Leukaemia, The Little Princess Trust and #HairtoSpare

Donating hair

It’s been a very busy month, the full-time position is full on and every moment is precious these days, hence not so much going on in Mari’s World blog. We have also had bad news in the family, my cousin’s 16-year-old daughter has been diagnosed with leukaemia in mid-January. This was a huge blow to her, in the midst of studying for her GCSEs and plans to go on a be a journalist. It has shocked everyone around her and once the shock starts to fade, then your thoughts turn to what can I do?

Fundraising is the biggest and easiest task to take on and Alice declared she wanted to cut her hair to donate it to the Little Princess Trust so they could make a wig for a child suffering from hair loss thanks to chemotherapy.

How to donate your hair

Before hair cut

  • Your hair must be washed and completely dried.
  • Separate your hair into smaller plaits as they are easier to cut
  • Tie with a rubber band at the top of the plait
  • Plait and hold with another rubber band at the bottom
  • Cut hair and place in a clean plastic bag
  • Post to The Little Princess Trust – Little Princess Trust, Aderans UK, Unit B4, Dolphin Way, Shoreham-By-Sea, BN43 6NZ, (UK)

Why Alice decided to donate her hair

Just Giving fundraising page

Our first step was to set up a Just Giving fundraising page and luckily we were able to create it so every penny went directly into The Little Princess Trust pot, that saved us from having to collect money from sponsors and pass it on which can get confusing if you are not organised. You can see Alice’s Just Giving page here.

Alice Weekes donating hair

The haircut

Preparing for hair donation

Your hairdresser may well have done this before but it’s always best to go prepared with some rubber bands and a plastic bag anyway. Alice enjoyed the process as much as the final haircut and I made sure I took photos of her so we could use them on our Just Giving page.

The fundraising

cutting the hair

Once we got home and had eaten we took some more After photos and set about fundraising. Facebook was our first port of call as it is where I have most of my conversations and am most well connected with friends, family and acquaintances. Alice was very excited to see the funds come in and was constantly asking me throughout the day how much we had reached.

How much to raise

hair cut

We set our sights high – £500.

We discovered it costs the Little Princess Trust between £350 – 500 to make one wig and they are donated free to all children who have lost their hair through cancer treatment. It was a huge ask of our family and friends but we hoped with Alice’s kind gesture people would take heart.

They did and by the end of Saturday, we had reached £420.00!

We put a reminder up on Sunday morning and reached £490.00 by lunchtime.

By 3 pm on Sunday we had reached her goal and now, because we are a competitive lot, we want to see if we can get anywhere near sponsoring a second wig?

Can you help?

donating hair


Before I sign off, I wanted to share some facts that I found on the Clic Sargent website that are a reminder of how it can happen to anyone at any time and how we need to keep raising awareness.

Clic Sargent Young Lives VS Cancer

When cancer strikes young lives, CLIC Sargent helps families limit the damage cancer causes beyond their health. We provide expert support, to help and guide each young cancer patient and their family. We will fight tirelessly for them, individually, locally and nationally, so that they can focus on the important things, like getting well.

  • Today, 11 more children and young people will hear the devastating news they have cancer.
  • Every year in the UK around 3,600 children and young people under 25 are diagnosed with cancer. Around 2,000 are aged 16 to 24-years-old
  • Although eight in 10 will survive cancer, it is still the leading cause of death from a single disease among children and young people in the UK
  • It is estimated there are 10,000 survivors of childhood cancer aged 24 and under living in the UK. Around 30% of survivors have a chronic health condition and a further 30% have another ongoing health-related problem.
  • The type of cancer and its treatment varies for each child or young person, but treatment normally starts straightaway and can last up to three years
  • CLIC Sargent research has found that children and young people with cancer travel an average of 60 miles, up to five times a week, for hospital treatment (A long way from home, 2010, research focused on 0 to 18- year-olds)
  • Two in three parents surveyed by CLIC Sargent said they had built up debt to make ends meet as a result of their child’s cancer. More than one in four had borrowed over £2,000. Two in three parents surveyed experienced a loss of earnings and three in five parents said they had to reduce the number of hours they worked. (Counting the costs of cancer, 2011)
  • CLIC Sargent research shows that two-thirds of 16 to 18-year-olds fall behind with their education as a result of cancer and its treatment (More than my illness, 2010)
  • Half of young people surveyed by CLIC Sargent said they had to borrow money as a result of their cancer with more than 17% borrowing over £1,000 and 6% borrowing over £2,000. (Counting the costs of cancer, 2011)
  • Parent’s spent an average of £600 a month in additional expenses during their child’s treatment (Cancer Costs, 2016)
  • Over half of young people (52%) and almost half of parents (49%) visited their GP at least three times before their cancer was diagnosed (Best chance from the start, 2016

Alice Weekes hair cut

Will you be a superhero for Breast Cancer?

The 26th October is wear it pink day I heard about the Breast Cancer Campaign Wear it Pink takeover of the Batman premier a couple of weeks ago and have been meaning to write ever since.

WIP Batman

As you know breast cancer is close to my heart, Paul lost his mum in 2007 to it and my mum fought it and won last year. I’ve recently heard of an internet friend who is also currently battling the disease, she’s younger than me with children the same age as the girls and I am willing her to zap it with every fibre of my body.

The Wear It Pink day is simple as the title suggests and here’s a little more info on the subject –

We hope to turn the UK pink on Friday 26 October and are encouraging people to be a superhero – all in the name of breast cancer research. Wear It Pink, supported by Vanish, is in its 10th year and we want everyone to pull on something pink and donate £2. Everyone who joins the fight is a superhero, from those affected by breast cancer to our scientists and all our amazing fundraisers who wear it pink. 
WIP Batman
Do you think you can do that? Wear a pink superhero mask and donate £2.00? Please share this post on Facebook with your friends and spread the message far and wide
WIP Batman

When children get cancer

Pudsey BearIt shouldn’t be allowed should it? That our tiny ones get cancer and turn our worlds upside down. I think it’s every parent’s worst nightmare and one we gladly push from our mind and swiftly turn our dark thoughts to something brighter but when news arrives that a child in your local community has been struck down, well it makes you stop and think.

It makes you look up to the sky and thank the Heavens that it isn’t you, you hug your children closer and count your blessings praying that it will never be you that has to deal with such an experience.

Two days ago I was invited to a local community party P for Party! It’s a fundraising event for toddlers. There will be plenty of their favourite characters there to play with them Peppa Pig, Peter Rabbit, Pudsey Bear, there will be face painters, entertainers and lots of fun things to do all we have to do is dress up in something beginning with P (Princesses in our case), take a picnic and pay our £5 ticket per child.

Fun you may think and well yes, it is going to be a lot of fun but it’s to raise money for a little 2 year old in our community. He’s got Rhabdomyasarcoma Cancer Fewer than 60 children are diagnosed with this form of cancer in the UK each year, rhabdomyasarcoma is the most common of the soft tissue sarcomas in children quoted from the Macmillan cancer site.

This little boy (who I won’t name as I haven’t spoken directly with the parents yet) has a tumour the size of a large bar of soap. He is already undergoing chemotherapy but he needs a very special Proton Radio Therapy that is only available right now in the United States of America. So his family will be flying over to the States for 3 months in July.

We have a wonderful lady in our community Clare, she organises lots of events all raising money for various charities, we went to her Pudsey Bear event a while back if you remember? Well she’s throwing P is for Party to raise funds for the family so they can go to the States without having to worry about bills and concentrate all their energy on their sons treatment. Everyone wants him to get better.

Can you help? Yes.

If you are a PR or marketing manager, I am kindly asking for any of your products that you can spare, Clare will be organising a Spring Ball amongst other events and we shall sell raffle tickets for any products received. I will also name your products here on Mari’s World with your preferred links on a special designated post to thank you personally for your kindness. ANY products will be gratefully received, TOYS, books, clothes, household items, beauty products ANYTHING

Are you a blogger/Tweeter? You can help by getting this message out there even further, a simple Facebook like, a share on Facebook and a Tweet or a RT goes a long long way in getting the message out there, any help will be most gratefully received.

Are you touched by this story? Would you like to donate something towards the fund? Please leave a comment below. I need to contact Clare to see if there is a Just Giving page set up and if there is I will get right back to you via your email address (which is never made public but I can see it) with details once I have confirmation.

Are you a regular reader? Below the post is a range of buttons for you to share this post to STUMBLE UPON please, it will spread the message like wildfire and that’s what I need, you may have to sign up if it’s your first Stumble but it doesn’t take too long and you can find some excellent stuff on there.

Like Mari’s World on Facebook and be kept up to date with all the (hopefully lots) products rolling in to raise money for this family and please don’t hesitate to contact me for any information mari (at) marisworld (dot) co (dot) uk

I hope to speak to the family one day but right now they’re struggling to come to terms with their situation so I have to ask your trust on this one until that time arises.

I’m linking this up to Nickie’s Typecast Clic Sargent Do Something Yummy under prompt 2 Do you have experience of childhood cancer?

Beating cancer back into its place

wearing a wig during cancer

Mum’s wig which I think looks lovely

Last time I spoke of mum’s cancer and her battle to zap it was back in July just as she was due her first session of Chemotherapy, well yesterday she underwent her 4th session and I always call her during the day as it’s such a long and boring day for her. Yesterday was no different but I had a very tearful mum on the other end of the phone which just goes to prove that you can have enough of something, you can get to a point and say,

‘That’s it! I’m done with this. I don’t care anymore as this is too much for me to take anymore.’

I think life presents many issues that we have to struggle with and I for one have arrived at this point before. Drawing the line and saying I’m done, I can’t go on any more and I imagine going through the chemo battle is no different.

I’ve told you how strong-willed mum is how determined and what an optimistic person she is and she has been an ox up until now, soldiering on and battling the supposed wretched cells that could be in her body but nobody can say for sure.

Straight after her first session, she was well for a couple of days and then was hit with the dreaded nausea and listlessness, an overall feeling of sickness. That past and as she started to feel better she’d wake in the morning to find her pillow covered in clumps of hair that had come away during her sleep. This was her first low point. Like hundreds of women around the country going through the same experience, losing her hair was a major heartbreaking moment. It was a nasty knock to her confidence and she called on her friend asking her to shave the whole lot off in one go rather than wait for it to drop out. Fortunately her local hospital had already foreseen this and had sent her to the wigmaker. She had a beautiful wig to wear that she was already used to too.

Still this didn’t stop the tears as she looked at herself in the mirror, she confessed to me that she couldn’t look at herself anymore, and I imagine not looking is easier.

Oana taking a photo of Rosie taking a photo of me and my mum!

Three weeks later to the day she’d be back in the hospital at 8am in the morning and would spend the whole day whilst her system was flushed with a saline solution in preparation for the next drip feed of chemo, followed by another saline solution and another bag of chemo. It would be evening before she left the hospital and for my mum who is so active and get up and go, this possibly was one of the most difficult things to do. Hang around for hours waiting.

In fact the day after her second session she went for a lovely long walk breathing in the fresh air and the beautiful countryside which surrounds her home. Result? The whole weekend feeling dreadful and taking longer to get over the bout of nausea and sickness. A hard lesson and another slap in the face as she realised she couldn’t go and do as she pleased anymore as it would make her suffer in the long run.

Yesterday as she picked up the phone I could hear the anxiety in her voice, I heard the tears fall down her face and I knew she’d had enough. We spoke for sometime on the phone and as the nurse left the room she explained the ward was understaffed that day, the nurses were struggling to keep up with the work and mum had been sitting waiting with her drips beeping loudly to tell the nurses she had finished and was ready for the next solution and they weren’t coming.

That was all it took for her to break down, I think it could have been anything because when you’re struggling to fight something and you’re feeling low anything can set you off. Yesterday it was the blasted beeping of the machinery around her and no one arriving to get it all done as quickly as humanly possible. She has said so many times in the past how wonderful the staff are, how helpful everyone is and how she can’t thank the NHS enough for all they’ve done but yesterday it all got a bit too much for her.

This is when Interflora comes in handy, if you need to cheer anyone up you can just search online flowers Kent, flowers Croydon or as I shall be doing today florists in Nottingham and a list of possibilities open up for you allowing you to send a smile if like me you can’t get there in person.

Flowers won’t take away the pain but they never fail to make someone smile and that smile alone is just enough to start healing a broken soul.

Tomorrow sees the start of October, the month of Breast Cancer awareness, there are hundreds of fund raising initiatives going on and every penny raised counts. Times are hard but a couple of pounds from everyone can make an enormous difference. Right now I’m rushing out of the door to our local Macmillan Biggest Coffee Morning – see if there’s one near you too xx

Flowers lift your spirits

Interflora bouquets

What do you think? will she like it?

Who doesn’t like to receive flowers? Just as I thought, no hands shot up at all (apart from chronic hayfever sufferers and that’s more for the pollen count than the actual act of receiving flowers).

Well I spoke to mum this morning. Yesterday was her first session of chemotherapy; she was already to go in on Monday morning but had a last minute cancellation as there wasn’t a bed available. This dampened her spirits to say the least as there’s nothing worse than getting yourself worked up to go ahead with an undesirable matter and then being let down for reasons out of your control.

Anyway, she has been told that she will lose her hair in approximately three weeks time and this weekend she went off to Nottingham to find a wig to use over the coming months. I can’t imagine what she’s going through as for anyone the thought of losing your hair must be devastating but she’s hanging on in there and going to give her best fight to any random cells still left in her body after the operation.

She was upbeat on the phone, surprised herself that she was feeling so good but ready and prepared for the worst over the coming days. It seems as if her ‘cancer nurse’ has covered every possibility and put her mind at rest over so many niggles that she had, also there are quite a few medics in the family who have been encouraging her along the way so I’m sure she feels loved and supported by all of us.

However, I still wanted to do a little something, we live so far away I can’t pop over for tea and a biscuit which is one axe I continue to grind on a daily basis so when I spotted Interflora were looking for bloggers I put my hand high up in the air and told them how I knew a bouquet of their finest fresh flowers delivered to her door would bring a smile to my mum, not just on receiving them but every time she looked at them or smelt their beautiful perfume. The perfect gift that would remind her that I was here thinking of her.

They asked me to have a look at their website and choose some flowers which would be made up by a florists in Nottingham and it wasn’t easy to choose, there are some beautiful bouquets to suit every occasion, every colour preference and more importantly every pocket. I finally decided on Vibrant as I adore bright rich colours and thinking along the lines of colour therapy I needed something with a kick in it to liven up the energy levels and kick the butt out of her cancer. I’m sure you’ll agree.

I was even told they offer same day flower delivery meaning mum would never know I hadn’t been super organised and got this done earlier (well until she reads this post that is!) But how many times do I forget birthdays, occasions and I’m too late to get something out? This is perfect for any busy person with a packed diary and a sieve for a head.

So, other than fill you in on mums progress which we’ll see over the next three weeks till she’s due for her next session I can also advise that should you be late, forget the belated card and get on to Interflora who can sort out your forgetfulness for you.