First delivery leaves our new unit and heads for Leeds Children’s Hospital

At the end of last week, we loaded up the van with our first delivery of Milly Bags to leave the new unit.

It was a joy to be able to reverse the van into the unit and just place the bags into the back.  Previously we have had to have a military operation in full force in order to safely carry 20 heavy Milly Bags down 4 flights of stairs to waiting transport!  Today we were very sleek and very quick to load up the bags and quickly be on our way to Ward L31 at Leeds Children’s Hospital.

We were greeted by 2 lovely ladies on arrival and it was so heartwarming to hear how they much our Milly Bags are appreciated by all the families who receive them.   They told us about a family from Hull who were admitted without any belongings at all, and how they were so overwhelmed to receive a bag containing items to help them during the admission period and beyond.

This is the very reason we do what we do, to be able to make a difference during what is one of the worst times in a parents life, for us is an honour and a privilege.

Thank you for supporting us and allowing us to do what we do, we could not do it without the help and support of everyone around us.

 

Why we do what we do….

 

Over the last few months we have been putting together a series of short films explaining what we do and why we do it.  We have been lucky enough to have some of the recipients of the bags speak with us and tell us how much our Milly Bag meant to them.

Over the coming months we will be sharing our films with you, we would love to know what you think..

Our new unit is almost complete

We have been busy working on getting the unit ready for occupation.  Over the last few weekends we have been cleaning, sanding and painting every spare hour we have had.

We have had some much help from some lovely people, and slowly everything is coming together.

We have tried to be as frugal as possible and when we asked if anyone was able to help us with floor tiles, we had an amazing offer from a company in Bolton, who gave us all the floor tiles completely free of charge.  Massive thank you to Nigel and ellenby Construction Company Limited, for such a kind, much needed helping hand.

The highlight so far for me has been getting our sign over the unit doors.  Very proud and highly emotional to see my daughters name above the unit.  This is all for her, to help children going through what we experienced and making a difference to them everyday.

Vincent and Tracey take on the Edinburgh Marathon!

Last year, Vin and wife Tracey took on the challenge of the Edinburgh Half Marathon, to raise money for Milly’s Smiles.  They chose our charity after a friends son was treated on Ward 84 for leukaemia, and the family had spoke about what we do and how we support newly diagnosed families.

I had the pleasure of meeting Vin and Tracey at a Charity Ball last year, and seeing their commitment and passion for our Charity was so heartwarming.  To meet people who are willing to undertake such a challenge which requires months of training outdoors, in all kinds of weather, is very humbling.  Just knowing that people who don’t know me or Milly are willing to do this for us is absolutely fantastic and not something that I will ever take for granted.

Vin and Tracey completed their half marathon in 1 hour 54 minutes and raised £2000 for Milly’s Smiles.

When I was chatting with Vin he mentioned that both he and Tracey were thinking about doing the Edinburgh Marathon in 2020, and true to his word they have both signed up and will be running for Milly’s Smiles again.

They are on already well into their training and their last run was 11K  at Loch Leven.  They were running in arctic winds straight off the water with rain like tiny stabbing needles, beating onto their faces!  Immense commitment…. we wish them both lots of luck with their training and keeping fingers crossed for some warmer weather!

Thank you both so much, we look forward to hearing how you are getting on.

Milly’s Smiles are on the move!

Asking for money has always been very difficult for me, and not the best way to be when running a charity and constantly needing people’s help and support!

The Charity has been operational for 4 years now and in March it will be 4 years since the first delivery of Milly Bags left my house, bound for Ward 84 at Royal Manchester Children’s Hospital.

Over the last 48 months we have gone from strength to strength, we moved into a small second floor office where we had everything under one roof.  The charity was well supported by so many people that we were able to offer the same service to Alder Hey Children’s Hospital in October 2018.

This was quite a gamble for us, our commitment to families doubled instantly, it meant twice as much stock being ordered, and stored, and double the amount of bags being made and delivered.

However, we exceeded our own expectations with this project, fundraising was still happening for us and, as such, we decided in October 2019 to expand further and offer our Milly Bags to children diagnosed at Leeds Children’s Hospital.

As you can imagine our commitment to support newly diagnosed families has increased substantially and we are no longer safely able to continue working from our small office.

We took the decision to look for a unit, in our local area, that could accommodate the charity’s expansion, and have secured one that is just perfect for us!

And now comes the difficult part …..we need help and support in making the unit fit for purpose, and this comes at a cost! We are hoping to raised £8,520, which is the price we have from our builder to cover all the work that needs doing.

We are asking for any help or support that can be given.

Whatever form the support takes would be amazing for us. If you know of any businesses that would like to sponsor us, or take us on as their charity for the year, please pass our details on to them.

If you are looking to hold a fundraiser, please consider us as your charity.

We are a charity that is local to so many people, we support families from all over the North West of England, Yorkshire and The Humber.  By helping us, you are ultimately helping families whose world has just come crumbling down.  You are helping us continue to make a difference every single day.

https://www.justgiving.com/campaign/MillysUnit

 

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.