I'm Nicola Ferguson (aka Crazy Cat Shady) and welcome to my crowdfunding campaign. I'm desperately trying to raise the money I need to finish my veterinary degree.
I have already completed three years of study and with your help I can finish the final two and a half years of my degree.I know I can make an absolutely amazing vet and potentially help thousands of animals. To make my dream come true, I need everyone reading this to donate. Whether you can give £1 or £1,000 or just give your love, prayers & best wishes - every little counts and would be very much appreciated.
Clearly I am not 21, slim and gorgeous with a blinding white smile like all the other students launching crowdfunding campaigns. So I have had to do something a little different. Times are hard for everyone, so I thought why not make a parody music video and at least brighten a few folks day and make them smile. I have always admired Eminem and his ability to overcome adversity, so I decided to make an Eminem Parody Music Video - 'Fund Yourself'. And so Crazy Cat Shady was born.......
I didn't initially study for a veterinary degree as my mother was dying of cancer. Instead of leaving home, I stayed with my mother to be her carer and I studied law at the local university. Following my mothers death and after graduation, I went on an adventure sports extravaganza around the world. I then settled down to a life of boredom and frustration in a career I hated. After 10 years I knew I could not spend the next 30 years being desperately unhappy so I sold everything I owned, including my home, and went to follow my dreams. After working for the charity The Donkey Sanctuary I knew that no matter the cost, I had to follow my heart and study to be a vet. So, I packed the cat carrier and my suitcase and all three of us headed to Budapest so I could study for the degree of Dr of Veterinary Medicine.
I didn't initially think I would have to resort to crowdfunding. I was brought up to believe that you work and save up for the things you want in life, and my veterinary degree was no different. I tried to get the money to finish my degree the traditional way by working and saving. Unfortunately this has not worked. As a mature student I cannot get any graduate loans, particularly as my entire family are dead, and therefore I have no guarantor. Crowdfunding is my only and last chance to change my life.
One of the reasons working and saving has not worked, is that I have had a series of disasters. In the last three years I have:
- Had major surgery on my knee. I was even attacked and robbed in broad daylight by five women while I was on crutches;
- I lost my job in August 2014. Since then I have been unemployed;
- My cat Holly was diagnosed with a tumor and chronic kidney disease in August 2014. She has received extensive treatment but if I am honest, I know she is dying. She is currently happy and enjoying life with no discomfort, so all I can do now is to make her final few months happy ones;
- I had to sell my home very cheaply to an investor in order to support myself and the cats while unemployed;
- I applied for over 1000 jobs and spent over £2000 on travelling to interviews (to no avail);
- My cat Poppy was also diagnosed with a tumor in April 2015 and subsequently chronic kidney disease just recently in May 2015. As you can imagine I am devastated that both of my beloved cats are now so very ill;
- Although insured their whole lives, on returning to the UK I could not get Holly and Poppy insured again. The specialist renal treatment and radiotherapy both Holly and Poppy required to save their lives cost me over £5000 (hence the sale of my home);
- I was diagnosed with Aspergers Syndrome in May 2015.
Due to these circumstances I have lost every penny of the money I had worked and saved so hard for, not just in the last three years, but my entire life. I have now been away from my studies almost three years, and I simply cannot take any more time off. Crowdfunding is my only hope.
If this is all a bit much to digest, please watch my video which sets out my predicament.
Where will the money go?
I have two and a half years of my veterinary degree left to complete. If I hit my minimum target, this money will pay for my tuition fees and living expenses FOR ONE YEAR ONLY. It will NOT enable me to complete my veterinary degree as I will have no money to complete the final one and a half years. However I am a very positive person and my plan in this scenario would be to return next year and possibly the year after and do another parody music video and crowdfunding campaign. So for the love of music....... please fund my full target!
Breakdown of minimum target for one year only:
- Tuition fees: £8000;
- Flights (Budapest - UK return for me, Holly and Poppy): £3000
- Living Expenses (14 months@£800 per month): £11,200
- Emergencies: £1000:
- UK resettlement: £1500
- Transaction Fees (3.4% of £24,700): £840
The full target is the money I need to actually finish my veterinary degree and qualify as a veterinary surgeon. It is a lot to ask of you, I know, hence why I have the minimum target too. Reaching my full target means that I can concentrate on my studies knowing that I will be able to afford to finish my degree.
Just to give you a very rough breakdown of costs for my full target:
- Two and a half years of tuition fees: £20,000
- Flights (Budapest - UK return for me, Holly and Poppy): £3000
- Living expenses for just over two and a half years (32 months @ £800 per month): £25,600.
- Emergencies and currency fluctuations, as my fees are paid in Euros: £3000.
- UK resettlement: £1500
- Transaction fees (3.4% of £53,100): £1805
As you can see, it is more cost effective for me to achieve my full target! For both my full and minimum targets I will be living as simply as I can and ideally will be working part time (work from home job offers appreciated!). It just takes one emergency or very bad winter where extra heating is needed for me to be in a very desperate situation. I don't have parents, siblings or any other family whatsoever - I am totally alone, and solely responsible for supporting Holly and Poppy. I have fantastic friends but they have their own lives and I can't expect them to support me. Being totally alone and financially vulnerable while living abroad is incredibly scary. While I was studying last time I had a partial rupture of my ACL ligament in my knee while playing volleyball and I could not even afford crutches. I had to walk and attend dissections and other practical classes in extreme pain. A 5 minute walk took over 30 minutes. I do not want to be in this situation again! This is also why I have included a small sum for both emergencies and resettlement back into the UK. I don't have anyone at all I can stay with, and if I am homeless I will lose Holly and Poppy which just isn't an option for me. This small sum for resettlement means I can put a deposit and one months rent on a flat back in the UK while I look for work.
I don't want to be greedy, but anything raised over and above my full target means I can be like all the other students in my class and just devote myself to studying. No part time work required! These final years are my clinical years so it is important that I have the time I need to really devote myself to my studying and becoming the best veterinary surgeon I can be. I am also passionate about giving my extra time to helping re-home stray dogs and cats and not having to work part time frees up some of my spare time to do this.
The main reward I am offering is a hall of fame on my website where everyone who has donated can see their name for all eternity. Or until the internet becomes obsolete and we all become cyborgs. This is because I put a huge amount of time and effort into the Eminem Parody Music Video, and as I am asking for the very bare minimum of what I need (and I know it is a lot), there is very little to spare. There are a few other little rewards and I would love to keep in touch with all of you via my blog. If you want to donate a larger amount but feel cheated at not having a reward - let me know what reward you would propose. I could for example volunteer at an animal charity of your choice in my vacations/once qualified as a vet, I could thank you personally on Skype or even make another parody music video on a track of your choosing. Just ask!
It's competition time!
Everyone likes a competition! On my website - http://nicola-ferguson.weebly.com/competition I am going to hold a competition every couple of weeks for the duration of my crowdfunding campaign. Its free for everyone to enter. You don't even have to donate to my campaign (though it would be nice!!!). All you have to do is tell me what breed or mix of breeds my first ever dog Puppy is. Isn't she gorgeous? Sadly Puppy is deceased now (RIP Puppy), but I know she wants to help me be the best vet possible. So - what mix of breeds is Puppy? The first closest answer I receive posted on my website page for all to see wins a small prize for either you or your pet.
Find ME here
Please do follow me and see how I am doing. I will be providing updates here as well as regular blog posts on my website - http://nicola-ferguson.weebly.com/ There is loads of information on my site about me and why I so desperately want to be a vet, so do have a look! I also give more information on all of the charity work I enjoy and details of all the wonderful people that have helped me on this project, and who are too many to list on this small page. Please have a read as without them this whole project would have been impossible. In particular a big thanks to the amazing Spot and everyone else at Bengal Cat World for all their love, support and shooting my personal video, Kati Jagel at Jagel Film who is awesome and who shot and edited the music video and the incredibly talented Chris Hughes at Oscillate Studio who recorded, mixed and mastered the track.
Help me succeed!
Clearly the donation of money is a big priority as part of this campaign. However I know times are really hard for many of you. As I said before - virtual hugs, love, prayers, best wishes - they all count and if you can only give that, it is still a massive help and I appreciate it from the bottom of my heart. What will also be vitally important is getting the word out there. This means to everyone - from animals lovers to journalists who could promote the campaign, through to every person that has ever wanted to quit their boring day job and live their life doing something they truly love. It is said the three hardest things to do in life are to (a) say you are sorry; (b) tell someone you love them; and (c) ask for help. I am asking for your help now my friends. If each and every one of you reading right now wrote a personal e-mail to just 5 or 10 of your closest friends, giving them the link and asking them to view this site and watch both my videos and donate to my campaign (and then spread the word themselves) then I know I can achieve my goals. Even if we just get the video out there are spread a bit of happiness and love in the world, my campaign will be well worth it.
So if you can:
- Send a personal e-mail to 5-10 (or more) friends, giving them a link and asking them to come to this site, watch my videos and also to consider helping me;
- Put details of my campaign with a link on your website, Facebook page, Twitter, Blog or Linkedin;
- Tell anyone you meet to look me up! The checkout lady at the supermarket, the A list celebrity millionaire you are dating. Everyone! Tell your mum on the phone when you speak to her this evening! Please mention this site - Hubbub.net as there are loads of people called Nicola Ferguson (the cheek!) on Google, so make me easy to find; and
- If you need any posters or flyers you could put up in your local shops, veterinary clinic etc contact me on my website and I will send you some. This would be an amazing help!
That's all for now. Thank you for your time and generosity and please keep in touch with me via my website - http://nicola-ferguson.weebly.com/ either as a comment in my blog once it is up and running, or via the contact form - http://nicola-ferguson.weebly.com/contact.html I look forward to speaking to you soon!