Are you interested in running to raise funds and awareness for a special cause? Then you should meet Rohan Kallicharan!
In the last 12 months Rohan Kallicharan has participated in 10 races, including the iconic London Marathon, to raise funds and awareness for Mind, the Mental Health Charity in the UK, with 2 more to come between now and the end of the campaign on 25 May.
Rohan has raised £5,431.20 through fundraising events, online and offline donations, and t-shirt sales. His fundraising journey is an inspirational example to anyone hoping to raise funds and awareness for a cause close to their heart, and Rohan has been kind enough to offer us insight into his experiences and provide advice for others hoping to achieve the same.
How did you select Mental Health as the cause for your fundraising efforts? Also why did you decide to participate in races as a way to raise funds and awareness?
I have lived with Bipolar Disorder, a mental illness, since my late teens, and nearly lost my life therein. With 1 in 4 people experiencing a mental illness at any given time, it is an area which is so very misunderstood and misrepresented. By embarking upon this campaign, it was my way of thanking a charity which helped me to rebuild my life after a suicide attempt in 2006, and of playing my part in breaking down the stigma which surrounds mental illness.
In terms of running, I was only ever meant to be doing 1 race! I was an obese 19 stone in early 2013, and having joined a gym to somehow try and lose some weight, entering that first race was my way of ensuring I couldn’t back out … I had to run but not hide! The 12 month campaign was borne from there and just developed an incredible life of its own.
You created a Fabrily campaign and offered shirts to commemorate your journey to raise funds and awareness, how was your campaigning experience with Fabrily?
From start to finish, the campaigning experience with Fabrily was top drawer. This included an initial introduction into how campaigns work, input into design, liaising directly with the charity to ensure logo permission was given, advice on pricing; just a really polished and professional package. It was a short and exciting journey, constantly logging on to see how many tees had been sold and how close we were to target, and keeping people aware, whom I knew to have placed orders.
The design and quality were both reflective in the high quality of the whole campaign. I priced a little higher because I wanted to use multiple logos – Fabrily designed a ‘Ro’s Year on the Run’ logo whilst a close friend designed the sleeve logo which commemorated the 96 Liverpool supporters who died in the Hillsborough Disaster. I am a Liverpool Season Ticket Holder, and the London Marathon was 2 days before the 25th Anniversary of the disaster, hence my desire to remember them in the design.
Would you recommend using Fabrily to others and would you consider using them again in the future?
I am already planning my design for my 2015 fundraising campaign, so yes, I would definitely use Fabrily again, and have already recommended and referred others.
What will happen to the funds you’ve raised? How will they be used?
To paraphrase Mind’s mission, which ties in with mine, I hope that they will be used to simply ensure that nobody ever has to live through a mental health problem in solitude and isolation as I once did, and that the continued awareness campaigning will empower people to seek help and speak openly. So many people have described me as being brave by speaking so openly about my mental illness, but I strive for a future where talking about mental illness will not be seen as brave, but as standard
It looks like you’ve had an amazing year! The fact that you’ve raised such a substantial amount of funds and awareness for this cause is an admirable achievement; can you offer any tips, advice, or insight to others hoping to do the same thing for a cause that is close to their hearts?
First and foremost, make sure that it is a cause about which you are truly passionate. Not only is fundraising a massive challenge, but so in my case was the slog of physical training. Unless you have an incredible desire and belief in your cause, you will find an excuse not to give it your all, and more importantly, potential donors will see it in you.
Above all, enjoy every moment. It is an exhilarating feeling to know that you are making a difference to the lives of others. What you will also find is that it changes your life beyond recognition. Get used to accepting compliments – even after 12 months, I find it difficult when people describe me as an inspiration, but I am learning that this is just use of language, and I humbly accept that people admire what I have achieved for Mind.
Finally, be bold and be brave. Start early, tell the world why you are doing it, and embrace them on your journey both in person and with social media. It took a lot of pressure off me that I had always reached targets long before race day. There will be moments when you question why you are putting yourself under this type of pressure, but in that moment, just simply remember the reasons which got you started in the first place.
Is there anything else you would like to add?
I would simply like to thank everyone who has made this possible and who has supported me during this 12 months. I am a very different person to the one who started, one who has achieved much more than I ever imagined possible. However, I could not have done it without family and friends, the support of Mind, the kindness of the general public, and those like Fabrily creating innovation in fundraising.
The Fabrily Team would like to thank Ro for all the amazing work he’s done in the last year and hopes he enjoys his “Ro’s Year on the Run” shirt as much as we enjoy seeing him wear it in his race photos! If you’re interested in finding out more about Ro and his races you can follow him on Twitter or visit his fundraising page.