Topless stunt nets funds for MS

Dominic Wood

A woman with multiple sclerosis has so far raised £1,350 for the MS Resource Centre by appearing topless on a specially created website.

Victoria Blenkins, 34, from Glastonbury, was photographed topless by her partner Randy Stack for the site, www.vixpix.org.

The 'Vix Pix - Tits Out For Multiple Sclerosis' appeal site has received 1.8 million hits from nearly 119,000 visitors since it went live on 1 January.

Blenkins, who was diagnosed with the condition six years ago, said: "The idea came after I had flashed my tits in a pub for a £10 donation to the MS Society."

Stack added: "We originally named the MS Society as the beneficiary on our fundraising page on justgiving.com. But after our site went live, the head of the MS Resource Centre corresponded with Vix and negotiated with her to partner with them instead."

Lawrence Wood, the resource centre's chief executive, said the current total would pay for one tenth of this year's counselling services. "The money is important to us, but even more so is the vast awareness this site has created - easily the most in our history."

The charity put a banner ad on its own website that carried a link to the Vix Pix site. But last Thursday, after two weeks, it removed the ad following complaints from three of its fundraisers over the use of the word 'tits'.

The charity kept the link, but replaced the ad with a warning that the material might not suit all tastes. Wood described his decision as a "good-mannered response" to the complaints, but pointed out: "I can't see how anyone can be offended by these pictures in 2004. I wouldn't even have a problem if it was my daughter because you see far more on the beach these days.

"I'm far more concerned with raising positive profiles of life-affirming people with MS to inspire others with the disease, than I am about our corporate image."

More than 70 of the site's 90 donors have chosen to remain anonymous.

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