“Never Settle for anything less than your very best, as you pursue your dreams”

In October 2018 we were lucky enough to meet with Steve Hill, who is Deputy Head Teacher at St Joseph’s RC School in Shaw, Oldham.  Steve had heard about Milly’s Smiles through one of his pupils Eva, who had been diagnosed with cancer and received one of our Milly Bags.  Steve has acquired somewhat of a reputation for his fundraising skills, and for taking on personal challenges, and after hearing about the work we do at Milly’s Smiles, he decided that we would be one of the charities he would be supporting over the coming school year.
Steve tries to lead by example and practise what he preaches to the children within St. Joseph’s, he strives to inspire them to be the very best that they can be and is continually telling the children that anything is possible and that they should never settle for anything less than their very best as they pursue their dreams.
Backed by his Year 6 class Steve is aiming to keep up the momentum of fundraising which so far has raised more than £90,000 for numerous charities. 
Steve’s personal Challenges have included:-
 
• Climbing Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania.
• Climbing Mont Blanc.
• Trekking 200 miles through the Sahara Desert.
• Climbing Mount Elbrus in Russia, the highest mountain in Europe.
• Completing an expedition through the Arctic wilderness with huskies.
• Trekking through the Jungles of Borneo.
• Climbing Mount Kinabalu.
• Trekking to Mount Everest Base Camp.
• Completing the Tenzing Hillary Mount Everest Marathon.
• Completing the UVU North Pole Marathon.
• Completing the Petra Desert Marathon.
• Completing the Uganda Marathon.
• Completing the Amazon Jungle Ultra Marathon – 230km self-supported race through the Amazon Jungle.
• Completing the Arctic Ice Ultra – 230km self-supported race through the Arctic Wilderness.
 
Over the last 7 months we have watched Steve take on challenge after challenge in preparation for the Uganda Marathan  – on 1st June.
Steve said: “As always I will be funding the trip myself and with the full support of the children at school we’ll be raising money for the Jomain Midland Academy which provides education to the remote community of Bwendero on the Ssese Islands in Lake Victoria – along with the other charities we’re supporting Dr Kershaw’s Hospice, Royal Manchester Children’s Hospital, Milly’s Smiles, Chernobyl Children’s Life Line and our fantastic school PTA.”
Steve and the children are also collecting trainers, sports kits, pens, pencils and other stationery to take for the children of Masaka.
 
“Friends, family and parents from the school have been fantastic, all offering to sponsor me while my brilliant and enthusiastic Year 6 class are always a massive source of support and encouragement.”
We are so thrilled to have been able to meet this incredible man, to spend time with his year 6 pupils and to be one of the charities to have been chosen for support.
Wishing him all the luck in the world although we are sure that he won’t need it at all!  Steve Hill MBE we applaud you, thank you so much for supporting us and helping us to make a difference.
 
 

Super Car Sunday at Mitton Hall

After holding our Rainbow Ball at the beautiful venue that is Mitton Hall earlier this year, we were thrilled to be chosen as their charity, for their Super Car Sunday.

Over £1250 was raised for us at this exciting event, which came from donations from food sales and also the generosity of people donating via our charity bucket.

A huge thank you goes to James Place for their amazing hospitality and to everyone who donated to us.  Your kindness and generosity allows us to continue to fund more Milly Bags to Ward 84 and Ward 3B.  We are lucky enough to be making a difference every day.

 

 

Be Strong – Walk Miles for Milly’s Smiles

Sunday was a great day for Milly’s Smiles.  Be Strong’s Rick and Rachel organised the day, which was a challenge to walk as many miles as possible in 12 hours.   The event began at 6.30am when the first walkers set off.  Each loop of the park was a mile long, and walkers were able to log each mile with a sticker to allow them to keep track.  The sun shone, spirits were high and the park was filled from early morning till 6.30pm with people supporting Milly’s Smiles and taking on the challenge.

We were lucky enough to be able to meet the walkers there and we were in awe at their dedication and commitment, many people accomplished personal achievements and this was so lovely to see.  We had over 276 walkers take part (some people joined in when they saw the stand in the park, which we love) and a grand total of 1802 miles were walked that day.

We thank every single person who came down and supported Milly’s Smiles, you all helped raise awareness forour charity and on top of that you raised a massive £1087!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Deliveries to Alder Hey and Royal Manchester Children’s Hospitals

We have had a busy week putting together Milly Bags for both Ward 84 at Royal Manchester and Ward 3B at Alder Hey Children’s Hospitals.  We supply each ward with 15 Bags each visit, which will last the wards approximately 6 weeks.  Sadly that’s a lot of children being diagnosed with a  cancer related illness every week, and that is just in our local region.

To make up 15 Milly Bags takes approximately 3-4 hours, however, we are lucky enough to have volunteers that will come and make the bags for us, which helps us out tremendously and for which we are very grateful.

On Friday we had volunteers take 15 Milly Bags over to Alder Hey Children’s Hospital, where they were met by Alan, who is one of the Health Care Assistants.  Since October 2018 we have provided the ward with 60 Milly Bags.

Then on Tuesday our Dynamic Delivery Team drove to Royal Manchester Children’s Hospital where they were met with one of the play leaders – Lorraine – who took delivery of the Milly Bags.  It is always nice to see staff who knew Milly, Lorraine spent time with Milly on the roof top garden when she was getting ready to be discharged from the Bone Marrow Unit, encouraging her to enjoy the fresh air and exercise after being confirmed to a small room for the last few weeks.  Since our first delivery to Ward 84 in March 2016 we have taken 348 Milly Bags.  We are honoured to be allowed to make a difference to all these families.

Taking the Milly Bags to the Children’s Hospital is always so bittersweet, somewhere within the North West there are 30 families who are about to have their world turned upside down, when they are told their child has a cancer related illness.

It is so important to us at Milly’s Smiles to be able to continue to help these children and their families, we know firsthand how it feels to hear those words ‘I’m sorry but your child has cancer’,  we know the feelings, the anger, the upset, the pure disbelief that this can actually be happening.  So to be able to make even the tiniest difference at the worst time imaginable is a privilege.  This is why we do what we do, and we thank everyone who allows us to make that difference, without support from so many people this would not be possible.

Christmas time having a blood transfusion, all hair now gone | Millys Smiles

Milly’s Beads of Courage

During Milly’s treatment she enrolled in the Beads of Courage Programme which is designed to provide support for children and teenagers undergoing treatments for serious illnesses.  At every stage of cancer treatment, children receive a new Bead of Courage. The beads join together to form (often long) physical representations of their recovery, resulting in a record of every hospital trip and treatment on their courageous journey. The Beads of Courage help to decrease illness-related distress, and increase positive coping strategies to support children and their families.

The Beads are also something tangible that a child can use, to tell family and friends about their experience during treatment. They also help explain what has happened to them whilst they have been in hospital.

With each procedure or milestone in their treatment, they get a special bead. Each bead is their way of saying “this isn’t easy, but I did it”.

Every child is given the Beads of Courage bead colour chart, along with a length of string and beads that spell out their first name.

Then, colourful beads, each representing a different treatment, are given to the child by their professional health care provider, as determined by the bead guide. During the course of their treatment, they are also given “Act of Courage” beads.  A few examples of these beads include:

  • Yellow bead: an overnight stay in hospital
  • White bead: a course of chemotherapy
  • Blue bead: visits to the clinic
  • Glow-in-the-dark bead: a course of radiation treatment
  • Glass bead: an act of courage
  • Special star bead: a special accomplishment
  • Purple heart bead: completion of treatment!

Deciding what to do with Milly’s Beads of Courage was quite difficult; for the last 3 years they have been in her bedroom in the bag that we kept them in.  After copious amounts of research, I decided to have them made into a tree, and framed so that they can be displayed properly.  Milly had so many beads that they had to be made into 2 trees!

The first frame in the picture are the beads from diagnosis to post bone marrow transplant… the second frame are from the time Milly relapsed to when we lost her 💔

The third picture is the list of beads that are available for each treatment/procedure that children endure.

The final picture is Milly proudly wearing her beads after ringing the End of Treatment Bell, just before she was discharged home following her bone marrow transplant.

These beads speak so much of courage, determination and love, and chart every single step of Milly’s cancer journey- I love them and they mean the world to me, but more importantly I’m sure Milly would love them too❤️🌈🎗

Thank you to Natasha at Rainbow Trees for looking after the beads and displaying them so perfectly.

43 days later home

 

Rainbow Ball 2019 A Huge Success

 


Our Rainbow Ball 2019 was held on Saturday 16th March at Mitton Hall, Whalley and was attended by 130 beautiful people, all with the intention of having a great night whilst raising money for our fantastic charity.

The room was beautifully decorated in pink, Milly’s favourite colour, and the whole evening sparkled from start to finish.  Guests were greeted with a glass of prosecco as they were shown into the main room.  The staff were amazing, very professional but with a friendly approach, and nothing was too much trouble for them.

During the meal we were beautifully entertained by the haunting vocals of Hannah Rose, who was amazing.  We also had a table top magician who thrilled guests with his variety of magic skills.

The whole evening was compared by Dale who is the husband of one of our trustee’s and he did an outstanding job.  He reminded everyone of the reason for being there, he also spoke about the plans and aspirations of the charity. The auction was fast, brilliant and funny,  people were so generous and an awful lot of money was spent.

The remainder of the evening was spent dancing to the brilliant tracks played by  DJ Ryan Smith, and some very interested moves were seen on the dancefloor!

All in all a fabulous successful evening which was enjoyed by everyone, and a grand total of £6668.00 was raised.  Thank you to everyone who came and supported us, to everyone who donated raffle and auction prizes and to Lesley-Anne at Mitton Hall for her kindness and support in arranging such a beautiful event for us.

 

 

Freddy Mercury Night raises £1350 for Milly’s Smiles

An event held at The Grand Venue, Clitheroe on Saturday raised £2700 for Milly’s Smiles and another fantastic charity Derian House.

The event was arranged by Lisa and Barbara Taylor, and featured a tribute act to Freddie Mercury and the talents of  2 local artists, who attend Bowland High School at Grindleton,  Meeka Bradley and Joel Taylor.  165 people attended the evening with a raffle that included prizes donated by local companies raising £565.  Audiences were thrilled by the entertainment and an amazing evening was had by all.  Thank you so much to everyone who supported the event and donated money to these 2 brilliant charities.

Milly’s Castle – Ronald McDonald House

In Spring 2016 money raised from Milly’s Celebration of Life, along with donations received at Milly’s Smiles First Annual Walk were donated to Ronald McDonald House, to fund a room for families for 3 years. Ronald McDonald House had been a lifesaver for us, it gave us somewhere to stay, instead of having to travel to and from the hospital each day. The whole set up is fantastic, and something that as Milly’s family we wanted to support.

As Milly got closer to discharge after her transplant she was allowed over to McDonald House, and we spent a lot of hours playing games both inside and outside in the fresh air, these now are obviously very precious memories for us.

The room we sponsored was initially called The Library, it was a room we had stayed in many times, so to sponsor a room that Milly was familiar with, was very special. You are allowed to name the rooms, and we decided to call our room Milly’s Castle.

When Milly was isolated on the Bone Marrow Unit for 2 months, we decorated her room and her window and called it Milly’s Castle – so the name for McDonald House is very apt. Milly is pictured here standing outside her room and you can see the decorated window in the background, we think she would love the name.

So this year our sponsorship expires, however Milly’s Smiles want to continue to sponsor the room, we know only too well how much it is needed, and its another way that Milly lives on and helps other families. So we have sponsored the room for another 3 years and this means such a lot to us as it will do to families whose child is admitted into hospital and need somewhere to stay.

What is also very special is that the room opposite Milly’s Castle is sponsored by the family of a friend of Milly’s who was having his transplant at the same time, and he was in the room next door. We love this and I am sure they will both be happy that their rooms are together.

 

Huge thank you to staff from TSB

We have been lucky enough to be the charity of the year for a few organisations in 2018.  We were approached by TSB Bank, Rawtenstall who chose us after staff were asked to nominate charities. we have been supported by 5 branches of the Bank, who have fundraised tirelessly for us over 2018, Haslingden, Todmorden, Rawtenstall, Bastwell and Nelson.  To date they have raised £4633.08 – and amazingly have said they will support us for a further 12 months. TSB Bank, thank you so much we are so very grateful  to you all for taking us into your hearts and chosing us as your chosen charity for another year.

Arval UK (Ltd) raise money for Milly’s Smiles

Last year we were chosen as the Charity of the Year 2018 for Arval UK (Ltd) in Salford.  Over the last 12 months staff have generously raised funds for Milly’s Smiles through a variety of ways including a Onesie Wednesday, unfortunately there was no photographic evidence of this available!

We were invited back to Arval earlier this month to collect a cheque, and were overwhelmed to see that £2540.00 has been raised, this will fund just over 18 Milly Bags.

Thank you to each and every person who has played a part in raising this fantastic amount, this allows us to continue our work in helping all families that are newly diagnosed and admitted to a children’s hospital in the North West of England.