An inspirational woman – official!

Okay so this is another long one (yep you know me!!) but I think this deserves the telling – not for me but for an inspirational lady.

Those of you who know me either personally or because of my blog will know that I am very passionate about raising awareness about brain tumours and the woeful lack of funding and awareness despite it being the biggest cancer killer of UK children nowadays.

The reason behind all of this is because of a chance spotting of a poster on Facebook – It’s all —-here—-> http://wp.me/p3fpRv-34

Heather, Ellie’s Mum, had inspired so many people that I decided to nominate her for a “Shining Online” award for Women Inspiring Women with the following nomination….

“Heather’s oldest daughter, Ellie, was diagnosed with a brain tumour when she was 11 and was given 6 months to live. Ellie fought for the next 3 years against two tumors but, sadly, lost her fight on Valentine’s Day 2010.

Since Ellie’s passing Heather has worked tirelessly to raise awareness of brain tumours both in children and in adults and set up “Ellie’s Fund Brain Tumour Trust – www.elliesfund.com ” to raise funds for research into brain tumours and to also be able to support families across Yorkshire and Humberside who have a child with a brain tumour, in the form of a grant, usually £500, to help in whatever way is most helpful to them, whether it be to pay bills, buy equipment or create memories.

She took advantage of the “Wipe Out Waste” campaign organised by Johnson & Johnson and started encouraging people to collect their empty baby wipe packets earning 2p per packet towards research. Since she joined that scheme in February of 2012 she has inspired thousands of people nationwide to send in their empty baby wipe packets resulting in the following figures (as of 03/05/13):
£15,530.38 raised towards research.

763,571 packets kept out of landfill.

Several Facebook pages reaching nearly 12, 000 people who are now more aware of brain tumours and their consequences than ever before – the main collection page https://www.facebook.com/elliesfundbabywipecollection has nearly 7500 ‘likes’

In under 3 years this little charity has raised over £108 000; Heather works at it full-time, supported by a small band of volunteers who help at events, and 3 ladies who help to manage the baby wipe packet emails.

She continues to inspire people to collect empty baby wipe packets and discuss brain tumors despite dealing with the grief of her loss and also helping her other children to deal with their loss.

People across the country look up to her and find her strength inspirational. I know I certainly do and am honoured to have actually met her a few times now.

I think Heather should be your winner as she is fantastic, inspirational and has given me and others a purpose in life – to help her in her mission to raise awareness of, and funds for research into, the biggest cancer killer of UK children.”

Last night she and I attended the awards ceremony. I was nervous enough so goodness knows how Heather was feeling but we got glammed up, entered the room with many other glammed up ladies and  few “handsomed” up gentlemen and the proceedings started.

With dinner eaten and the ceremony started there was a little while to wait for a few other categories. We listened to the (sometimes gushy) thank you speeches getting more and more nervous (well I assume Heather was as well!) with an air of trepidation. Heather had read me and bullet-pointed her speech earlier in the day (just in case) and it was totally different to the speeches that were being made. They were awards for “motivational team leaders, business mentors and trainers” and the speeches reflected that. Heather’s was a shoot from the hip, felt from the heart speech and I hoped upon hope that she would be lucky enough to win so she could make it.

It got to “our” category and the nominations were read out – nine names in all – and then a gold envelope – “And the winner is…..” Heather!

Our table erupted in huge applause and a standing ovation (bear in mind only Heather and I knew each other and the rest of the table had just met us but we had chatted and they’d learnt about Ellie’s story) and tears were immediately in my eyes. I think Heather was probably cursing me again about now 😉 but it wasn’t just me who thought she deserved this – people from around the country who had never met her had voted and given her a platform….

a platform that she firstly apologised for taking as she advised people that her speech was going to be a serious one but then she gave it. In my eyes it was the first of three genuine speeches on the evening.

It was factual – raising many reactions from people around the room as she stated how little funding there is (0.7% of all CRUK funds), how the survival rate hadn’t increased in 40 years, how her own daughter had succumbed to an adult tumour despite her only being 14 – it was informative and it was heartbreaking but it did its job. On her finishing she had another standing ovation – with many others in the room joining in. No gushiness, no “Oscar performance” but a reality check that hit home in a way that it made people think – hopefully in a positive way.

I am so proud of Heather and what she has achieved and so happy that her work and those who work with her has been recognised. She truly, truly deserves this award and recognition and, hopefully, it can go a way towards a change for the better.

Love ya Heather!

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