Charity Cupcake Challenge


So, you’re interested in my charity cupcake challenge… What do you have to do to win this fabulous beaded cupcake? Well, it’s very simple…

Cupcake Beaded Box Pattern, Katie Dean, BeadflowersI’m afraid the Cupcake challenge has now finished. So the winner was an anonymous donor. The cupcake prize was made from 6,000 beads. Nobody actually guessed the right number, but the winning entry came pretty close!

However, if you support this cause, the fundraising is continuing. So, you can still help… Follow this link, make your donation.

You will be contributing to a vital campaign to carry out clinical research into CFS/ME. This is a debilitating illness that is estimated to affect up to 2.8% of the world’s population. There is no cure and patients are frequently dismissed and ignored. I’m supporting it because I am one of those patients. This treatment is working for me and I want others to have the opportunity to try it.

I spent my fund-raising month blogging to raise awareness of CFS/ME. So read the blog posts here:

And if my blogs don’t help, then watch this video.

Why am I doing the charity cupcake challenge?

There’s a long story and a short story in answer to that question. So, let me go with the short story…

Fifteen years ago I became seriously ill. I was off work completely for five years. I spent a long time bed bound and even longer housebound. My life changed completely and ended up taking a radically different course from anything I had imagined.

I did make a partial recovery, a process that took ten years. But, I’ve never managed to return to working full-time and had to give up my career.

In 2012, I started up this website. Then, I gradually built up a bead teaching practice. In 2014, I took on the editorship of Bead and Jewellery Magazine. I also became a guest designer on Jewellery Maker TV. I thought I was managing the illness well and juggling all these part-time commitments, but…

…then I began to deteriorate again and relapsed completely once more – that was 18 months ago. So, I had to give up the teaching practice and the editing. Currently, that leaves me doing what I can on this website.

Happily, I am now trudging along the recovery path once again. But it’s a long and slow road. Eighteen months on and I still have no idea when I will get back to my previous ‘best’, let alone recover.

This time around I have some help.


So, for those of you who don’t already know me, the illness I have is called ME, also known as CFS (Chronic Fatigue Syndrome). It is utterly debilitating and, contrary to it’s name, is far, far worse than just tiredness.

I don’t know what caused it and there isn’t a cure available yet. In fact, there is desperately little research into it, considering the number of people who are diagnosed with it (millions worldwide).

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What we do know is that it affects several key systems in the body, so they struggle to work effectively. These include the immune system, the digestive system, the central nervous system and the endocrine system. Any treatments on offer are simply aimed at alleviating and managing the symptoms that result from this systemic malfunction.

If you want to know more, I wrote a little about my diagnosis a few months ago, so you can read the blog here.

The Clinic Helping me

So, since May 2017, I have been receiving treatment from the Optimum Health Clinic. I will leave you to follow that link (it opens in a new tab) if you want more details about them. Basically, the clinic was set up by someone who had ME for seven years and managed to recover. They have helped thousands of patients worldwide and some do see complete recovery.

A little while back, the clinic embarked upon a clinical trial. They are aiming to prove the viability of their treatment protocol. Ultimately, they want to have it made available through the NHS. Currently it is only available privately and it is pretty expensive. So, given that many sufferers are unemployed and State benefits aren’t that easy to get with this illness, private treatment is simply not an option for a lot of people. Typically, health insurance policies will not cover this condition.

That is why it is so critical to make sure this trial goes ahead. Plus, the trial is part of a wider commitment by the clinic to providing answers about this illness.

For the next part of the trial, the clinic needs to raise £50,000.

Why I need your help too

So, in a moment of temporary insanity or generosity or something, I dreamt up my charity cupcake challenge. I pledged to try and raise £1,000 for the clinic.

As I sit here typing that, I really am thinking that the ME may have addled my brain. I fear I could be a little over-ambitious in thinking I can raise £1,000 from £2 donations.

But, when I was planning this, I thought £2 wasn’t much to ask. I think it’s a sum that most people can afford. So, this isn’t about one big act of generosity, it’s about lots of individuals coming together to achieve something greater. Much like my beaded cupcake…lots of little beads joining to create a beautiful whole.

Why the cupcake?

I’m sure I could have done loads of things to raise £1,000. So, why the charity cupcake challenge idea?

Well, when I said that this illness changed my life in ways I couldn’t imagine, not all of them were bad. If it weren’t for the ME, I would probably never have started beading.

Since the beading came about as a direct result of the ME, it felt right to use beading to help the cause.

Then, I like to see this as a quirky little twist on the traditional charity cake sale. One of the ways in which I and many others keep our ME symptoms under control (or not!) is by eating a particular diet. It often feels as though this is about giving up a lot of foods that most people would regard as staples. Key among them is sugar. So, no real cakes for me any more!

Since an ME charity cupcake challenge can’t involve eating cupcakes, I thought why not use the beaded variety instead?

So, you see, there is method to my madness and it all links in rather nicely, I think.

What will you get out of this?

Well, the charity cupcake challenge is going to be running for the whole of November 2017. So, I’m aiming to get as many people enter as possible.Cupcake Beaded Box Pattern, Katie Dean, Beadflowers

As I said at the beginning, you just need to guess how many beads it took to make my cupcake. When the challenge closes at the end of the month, I will announce the winner. This person will be whoever guesses closest to the actual answer.

If I have more than one correct entry, I will randomly pick the winner from those correct entries. You can enter and donate as many times as you like.

The winner will receive my actual cupcake. This is a total one-off piece of bead art (I have even marked it specially so it is absolutely unique). It is only a tiny bit smaller than an actual cupcake. And, in case you hadn’t realised, it is not only an ornament, but also a little box. So, it has a decent storage capacity for a few sweet treats or secret stash…

I poured around 10 hours of love and skilled labour into making this. The materials (beads and thread) cost about £38. So, I’m not sure what value you would put on that. But £2 is a complete bargain for whoever is lucky enough to win.

So, good luck! Once again, here is the link to enter the charity cupcake challenge. Thank you very much.