Connors Charity Build Event For Narcolepsy UK
In early 2012, Connor and I (John) began work on a simple project, the aim was to assemble a basic PC from unused parts we had in storage. Connors desire was to build a customised system. We posted a forum build log,(Like a blog) the feedback was phenomenal. What began as a spare time project, soon became a unique PC. Praise, donations of custom work and PC Parts started to roll in.
At the end of the build, Connor shared his wish to raise awareness of his conditions Narcolepsy & Cataplexy. He initially offered to sell his custom built PC and donate the funds directly to charity.
I was touched and so proud of what he wanted to do. We couldn’t allow him to sell something he had made, it was too special. We discussed the idea of a sponsored build.. At the time I feared the idea would not become reality, I had no contacts or any plans. Connor decided right at the start he wanted it to be a donate to enter raffle event.
We reached out with Connors wish. The responses that came back were overwhelming and a 6 month Journey began,
I spent some time researching sponsored builds; We never approached anyone with a wish list, only their request for help. I did also contact a unique company that specialized in custom parts and modifications.
In earlier discussions with Connor, he expressed his desire to do things I wasn’t sure we could with our skill set. Pulse Modding responded and offered to support us if they could. They would prove to be an essential part of the project.
A week or so later Sapphire Tech Club also responded with their offer of a GPU, An AMD 7700 1Ghz Edition. Things were really started to take shape. I began to feel like this could really work
Our next reply came from Antec, We set up a Skype call and the outcome left me speechless. We were offered a Case, Water Cooler and Power Supply. This was a huge moment and we were so pleased.
Fractal Design replied and left us lost for words. They offered us the chance to pick any case from their current range. Connor spent some time deciding what to do. We had three choices at the time,
1. Take the offer and use the item as a runner-up prize in the event,
2. Take the offer and hope we could source more help and build two computers.
3. Refuse the offer and focus on one build.
We went for option 1, at that point in time we had no idea how big the event would become. To our surprise, an additional offer for a Power supply and fans was made too.
I was in difficult position. I knew the event would need as much attention as possible in order to be a success. I couldn’t at the time however tell our audience, what would be the main prize.With still so much to sort out, I decided to start publishing the build logs in the form of a blog, frequently updating, what we did have at the time and future plans.
There was long periods of time going by and I had no news to share, things had gone stale. It was around eight weeks since we launched the Facebook page, things we’re not looking good. Several “No Thank You” Mails began to arrive. I began to fear we had made a mistake and I had let the great start mislead me and more importantly Connor.
I prepared myself to tell Connor the project may not be what he hoped for, or at least it would have to be something smaller. Three significant emails arrived in one day, that reignited hope in the project,
SteelSeries offered peripherals, Keyboard: 6Gv2, Mouse – Xai,Headset – Siberia v2
Overclockers UK & Gigabyte UK
sponsored a B75M-D3H Motherboard
Kingston Technology Europe sponsored a 120GB HyperX SSD and 8GB HyperX Memory lit. We were back on course and only required a CPU to complete the build.
Connor had finalized his designs for the build; we posted a brief overview of what he had planned. Just as Connor began work on the case modifications, a snowball offers came pouring in, The event was becoming more popular and so much bigger than we anticipated.
Noctua made an offer to supply all fans for the build, Our local media approached us and requested and interview.
Corsair sponsored a Hydro H80 watercooler & 120GB Force GT SSD
Crucial Memory sponsored 16gb DDR3 Ram
At this point we opened up the raffle entry page, we felt confident there were enough parts secured for one build and several runner-up prizes. As time progressed in June the amount of support just kept growing…
Only a few days past and ECS donated a Z77H2-A2X golden board
Coolermaster offered their support, we explained our situation, we already had so many prizes at hand, and despite this they still insisted they send some kit over. UPS struggled up to our house with a Cosmos II chassis and Silent Pro Hybrid PSU
As we approached the end of the month, our local media published Connor story.
At that point in time, a huge £709.88 had been raised for the charity
After the previous months been a massive success, we assumed all the support had peaked; surely this couldn’t be more epic? We did not for a second believe more help was on its way. Once again over a 24 hour period, the following was donated. A Retailer Novatech sent over an optical drive for the build
Zotac donated a Nvidia 560ti Amp Edition
Intel donated a CPU, an i5 3570k.
Shakmods sent over enough custom sleeved cables for two builds.
TMB Create sent two unique pieces that would not be revealed until a later date…
CandCCentral donated a 240mm Fan Grille, which was installed at the same time Pulse modding cut the window.
A paint manufacturer came to our aid, Connor had been having some issues with the custom paint work, Plastikote sent over enough paint to correct the mistakes and get it done right.
As with Cooler master, Patriot Memory sent over additional kit to be used as runner-up prizes.
To say we were overwhelmed was an understatement, tears of joy from us all where shed, it was another magical moment that shook us to our very core.
A week past and XFX ran a GPU giveaway with us to promote Connors Facebook page, the results where staggering. We set a target and assumed it may take a week or two…we were shocked when the target was achieved within hours of going live…
At this time, everything was happening so quick; parts were piling up, two builds was looking sure to happen, with amount of kit we had at hand. The area we had struggled with since the beginning was support with a CPU for one of the builds. We had finical issues and made a choice to add a low-end CPU.
The month ended with another unforgettable milestone. A group named TeamOcUK would come to our aid. One member in particular “Biffa” had been following our build log, he approached Team OcUK with his plan to raise some funds and donate a CPU to Connor.
His initial target was smashed as support came fast, they raised enough to purchase and donate an i7-2600k CPU. It was a game-changing moment and we were so overjoyed, they saved the project. I was able to relax for the first time in months, it had been worrying me for some time, and Connor was becoming aware of that.
By the end of the month, a massive £913.38 had been raised.
The kit was all here at home, the stress and worries were gone, Connor and I had been in regular contact with Pulse modding, We initially requested one of two options. A window Cut (We did not have the tools required) or something unique…A motherboard cover. To our surprise and delight Pulse did both!
Some additional hardware from Logitech was sent over, As the main prize was now shaping up to be a high-end PC, the components they sent were a perfect match …G510 Keyboard, G700 Gaming Mouse, G35 Headset, G13 Gameboard
Everything was going well with only a few weeks left until the raffle was set to be drawn. Sadly Connor’s health deteriorated, meaning he was unable to do any more work His younger sister pitched in and did some required jobs
We made the difficult decision to extend the raffle. It was unfair seeing Connor frustrated and upset. It had been a fun experience and us as parents were determined to make sure it ended that way too.
We had the honour of being approached to do another interview about the builds. We also had a windows 7 Licence donated from one of our followers “ Robbie Gosset” Sadly we had a mishap with the custom window Connor had been working on for some time. With little time and no materials left. Our good friends from TMB Create cut a custom panel and it was swiftly sent out and installed.
Connor’s Grandmother ran a local event in our hometown in order to raise more funds. The event was success bringing the total raised to £1,500
The month of September was spent promoting, we used the following images to promote the event
The images were shared by so many followers, bringing in many donations, some of the sponsors involved shared via Twitter & Facebook. Because of the numbers of “Likes” & Followers they have, the impact was huge; donations would improve dramatically.
Sadly some sponsors would have to remove the image from their pages, due to trolling, many, many hurtful comments would be posted. I even had to request one company to remove the image from their Facebook wall.
The good guys over at Galaxy Tech sent over a Graphics card, it was used to celebrate reaching the target of £1500, one lucky donator Nathan Mitchell was awarded the card.
Some other memorable moment was achieving over 27,000 unique views on Connors Build logs [now about 75k]
Despite the constant excitement as the raffle date approached, negativity, abuse and harassment were a constant issue throughout the event, as the end neared the level of hate and hurtful comments increased. I made the decision in an attempt to end all doubt.
We searched for a celebrity or known figure to pick the winners, this would eliminate all doubt about the event being “fixed” we initially hit the wall and it seemed we would not find anyone suitable.
Thankfully Steven Harmison came to our aid, An Ex-England cricket player and brother Ben attended a local venue and with Connor picked the winners randomly. Photos were taken and links to his Twitter account provided. Sadly despite our best efforts the hurtful comments and message kept coming. Naturally, as Connors father I shielded him and never let him see them.
The winners were contacted and shipment arranged, we received a call from the Charity thanking and congratulating Connor for his achievements.
Connor had already been planning his next venture as the event drew to a close. He asked me to contact the sponsors with his request to review products.We didn’t need to, as the offers came to him first! It’s something he wanted to do during the event but with time restraint’s it was never possible.
As with the even,t the feedback was positive and since launching Geeteck [now Techicize], we had lots planned for the future. It would be wrong and arrogant of me to assume there will be more builds. That’s not to say Connor doesn’t want too. We just don’t take for granted what these sponsors have already helped Connor achieve.
I think it fair to say…We hope there’s more to come.
Final Amount Raised