Spread Some Happiness

Of the many wonderful fund-raising initiatives, the one closest to my heart is the ‘spread some happiness’ book series.

The invaluable experience I gained through working with Thames & Hudson and my absolute love of inspirational, empowering books, made this a natural fit in my fundraising efforts. The first book is going to be sold in my son’s school this week. Parents get a precious, heartwarming, keepsake and we get to give all profits to our chosen charities, so everyone is happy! I plan to roll a series out nationally, so if you want to get involved with the project in your school, do get in touch.

The first book was produced with work by the boys of Wetherby Prep; my son’s school. In fact, it was my son, who stood up in assembly, along with a very suporative teacher, to encourage the boys to spread happiness. He spoke of losing his sister and how he wanted to continue her goodness living on. He spoke of the value of giving and

Fundraising

May

My dear, life-long friend Sonia; we were born at the same hospital within a month of each others and our mothers have known each other since the fifties.  Sonia now lives I Kuwait but it did not stop her lending her support.  She held a lunch at her home and invited friends to pay for the pleasure. In doing so she raised £1,500 for Milli On and On and I hear some wonderful pledges were made to make life richer and happier.

Milli’s dear friends Maia and Hannah held a cake sale in school.  Mirium – Hannah’s mum and my friend makes legendary truffles and named them Milli’s truffles, selling them at the cake sale with pretty pink ribbon, label and fancy wrapping.  Mills would have devoured these truffles, not to mention the pink cupcakes.  She could have written a book on cupcakes and her favorite were from The Hummingbird, but as Milli once commented, their icing is better and The Cupcake Store’s sponge is better.  On one of our cake making sessions we mused that it would be fun to open a cake mix shop, where people would get little bowls and pink serving spoons from which scoop out the mixture and just eat the mix; the best bit!  So, back to reality. The girls managed to raise £400 for GOSH.

Happiness promises

Be inspired by some of the wonderful happiness promises received so far:
What will you do to make a difference?

“I have planted herbs in pots that sit in my kitchen. I call them Milli’s herbs and enjoying watching them grow everyday”.

“Our family of four, will work in a soup kitchen on Christmas Day”.

“I will write to tell those that matter how much I love them and why”.

“as a family we will show daily gratitude with a hug, a word or a token of appreciation for one another”.

“We pledge to grow a pink rose bush in our garden and think of Milli’s giggle as we watch it grow”.

“I promise to put down my mobile when I am with my children”.

“I promise to let mummy and daddy have a long sleep on Saturday Mornings by sleeping in myself”.

“I pledge to hold a fundraising event for Milli On and On for the every year for the next six years”.

“dear Milli, you always said I talked too much, so I promise to have 30 minutes silence, twice a week”.

“I will wear something pink and remember to dance and sing, every Monday”.

Magical Milli

Mills was an extraordinary girl, who lived so full; always in the moment, who giggled so freely, felt so deeply and loved so generously. Here are some of the beautiful musings, pictures and memories as shared by friends and family.

Milli lived with illness, yet has never shown a want of valour.  Let that then be her living legacy to us.  To be brave, to be honest, to face all and not flinch; to love without reservation and to be unimaginably beautiful, in heart and in soul.

Chosen charities: Rays of Sunshine

Link to charity: http://www.justgiving.com/roscc
Target £5,000
Achieved £5,640

Rays of Sunshine make darker days a little lighter for terminally ill children by making their wishes come true. In the case of Milli, she wanted to go to see the Wizard of Oz in the West End. We were fortunate in that we could have just arranged this but when there is so much else going on emotionally, it is such a relief to have someone do it all for you. We have reached our target for Rays of Sunshine but if this is close to your heart, keep giving.

Chosen Charities: Kids Company

We want to raise £100,000 for the Kids Company’s Plate Pledge. It is difficult enough that children should go unloved and uncared for but to not have the means for a decent meal makes it so much harder. Mills was passionate about cooking and when we discussed which charities we wanted to raise money for, she was clear that Kids Company should be one. Their plate pledge is both fitting and vital.

Link to charity: http://www.justgiving.com/millionandonkc/

Every day at Kids Company we offer loving care to vulnerable children who have been neglected or abused. Many of the children they support report they don’t have enough to eat as figures below:

64% reported going to bed feeling hungry because there’s no food in their house
32% don’t get to eat breakfast
85% rely on Kids Company for their evening meal

To address these problems, Kids Company have launched the PLATE PLEDGE, a national appeal that is raising awareness of this growing problem whilst helping to provide meals for over 2000 children a week throughout Kids Company’s street level centres and via outreach work with families in need. The Plate Pledge appeal is also raising funds to expand Kids Company’s therapeutic school cookery workshops with disadvantaged and maltreated children. This is a vital part of Kids Company’s unique service that offers personalised practical support and loving care to every child for as long as they need it.

Kids Company is working to address the issues of child hunger and malnutrition together with national charities such as The School Food Trust – a specialist advisor to the Government on school meals and children’s food, FareShare – The Uk’s largest food supply organisation for the vulnerable and needy and The Trussell Trust, the UK’s largest food bank operator feeding over 100,000 people a year.

The Plate Pledge was launched on April 5th 2012 through investigative features in the Evening Standard, The Independent, BBC London TV and Radio and The Sunday Mirror. Supporters can visit the Plate Pledge website; pledge meals from a minimum donation of £2 and then share a plate pledge icon created by children at Kids Company through Facebook, Twitter and Email. Friends, family and colleagues can then pledge their support and
help provide daily hot meals.

According to a recent government review, compared with people living elsewhere in England, people living in inner London boroughs, where Kids Company operates, are significantly worse off in crucial health and social determinants, including:

• Shorter life expectancies
• More people living in households that receive means-tested benefits
• More young people (16-25 yrs) not in employment, education or
training
• Fewer children achieving a good level of development at age 5

Food is a child’s undeniable basic need
Without Kids Company’s practical support most of our children would go hungry, with serious consequences for their physical and emotional development.

The 2000 extremely vulnerable children who rely on Kids Company each and every week would be forced to survive their childhoods hungry and alone were it not for the kindness of strangers who make our work possible. With your help our Plate Pledge appeal will ensure Kids Company can continue to feed vulnerable children and raise vital awareness of the inequality and deprivation that is compounding the misery of maltreatment for thousands of lone children who are surviving their childhoods in silence.

Chosen Charities: GOSH

We want raise £128,000 to support Great Ormond Street’s vital research into better understanding why tumours like Milli’s are fatal and what can be done for better access and combat these diseases in children.

Lead researcher: Darren Hargrave – Consultant Paediatric Oncologist, Haemotology & Oncology & Lead for Experimental Cancer Therapeutics programme

Duration: 36 months

Total cost: £128,148

Link to charity: http://www.justgiving.com/millionandongosh/

Darren Hargrave’s work focuses on tumours that are currently very hard to treat, such as gliomas, and other forms of drug-resistant cancer. He is looking at ways to improve how we assess and combat these diseases in children. Specifically, he is developing more accurate imaging techniques using nuclear medicine (a special form of scanning) to develop further understanding of the tumours and how they respond to treatment. Ultimately he aims to ensure that new anti-cancer therapies are introduced more rapidly into the mainstream care of young cancer patients.

What has been a highlight of the research you have carried out to date?

Before coming to GOSH, I led the development of four international clinical trials of new treatments for children with rare and high-risk forms of cancer. My specialism is brain tumours that are currently very hard to treat, such as gliomas, and other forms of drug-resistant cancer, looking at ways to improve how we assess and combat these diseases in children.

What impact has this research had on patients?

These studies have helped to establish new standards of care for children with central nervous system and brain tumours across Europe, including GOSH. The current glioma study we’re running is the largest ever, and is being conducted in 15 countries (over 70 institutions). Already we are discovering vital information on the genetics of the disease, and how to improve our scans and treatments as a result.

What are you trying to do now?

We want to use nuclear medicine scans (which help assess metabolism, blood flow and proliferation rates of tumours) in combination with the latest forms of CT and MRI scans, to pinpoint how well our cancer treatments are working. We also want to learn more about the exact biology of rare tumours – how they feed, grow and spread – to target further new treatments.

Why are you doing it?

Despite advances in paediatric cancer, after accidents, it remains the leading cause of UK childhood deaths. GOSH sees more children with rare tumours than any other centre in the UK. However many of these cancers have mortality rates of over 60%. To help these children, it is vital we introduce new anti-cancer therapies and more refined tests to improve the accuracy and effects of these therapies in combatting tumour growth.

How will this research make a difference to children?

This research programme will allow children with cancer at GOSH (and throughout the UK) to have access to the latest anti-cancer therapies. By developing more accurate imaging techniques using nuclear medicine, we can also ensure these new anti-cancer therapies are introduced more rapidly into mainstream care in an under-researched and urgent area of paediatric medicine.