It's a time for giving....

Monday, December 10, 2018

If you've read my blog for a while you know that I like to try and give back to the hospitals that take such good care of me. Every year I like to make up gift bags for the two transplant wards at Harefield Hospital and give them out to the patients. I try to do this every Christmas and Easter. Patients on the wards can be there for a long time, weeks months or years. They are away from home comforts and their family and can get so lonely and depressed. It's very hard to be stuck in that kind of environment no matter how amazing the staff are. This is particularly acute when it's a special time that others are celebrating. This is why I deliver these bags and they are ALWAYS gratefully received. To have a break in routine, and know someone cares means the world. 

Bags lined up and ready to go!

Last Christmas I took bags just after my cancer diagnosis. It was a hard one for me as I honestly wondered if I'd ever get the opportunity again. I also took them at Easter during my chemotherapy sessions when surgery was looming. It meant a huge dealt me to be able to take them this Christmas. 

The kind of thing that goes in the bags and how I fund them varies a bit. I try to include some treat foods, savoury and sweet, Easter eggs and advent calendars go down really well! Some kind of moisturiser, body wash or lip balm, dry shampoo has been requested before so I've got that down for future visits, tea/hot chocolate/ coffee and a mug, snuggle socks, either a book or colouring, wordsearches, playing cards to break up the day. I also find that often a nice chat is what people crave as sometimes visitors are scarce for various reasons. 

Sometimes businesses donate items so this year Teapigs and Yorkshire tea donated tonnes of individual tea bags, previously Divine donated advent calendars which went down a storm and Sanctuary made an amazing donation of bath and shower products which I know really made patients feel spoilt (more of that later). 

I also set up JustGiving pages and make a donation myself too. I spend a lot of time comparing prices and promotions on products to make the money we have go as far as possible, I'm pretty good at a bargain hunt! 

This years bag contents.

This year I'd gone a bit mad spending my own money and suddenly realised I couldn't afford it. I was a bit nervous doing a JustGiving page but I was astounded when we raised £200 in less than 24 hours which exceeded my original target! Anyway, I am no longer bankrupt (!), I've finished and delivered the bags and there was an excess of funds. I decided that I would carry on raising money and split the remainder between Harefield and The Marsden who have got me through this last horrific year. 

Harefield are currently raising funds for The Harefield Transplant Appeal. This basically provides funds so the nurses and doctors can continue to progress the life saving care they provide. Work without which myself and countless others wouldn't be around any more. Find out more here.

The Royal Marsden have their own patient focused charity which basically works to improve any areas patients use within the hospital to make it a nicer environment, they also fund new equipment and research to improve cancer treatment and care. Find out more here

These are both incredible places that have helped me more than I can possibly express. I've seen the other patients it's really helped too, just looking around you can see the difference it makes.

If you would like to donate I would be really grateful, just a pound would be plenty! If you would usually buy me a card or present I'm more than happy for you to donate to this instead! If you can't donate you can still help a lot by sharing this post with others. 

The goodie bags were really gratefully received and I enjoy giving as much as they do receiving the gifts. It's so humbling to meet people and hear their stories or just to be able to cheer up their day. I met a man who has been on the wards for a year but was going home, he actually came up to me to say how much the gift bags at Easter and Xmas had brightened up his stay. Another lady excitedly explained that the Sanctuary shower gel I'd given her had gone home with her husband. She had been put on a mechanical heart and therefore unable to shower or bath for nearly a year. I can say that 6 weeks without a shower, just a wash down were horrendous so I can't imagine how depressing that was. She had recently received her heart transplant and phoned her husband to tell him he had to bring the shower gel back so she could use it for her first shower!!! It was sitting on the side in her room and she told me how lovely it was to have that first shower and use a fancy gel. It really is the little things that mean the most when life is stripped back to its very basics. 

A huge thank you to everyone who has donated past and present, and to any of you who still want to donate. You make a massive difference to someone's life. 

If you would like to donate to my JustGiving the link is here

You Might Also Like