy who wishes to see me suffer please donate! I will be keeping you up to date throughout the year on how each of these challenges are going.

1. Make a three-course meal for friends
I love to cook. And my High School Food Tech teacher told me I was pretty good at it, cough A* cough. But I don’t often give it the time I would like. Often things are from jars are reheated as that is what my time (and often budget) allows for. However, I would like to take the time and treat 5 of my friends to a (relatively) fancy 3 course meal, made entirely from scratch!
2. Sign up to a yoga class
This one is pretty simple; I need to do more exercise. I am affectionately known as very sloth like. I like yoga, it gives me some exercise whilst also being great for mental health and self-care.
3. Visit a new country
I set myself a challenge a few years ago to visit 30 countries by the time I was 30. I love to travel, it’s probably top of my list of my favourite things to do. I am currently 27 (28 in April) and I’m currently on 27, so I need to keep up!
4. Donate blood
I’ve only ever donated blood once before. Bad I know… I’m just not very good with it. I get all faint and the sight of blood, no thanks. But I recognise how much of an amazing thing it is to do. So, this year I will donate blood!
5. Organise a charity fundraising event for 2021
I’ve been working for Alopecia UK for nearly two years now and I have as yet not organised my own charity fundraiser. Again, bad I know! I haven’t decided what this will be yet, it may be something big or may be something small, so watch this space!
6. Take part in the Tough Mudder and/or Colour Rush
Alopecia UK now have some fantastic challenge events organised and I would love to take part. I may do one, I may do both. I need to check my calendar (I’m not making excuses already I promise!) but I think these will be a great challenge. Friends/Family I will be roping some of you into these so be warned 😉
7. Learn a new craft
This is one of those things I’ve always said I’ll get around to but just never do. I have always loved arts and crafts but have never taken any up as a hobby. It’s likely to be cross stitch or knitting, something along those lines. I need to get myself to Hobbycraft!
8. Donate non-perishable food to a food bank every month
The world is increasingly becoming a harder and harder place to live for some and I just want to do something small to help and make my local community a more giving place.
9. Do a 15km walk
Again, friends and family you will be roped in 😊 Exact location TBC.
10. Adopt a cat from a shelter
Not that I’m biased, I love all my challenges equally obviously but secretly this is my favourite! I love animals, my family have always had pets from shelters and now I’m a grown up (?!) I would love one of my own.
11. Read 5 ‘Classic’ books.
Sorry Amy, I definitely stole this one! But it’s a great shout. So, throw your recommendations at me!
12. Do a random act of kindness
I mean does this one even need explaining?
13. Start swimming again
This one may seem like a small one. But for me this is quite a big one. I used to really enjoy swimming but since I lost my hair, I just haven’t had the confidence to get back in the pool. It feels like a very vulnerable place to be. My goal this year is to go for a swimming session. Ideally, something that I will keep up a use as a new form of exercise – but even if I just do it the once it’ll feel like a big step.
14. Give up chocolate for a month
This. This is the real challenge. I don’t think it’s physically possible to put into words how hard this will be for me. Going for October.
15. Skydive
Scary? Exciting? Who knows? But I am determined to do this one!

So, whilst some of these may not seem like challenges for some for me, they all hold an important or challenging aspect and I’m excited to get started! Working for Alopecia UK has given me an amazing career I never would have explored, it’s allowed me to accept my own alopecia in a way I never thought possible and it’s introduced me to a whole host of amazing new friends. It’s hard to explain just how important the work the charity can do is. Losing you hair can have massive impacts on your mental health and I know my friends and family can attest to the journey I have found myself on over the last 5/6 years.

So, in 2020 I ask that you help me keep this charity going, help us reach that £15,000 target, it would truly mean the world to me. For my birthday I will be redirecting people here, for anyone feeling generous who would like to encourage me or for any spare change you find down the sofa, all donations, big and small will be hugely welcome.

Naomi Hall