Ward 84 Mum raises money for Milly’s Smiles

After Lisa’s daughter Sophie was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia and they were given a Milly Bag when admitted onto Ward 84, Lisa decided she wanted to support our charity and decided to raise some money for us.

Lisa used the occasion of her birthday to ask family and friends to donate as she wanted to help us to keep supporting families when they need it most.  A total of £1158.00 was raised, which is amazing for us and will make a huge difference to the work we do.

Lisa told us that the bag made such a difference to them when they were admitted and their Milly Bag is always ‘packed and ready in the car for emergencies’.  She also said that they use their rainbow blanket all the time , and says that ‘you can see other families recognise the logo and give you a knowing smile’.

It is always very special to hear of families fundraising for us, we never expect anything back when our Milly Bags are given out.  It is enough to know that through Milly’s experiences we are able to help families going through possibly one of the worst times of their lives, and we feel blessed and honoured that we can do this.

We send our heartfelt thanks to Lisa and everyone who donated and all our love to Sophie and wish her well during the rest of our treatment.

Chilly Dip on New Year’s Day raises £400

On New Years Day, 4 crazy individuals took part in ‘The Fleetwood New Year’s Day Dip’.
Dean and wife Lauren were joined by Dad Robbie, and friend Stuart to swim in water that was a very chilly 5 degrees!  Dean had heard about Milly’s Smiles a few weeks earlier and after learning all about the work we do, he knew that he wanted to help support us, and decided to undertake the swim on New Years Day.
We are so grateful that he did as the team raised an amazing £400 for us – massive thank you to each and everyone of you. Whilst we like a a challenge at Milly’s Smiles this is one that none of us would be brave enough to undertake!

East Lanc’s Children’s Social Care Christmas Event

Teams from East Lancashire Children’s Social Care held their Christmas Party in Great Harwood and invited the team from Milly’s Smiles along.  Our volunteers were thrilled to attend, and take part in the frivolities!  We were asked to judge displays made by each team which was great fun and were were amazed by the amount of work that had gone into each display.

The day raised £708.80 for Milly’s Smiles which is a record amount for the teams, and an absolutely fantastic amount for us.  A very huge thank you to all involved and to all who donated their money for us.

Reflections on a year gone by..

As 2019 draws to a close, it becomes a time for reflection, to look back on our achievements of the last year.

We have continued to provide our Milly Bags to Ward 84, and since our first delivery in March 2016 we have sent 447 bags to the ward.   We have also continued to support Alder Hey families and have provided them with 95 bags since our delivery in October 2018.  In October 2019 we made the journey across the Pennines to Leeds Children’s Hospital, where we made our first delivery of 20 bags.

The cost of supplying our Milly Bags this year amounts to £31,120, this has only been possible because of amazing support from families, schools, companies and individuals.  Without this support we quite simply could not provide this support at a time when it is most needed.

Milly’s Smiles is extremely lucky to have the support of a team of volunteers who work so hard for us, they deliver the bags to the hospitals for us, they pack the bags, they attend events on our behalf, they promote our charity far and wide and ultimately they allow the charity to run smoothly.  Without them we would struggle to do what we do.

Whilst we consider 2019 to have been successful in terms of supplying our bags, you have to look at the real picture. 249 families have had their child diagnosed with cancer…… with all our hearts we wish there wasn’t a need for our bags.  There are no words that can explain how it feels to hear those words, and to know that in that instance life has changed forever.  We will always feel privileged that we can help at such a difficult time, we never take this for granted, and we know that this is only possible due to the tremendous support we receive.

The team at Milly’s Smiles would like to thank every single person who has believed in what we do and has supported us and allowed us to carry on.  We hope that with your continued support we can continue to make a difference for many years to come.

On a personal note, as Milly’s mum, I would also like to thank everyone so very much for all their support, you are not only helping the charity but you are allowing me to continue to keep Milly’s name alive, for me there is no greater gift.

Wishing each and everyone of you a very peaceful and healthy new year.

 

Milly’s Smiles at Christmas Time

Christmas for oncology families is very different, whilst we try to make it as wonderful as we can for our children, there is always the thought that this could possibly be their last Christmas.  With that in mind we try and create the very best Christmas we possibly can.  My last Christmas with Milly was spent on Ward 84, she was recovering from 3 days of chemotherapy, of being sick, running to the bathroom and sometimes being too weak to even lift her head from the pillow.  Christmas Eve Milly started feeling better, the ward was buzzing with excitement and there was a rumour that Santa would be visiting at midnight.  The ward had already been decorated by Milly and her friends, however we were missing a Christmas Tree, so fully aided and abetted with the nurses we decided to sneak onto day case after they closed and ‘borrow’ their Christmas tree!  It looked amazing at the bottom of the bay and made such a difference, Santa had somewhere to leave his presents now.  Milly and I stayed awake and our efforts did not go unrewarded, Santa arrived on a mobility scooter, and along with all the gifts he also brought a huge smile to Milly’s face.  And that is what is so important, its not the gifts around the tree, its the time spent together, the fun, the laughter, the smiles and most important the love.  Love is everything.

This year we wanted to share Milly’s love of Christmas with the our families on the wards, as always to let them know we are thinking about them.  We sent Christmas Cards designed by Milly along with Christmas Baubles to Ward 84, The Bone Marrow Transplant Unit, and Ronald McDonald House at Manchester.  We also made the delivery to to Ward 3B at Alder Hey Children’s Hospital.

It always remains a privilege to be able to do what we do, we feel very lucky and blessed to make a difference every single day to children and their families.

From all of us at Milly’s Smiles, we wish you a Christmas filled with sweet memories, love, laughter and good health.

 

 

 

Its a different kind of Christmas ….

These aren’t my words but they so easily could be…

It’s a love/hate thing…these Christmas decorations I tackled the other day.  Hate to do it, Love it when it’s done. BUT it’s more than that..it’s Christmas for a grieving mum (parent) and let me just tell you a few things you may not know that may indeed help you should you know a grieving mum.

We are able to put on a performance worthy of any Oscar, Emmy or big award.
When we are gathered around the table at Christmas, we will be pleasant and smile and yes, even joke but inside our heart still breaks be it a month, a year, 10 years…our eyes will wander on the chair our child would have been sitting in. And we will cry in the dark once everyone has gone to sleep.

We will deck the halls for Christmas especially if we have other children. Oh, don’t get me wrong, we do experience tremendous joy with those we love but we also have tremendous sadness over the one that is not here.

We know every story behind every ornament and while so many will buy new, beautiful things to put on the tree or fill the house…we will always use the old, sometimes broken ornaments and decorations because once the hands of our child touched and held them and they are treasured more than the most expensive items you can find for they are the most beautiful, the priceless ones and they will be used year after year and we just don’t care what anyone else thinks!

We are forced to start new traditions and we do because we are a Mum and because our child would expect no less from us, but our heart yearns for those same traditions we once had… and we are sad.

We will be in the crowds shopping to buy the perfect gifts for our family and no matter how much time has passed we will still see items and think it is the perfect one for our child… until we remember the child is not here. And so we will go to a floral department and carefully pick out just the perfect flowers worthy to adorn our child’s grave while we try to fight back the tears.

We may send Christmas cards and sign our names and with every single card, we are reminded of the one name we can’t sign anymore and we wonder if those receiving the card will remember that name.

Same with pictures…. we will admire the beautiful faces of our family while our hearts remember the face that is missing. We will attend those events and functions and perform perfectly but if you take just a second and look, really look, you can ALWAYS see the hint of sadness that is forever in a grieving Mum’s eyes.

I’ve said that the eyes cannot hide the grief ever, it is always there, a little bit of light is gone and the smile never quite reaches the eyes all the way.

But it doesn’t mean we don’t have many moments of happiness.

Should you take a minute to mention our child’s name to us and share some story or thought…. For just that minute you will be privileged to see the light in our eyes that will quickly be gone again… Until someone else does the same..

Hyndburn & Ribble Valley Police Cadets Bag Packing raises £176.28

On Sunday a team of Police Cadets from the Hyndburn & Ribble Valley Team gave up their Sunday to pack bags for shoppers at Morrisons, Great Harwood.

The Cadets worked from 10am till the store closed offering their help in support of Milly’s Smiles.  The team were very proactive in talking about our charity and explaining to local residents how the charity works.

Thanks to all their hard work the Cadets raised £176.28 for Milly’s Smiles, we are extremely grateful to each and everyone of them for their kindness and support, they were all brilliant!

 

 

 

 

LouLou’s Pop-up shop raises money for Milly’s Smiles

The lovely people at LouLou’s held their November Pop Up Shop last weekend.  People were able to order all their favourite treats as well as being able to sample their Christmas product range.

Raffle tickets were sold in aid of Milly’s Smiles and the lucky winner won all the Christmas Samples!

LouLou’s have supported Milly’s Smiles for several years, they have donated meringue kisses to the hospital wards for both staff and families, cakes as prizes and also raised funds for us at a birthday event.

Their kindness and generosity is overwhelming, and their cakes are phenomenal!

We are so grateful for all their support, thank you LouLou’s so very much.

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!