Today has been another extraordinary day!
We awoke to Jesse chatting away to his brother in the sky and a very frank conversation they were having too. Jesse was telling Skye that he was going to be a dancing frog and a doctor when he was bigger and that he would be able to help his friends to get better and not die. There were even pauses for when Skye was talking back to Jesse, it was beautiful but deeply saddening to listen to. I love Jesse dearly, he is such a responsible poppet, with a rather unhealthy love of amphibians!
Andrew, Jesse and I arrived at Waitrose for 8.15am as we had very kindly been granted a bag packing day at the Abingdon branch. Having polished off half a baguette, (a trick I used to use to placate two bored boys while doing the weekly shop) Jesse got stuck into handing out BST cards and proudly telling customers the boy on the picture was his brother. Andrew too began politely packing frantic Christmas shopper’s groceries, listening to their woes while I just stood there in a complete daze, pinching myself that my lovely husband’s life had come to this. Contrary to popular opinion, starting this Charity has not been a therapeutic process, it has been one of necessity and let me tell you, standing there with a bucket, hoping that someone stops long enough to hear why we were there was one of the hardest things I’ve ever done.
No sooner had I begun to give up all hope of what humans consider ‘priorities’ in today’s society, than I turned round and saw a sea people, wearing BST T-shirts, all stationed at the end of each till and I was overcome with gratitude for their support. Some were friends and family, some estranged clients, pupils from Abingdon School where my husband teaches, and even our RBS bank manager and his Clerk, who had become aware of our growing Charity because of the ever-increasing deposits in the local branch! Spurred on by this, I felt I could not let everyone down, so got stuck in.
I have never explained as a mother why we have chosen to support research. It’s a tricky one to fundraise for, that’s for sure. It’s not touchy feely, it’s doesn’t lend itself to great ‘feel good’ photo opportunities and a lot of money is needed to get a successful ‘return’. Charities that support research and treatment are understandably not featured on high profile TV appeal programs, as it is much harder to show tangible results of how your money can help. But let me tell you, the little money researchers do get, comes almost entirely from donations from you, and is shaping the future for these children, whether they live or die, you can't get BETTER RESULTS than that?
Today, at the check out, I heard all sorts of stories, many inspiring and comforting, many saddening, some I would rather forget such as those who told me everything happens for a reason, or that they knew how I felt because they had lost a pet (I used to be a veterinary nurse and I love animals but I’m not sure it’s quite the same thing?). What I have taken away with me is that every charity is deserving, we are all exposed to different insightful information, ours happens to be the fact that the majority of funds to find better cures for the no.1 cancer killer in children comes from public donations to charities like BST, set up by broken families. Research for Children’s Cancer is very low on the priority pile, as drug companies don’t stand to gain much from any breakthrough so there is no real incentive. That’s life I guess, or is it?? One battle at a time Sally!
I still support any charity fighting for a cure for any of the life limiting diseases which children of the world face, and I hope in time, other Charities who are quick to feel we are a threat, realise we are all fighting for the same cause - freedom from suffering!
In the time it has taken me to write this blog, Andrew has counted all the donations from today and we are thrilled to announce that we raised a total of £2,710.41. BST has obviously struck a chord in people's hearts and we are truly grateful and humbled by the generosity. We are over half way to funding our first BST researcher who will work alongside some of the world's leading experts looking into how childhood tumours can be treated on a biological level, with the hope that, one day, we can do away with antiquated and toxic chemo and radiotherapy. Thank you!
In the words of Nelson Mandela, “There can be no keener revelation of a society’s soul than the way it treats its children.”