Ward 84 Family raise £800

We were thrilled to meet Darren and his daughter Ruby when they attended our Annual Milly’s Smiles Walk.  Ruby has been treated on Ward 84 after being diagnosed with Retinoblastoma.  Dad, Darren said ‘thank you for your Milly Bag, it meant so much and made that first night so much easier’.

Darren presented us with a cheque for £800 following fundraising by the PT team at HMNB Clyde, at their Summer Show – and we want to say a huge thank you to everyone who donated, this amount is amazing for us!

Milly’s Smiles 5th Annual Walk

On Sunday 3rd November 2019, our 5th annual walk took place.  Behind the scenes planning began several months ago, and the worrying that no one would attend also started then too!  The forecast was not looking promising and rain was predicted for most of the day.  Thankfully the weather was dry for the duration of the walk and over 150 people turned up!

It is always so humbling to see so many people give up their time on a Sunday afternoon to show their support for Milly and her charity.  The day wasn’t about raising money, it was about people from all walks of life, coming together to celebrate Milly’s birthday and showing their love and respect for this amazing young lady.

It was also about friendships both new and old, about community, kindness and selflessness. We saw that in abundance yesterday, people turned up to walk for Milly and had a great time doing so.

It has become tradition to have PC Dave Render start off the walk which he did brilliantly, although next year we will invest in a loud haler so that everyone can hear him!  The walk set off at a good pace and it was lovely to see the crowds of people along the full length of the canal, there was lots of laughter and chatter, and overall there was a  happy fun filled atmosphere.

A particular picture taken is very poignant for me, it is of all Milly’s friends, seeing them grown up pulls on my heart strings, I have Milly as 11 years old in my memory even though she is almost 16.  I forget that her friends are growing up until I see them, and it never fails to surprise me how tall they have all gotten and how grown up they look.  However, having them turn up for the walk year after year means so much to me and I will always be grateful to them for holding her in their hearts.

Our gazebo made its first appearance on the walk, we placed it half way along the route and its safe to say everyone was thrilled to be offered hot tea, coffee and vimto as well as jelly babies and chocolate bars!

It was lovely to catch up with everyone after the walk in The Royal, there were many families from Ward 84 which was lovely, there were also representatives from Primark Burnley who have adopted us as their charity of the year, we had fundraisers from previous years also coming along to support us.

Thank you so much to each and everyone for coming and joining our walk, and for all your kind donations, we received a total of £610.05.  Thank you also to Gavin at The Royal who donated all the food on the day, to our lovely pom-pom girls Aisha and Zara, to Marie for taking the photos and to the great team that I have by my side, who made the day fun and enjoyable and free of stress!  

We look forward to seeing you all next year.

 

 

 

Beaverbrooks – Blackkpool

A few weeks ago we received a phone call from a lovely lady who works at Beaverbrooks Jewellers in Blackpool. The store had chosen Milly’s Smiles as their charity to support after one of the staff nominated us, following a friend receiving a Milly Bag.

We were thrilled to meet everyone and collect a cheque for £800 – an amazing amount that will make a huge difference to us.

A massive thank you to everyone at the store, it was a pleasure to meet you all.

Milly’s Smiles Volunteer Training Day

We have been really lucky in having some amazing people volunteer to help Milly’s Smiles in many different ways, some of the people knew Milly, others have heard about the charity, and a few people have received a Milly Bag from us and wanted to give something.

We were very humbled by everyone’s kindness and so grateful for their offer to help.  We decided to put together a Volunteer Training Day, where we would go thought the history of the charity, why we set up, explain all about Milly’s journey, and how we came to the decision about our Milly Bags.  We also included the focus of the charity and our hopes and dreams for the future.

These lovely people gave up their free time to attend our training day and it proved to be very successful, with every one learning a lot about Milly’s Smiles.  We had a fun day, with lots of laughter, and a few tears too, it was great to hear peoples idea’s about we can continue to thrive and move forward, and we can’t wait to work with everyone very soon.

We will be introducing each of them to you over the next few months.

Milly’s Smiles arrive on Ward L31 at Leeds Children’s Hospital

It is the ambition of Milly’s Smiles to be able to help families all across the country when their child has been newly diagnosed with a cancer related illness.  Today, after many weeks of meetings, planning and making up of bags, we came a little closer to achieving this dream.

We made the journey over the Pennines to Leeds Children’s Hospital, it was our second visit to the hospital, and predictably we got lost again in the city centre!  However, we arrived at the hospital and were met by 2 ladies from the Playteam.  They were both amazed at the size of our Milly Bags – most people are when they see them for the first time!  We loaded the bags up on a trolley and took them to Ward L31, where we were met by the Ward Sister and other members of staff.  The Milly Bags were safely handed over to the team, and from today all new admissions will receive a bag, and hopefully make their admission process a little easier.

Along with the Milly Bags, we also left some goodies for the nurses, to show our appreciation for their help and support, a huge thank you to LouLous Meringues for donating the meringue treats.

Whilst what we do as a charity makes a huge difference to newly diagnosed families, we would much rather there be no need for us, we acknowledge that we cannot change what is happening but we are grateful that we can bring a smile during a very difficult time.

As always, thank you to all our supporters, without you we could not do what we do.

Four years on….

September has always been my favourite month, it may due to having been born in this month, but I have always loved it.  The weather changes and the air becomes more crisp, with the leaves changing colour before falling from the trees, and we get ready to brace the colder winter weather.

September is no longer my favourite month, its the month that I had to say goodbye to Milly.  No parent should ever have to even consider this for a second, but from the moment Milly was diagnosed, I knew it was a possibility.  I tried to absorb every little thing that we did from that moment on, I filed conversations away in my head, to revisit at a later date.  I took countless pictures and videos of her, desperate to hold onto every single moment.

When we were told Milly had relapsed and the options were limited, it was after returning from her open day at St Augustine’s – Milly was so excited – the thought of going to high school had been a huge focus during all her treatment, her chemotherapy, her scans, xrays, blood samples, blood and platelet transfusions, and her bone marrow transplant.  We returned from school on a high with everything to look forward to for Milly, until I got the voicemail on my phone from her consultant.  From that moment everything changed.

And now four years later, the pain…the loss…her absence from every part of my life is still felt so intensely…it hurts, it hurts a lot, my heart feels like it is breaking every single day.

I know if Milly knew how hard it was living without her she would be apologising to me for having to leave and go to heaven…Milly always worried about me, about how I was coping whilst she was going through her treatment. I remember saying to her that I wished it was me that this was happening to, she told me she would have hated to see me so unwell and it was better that it was happening to her.

I would have done absolutely anything and everything to trade places with Milly. In a heartbeat. One million times over. But I just wasn’t given that chance, or choice.

I know Milly’s love continues to surround me, she keeps me strong, and my love for Milly, and her love for me, will never be stolen by death. It is infinite as it is powerful, it stretches past forever and remains with me for always.

I made a promise to myself when I knew that Milly would never get the chance to grow up, I promised that no one would forget her, that she would be remembered and thought about with love.

I believe that I achieve this with Milly’s Smiles, the charity gives me a purpose, I feel that I can talk about Milly in the present (and that’s a huge deal), it also means I can help other families during what will be one of the worst times of their lives, and I can do so in Milly’s name.

I feel honoured and blessed to be Milly’s mum, I had 11 and a half years with her…it wasn’t and never will be enough…she is forever loved and endlessly missed.

“I love her with the utmost love of which my soul is capable, and she was taken from me. Yet in the agony of my spirit in surrendering such a treasure, I feel a thousand times richer than if I had never possessed it”.

William Wordsworth

 

 

 

Thank you Aunty Liz!

We were thrilled to hear from Milly’s teacher from Playgroup, Liz contacted us to tell us that she was turning 60 and instead of presents, Liz was asking for donations to Milly’s Smiles and also for contributions of toiletries to go in our Milly Bags.

Earlier last week, Liz presented us with £150 which will fund a bag for a family and also a large amount of shower gel, shampoo and conditioner.  This is brilliant and will keep us going for while.

Thank you so much to everyone who contributed and especially to Aunty Liz for supporting us, we are more than grateful, and wishing you a Very Happy 60th Birthday!

Grays Schoolwear support Milly’s Smiles

We were recently contacted by Paul from Grays Schoolwear in Blackburn, who wanted to do some fundraising for us whilst they had more footfall in the shop, combined with this they also wanted to raise some awareness for Milly’s Smiles too.

Paul has designed a carrier bag which will be sold in store, with all monies raised given to Milly’s Smiles, the store are also kindly displaying our collection tins.  We love this, local support from local companies is fantastic.

It’s funny the turns that life takes, it was only a few years ago that we would be shopping in this store for all Milly’s school uniform…their support means such a lot to us.

Massive thank you to Paul and his team.