Donna has been fundraising for Royal Papworth Charity for three years, using her artistic and creative skills, organising Powertex mixed media art sessions around Southampton for all ages and abilities.

“I am a Powertex tutor and absolutely love the medium as it is suitable for all ages and abilities.  The workshops can range from three hours up to two days and we make anything from decorating journal covers, to 3D sculptures.  I always utilise some form of recycling in the workshops, using lots of material that is past being used for anything else, bottles and old junk jewellery.”

“I was already running the workshops before my husband fell ill. It just made sense to continue to run them, but also to use them as a way of raising money for the charity, and also of raising awareness of the importance of organ donation.”

In 2016, Donna’s husband received a heart transplant at Royal Papworth Hospital. She shares the reason she decides to fundraise for Royal Papworth Charity;

“Deciding to fundraise for Royal Papworth Charity, for me, was a no brainer.  I can vividly remember sitting in a room at Royal Papworth Hospital waiting to hear how my husband was doing after his heart transplant, and strongly feeling a need to give something (however small) back as a way of saying thank you.  In a strange way I feel I am saying thank you to the donor and their family as well.”

Without a doubt the donor and their family are both motivation and inspiration to me; not just the donor connected forever to my husband, but donors and their loved ones everywhere.  I honestly cannot imagine a braver, more generous decision to make and am forever in their debt.

“I was worried that I would lose business, but actually the opposite happened.  I kept people updated on what was happening, and the amount of support I received was absolutely amazing.”

“It still makes me well up when I think back at that time, and how, alongside friends and family, people who only knew me through my workshops really helped me through by posting messages of support and hope.”

As a supporter who has been fundraising for Royal Papworth Charity for three years, Donna also shares her tips and tricks if you want to start fundraising;

“I would say it’s helpful to go with an idea that really fires you up.  I love art so it is never a chore to run my workshops.  I never beat myself up about raising loads of money, as I know people don’t always have a lot to spare, so I am grateful for even small amounts, and I genuinely believe every little does help. 

"Spread the word as much as you can.  If you are like me and don’t like being too pushy just let people know what you are raising money for, and why you are doing it.  Generally people really like to get on board and help if they can.  The guys at Royal Papworth Hospital Charity are also really approachable and happy to help spread the word as well.”

“I absolutely love being able to send off my contributions every couple of months.  I know it is all about helping the charity continue to do the fantastic work they do, and raising money for the hospital.  But on a selfish level me giving something back helps me to process the enormous life changing event that happened to not only my husband, but to my whole family three years ago.”

I still get emotional each year on the anniversary of the transplant, and still find it hard to comprehend the enormity of what happened.  I have such mixed feelings around the fact that my family is celebrating whilst for another family somewhere out there it is a very sad day.

“We always raise a glass to ‘D’ as we call him or her, and will never, ever forget what they did for us.”

Donna will be continuing her Art for Heart workshops next year. Every month she send out a newsletter with details of when and where they will be held and if you would like to be added to the list please do email her on [email protected].

You can also follow her on her social medias to keep up to date with any of her upcoming workshops;

Twitter: @Artandmurals

Facebook: @ArtMuralsByDonnaMcghie