Cambridge Big MAC appeal raises over £20,000 for charity

The Big May Ball Appeal for Coronavirus launched four weeks ago

Four weeks ago, the Big May Ball Appeal for Coronavirus (the Big MAC Appeal) was launched in Cambridge, asking all May Ball ticket holders to consider donating a portion of their refund to the appeal to help tackle COVID-19.

As of 25th April 2020, the appeal has raised over £20,000.

The Big MAC appeal will be giving this money to Addenbrooke’s Charitable Trust and The Cambridge Centre for the Study of Existential Research (CSER). Whilst Addenbrooke’s is focusing on dealing with the here and now of the pandemic by treating those currently infected, CSER is conducting research into how we can prevent future pandemics.

More specifically, Addenbrooke’s will be using the money raised by the Big MAC Appeal to provide support that “goes above and beyond what the NHS provides, including counselling, new diagnostic tests and retreats for staff.” Meanwhile, CSER “has a track record of engaging with policy-makers and donations will go towards research into future pandemics.”

The two co-founders urged students to keep donating. Jade Charles (Magdalene, 4th year MML) and Zehn Mehmood (Queens, 4th year Chemical Engineering) told The Cambridge Tab: “We are really pleased with how many people have joined the campaign and how well it has been received by all May Balls and June Events.

“Thank you to everyone who has donated so far and shout out to the extremely generous Trinity ticket holder who donated the entirety of his double at £430. We hope more students get involved to help support such a current and important cause while they can.

“This Easter ‘term’ will go down in history but let’s also remember it by setting a positive legacy by coming coming together as students to make something good out of a difficult time.”

The University’s Vice-Chancellor, Stephen Toope, recently endorsed the appeal, calling it “a commendable example of our students turning a setback into a tangible opportunity to contribute to society.”

Jade and Zehn have also released a video on Cambridge University’s social media platforms to encourage donations to continue.

The Big MAC Appeal has also created an online calculator through which students can work out the total amount of money they have saved per week in isolation, according to how much you would typically spend a week on VKs, pub visits, formals, and other factors.

The Big MAC calculator function

Ball ticket holders can donate either through bespoke refund forms which they will be sent by the relevant May Ball committee. Anyone, including non-ticket holders, can donate via Fixr or Cambridge RAG. You can also donate via the Big MAC website.

The appeal will last until the end of May Week (19 June).