This week is Lydia’s last week at the AKU Society. We are sad to see her go and want to thank her for all she has achieved for AKU patients. In this week’s blog, Lydia shares her highlights, what she has learnt and her plans for the future.

It has been a busy and enjoyable year as Fundraising Officer at the AKU Society, and I am taking with me lots of great memories! I will be sad to say goodbye to the team and the patients who I have met and worked with. I have learnt such a lot from you all, and would like to say a particular thank you to all those who have supported and encouraged our fundraising work! I am sure, with your support, it will continue to grow from strength to strength.

What are you most proud of achieving during your time here?I am proud of how the fundraising work at the AKU Society has developed this year and the way the whole team have thrown their energy into making it a success. One particular highlight has got to be raising over £8,000 from community fundraising events to help fund the first International Patient Workshop back in April. It was great to be there on the day and meet so many inspiring patients from around the world. Another high point was organising the ‘Stand Up for AKU’ Comedy Night, which had everyone in fits of laughter! I am also proud to have secured funding from the Sylvia Adams foundation and the Wixamtree trust to help grow the support services on offer for AKU patients.

What have you learnt?Firstly, I have learnt about AKU! Having not come from a scientific background I have enjoyed learning about genetics, metabolic pathways, clinical trials and much more! It has been great to open my mind to new knowledge. Secondly, I have learnt about many different areas of fundraising, and have particularly enjoyed learning about how to put funding applications together.

What are you going to miss the most?I am going to miss my team at the AKU Society and meeting patients and supporters face to face at fundraising events. Thank you to all of you who have got involved in the events and campaigns, without you, my work would not have been possible!

I will miss the buzz of working hard to meet an application deadline and waiting to hear if it has been successful or not. It has been wonderful to have had several successful applications during my time here. I will also miss our weekly office drawing competitions – we have a great relationship with all the organisations in our shared office so I will miss them too!

What are your future plans?I am staying within the charity sector but moving to work for an International Development NGO. My Masters was in Development Studies and so this is an opportunity for me to apply my theoretical knowledge in a practical way. I will be working in the Impact and Effectiveness team to monitor and evaluate the impact of the charity’s work, I hope this will open the door for me to work overseas and explore new places!

Do you have a farewell message for AKU patients?I would like to say a fond farewell to you all, I will definitely keep in touch and keep track of the progress of the clinical trials. I have been inspired by the determination, strength and positivity of the patients I have met. Thank you in particular to those of you who took time to help me understand AKU and give me quotes for my funding applications!

Thank you Lydia

We are really sad to see Lydia go and will miss having her in the office. She bravely took on the role of our first ever Fundraising Officer back in September and has risen to the challenge, organising various events and challenges, raising lots of money and making our first ever International Patient Workshop a reality.  We can’t thank her enough for all she has done for AKU patients and wish her all the best in her future role.