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Love Oliver January Newsletter

Happy New Year from everyone at LoveOliver! Here is our first newsletter for 2018, packed with lots of great news!

What's been happening lately?

The end of 2017 was a busy time for LoveOliver with lots of funds and awareness raised in many places. We have enjoyed our regular visits to Matalan, Glenrothes and Toys r Us, Kirkcaldy, and were pleased to be back bag packing at ASDA Glenrothes at the start of December – raising over £800 in just 4 hours!

We are so disappointed that Toys r Us, Kirkcaldy will be closing in the Spring – we have thoroughly enjoyed our time there over the years and have always been made to feel so welcome. We will miss the staff and wish them all the very best in whatever it is they go on to do.

Our New to You sale in November was another big success, raising nearly £3000 selling second hand toys, clothes, books, etc.

It’s a lot of work but worth it and greatly appreciated by the local community. Our first Disney Karaoke night at O’Connell’s was a huge hit and will definitely be repeated! Glenrothes High School have been doing a number of fundraising activities for cancer charities in honour of senior pupil Jade, and LoveOliver is delighted to have been included in this – receiving over £1200 raised at their dress down day and Concert for a Cure. It was great to be the chosen charity for Glenwood High School’s annual quiz night once again – a fun evening was had by all and £130 raised.

The fabulous JillyJilly designed our Christmas cards for a second year running and once again they proved very popular. We received many very generous donations during December, including £1000 from O’Neill’s Edinburgh and £1000 from the Ecclesiastical 12 Days of Giving. It was a privilege to be the chosen charity for the Polwarth Preloved Sales in 2017 and we were delighted to receive £2000 from these. We have a few new supporters who donate monthly which is fantastic, and we are always appreciative of those who choose to donate to LoveOliver instead of sending Christmas cards and gifts.

We were pleased to be part of Silverburn Park’s first ever Christmas Fayre and had a cold but enjoyable day there in our gazebo – raising over £150 as well as a lot of awareness. Our annual festive fundraiser at Blacketyside Farm was a great success, especially with the Mountfleurie Primary School Glee Club Choir performing for us, and helping to raise over £1100. Another highlight has been a new partnership with the Waiting Room in Morningside where we have already enjoyed two weekends of fundraising events.

Our personalised wedding and party favours continue to be super popular and keep our sweetie team very busy! We already have several orders in the diary for 2018.

We received an incredible donation of items carefully chosen for our teenage/relapse gift packs. They were from a lady who is registered blind and who had come across the LoveOliver page by chance on Facebook.

The kindness and generosity of people continue to amaze us, and we are always greatly appreciative.

A few things we're proud of

We were very surprised but delighted to win the award for Scotland’s Children’s Charity of the Year 2017 at the Charity Champion’s Gala Final at the Marriott Hotel in Glasgow on 2nd November. It made us feel very proud of all that our wee charity has been able to achieve.

One of the judges who spoke at the start of the night said it was not about the size of the charity but about what they do, their accounts, annual report and sustainability.

We are also honoured that Jennifer will be receiving a British Citizen Award at Westminster at the end of January for "services to volunteering and charitable giving" because of LoveOliver.

She is a bit embarrassed the award is to her personally because LoveOliver would not happen without Andy, our trustees, ambassadors, supporters, family and friends.... so she plans to take pride in accepting it on behalf of everyone, and is pleased Andy is able to attend the ceremony with her. What a great start to 2018 for LoveOliver!

The Vital Research we fund

This is a really significant photo for us, and one we are super proud of, because it shows LoveOliver's first PhD student, Matt Selby, with our new student, Emma Lishman.

Matt successfully completed his 4 year PhD earlier this year and has now handed over to Emma to progress this area of research further. This is extremely important because so little funding goes into childhood cancer research, yet with 11 new cases of childhood cancer in the UK every day - it is so important.

Research is our passion and our priority here at LoveOliver, as well of course as supporting families affected by childhood cancer as much as we can.

Dr Dan Williamson has written the following to explain Emma's PhD studentship which is being fully funded by LoveOliver, at a cost of £140,000. Research is expensive but it is vital, and if it is something you would like to help us support we would love to hear from you.......

"Emma began with us at the end of September 2017 and since then she has been working hard to learn all the new techniques she is going to need for the rest of her project. She has been spending a lot of time reading as much as she can about Malignant Rhabdoid Tumours and Medulloblastoma, getting to meet the rest of the team and learning where her project fits in within the wider research group.

Emma has been spending a lot of time initially on the computer, analysing Malignant Rhabdoid Tumour data. Matt left us with a huge amount of data about which genes are most important in Malignant Rhabdoid Tumours and Medulloblastoma (NB: we will be submitting this for publication in an international peer-reviewed journal shortly) and so there are a huge number of possible therapeutic leads for Emma to follow-up on.

Emma’s first job is to quickly decide which of these she considers most promising so that she can begin investigating these more thoroughly. Our ultimate aim is that Emma can find a way to turn Matt’s lab-based approach into a drug or set of drugs which can eventually achieve in the clinic what Matt achieved in the lab."

The Invaluable Practical Support we provide…

We are providing more practical support than ever – we have already given out more grants this financial year than in any full financial year before, and there are still three months of this year to go. We are pleased that we can now provide all our services to all three hospitals in Scotland caring for children with cancer – Edinburgh, Glasgow, and Aberdeen. A service we have recently added to our list of is providing gift packs for children who have relapsed and face further treatment.

We currently have Xboxes and games on order for the Edinburgh ward and thermometers, portable DVD players and a selection of DVDs on order for Aberdeen. We feel we have really established the various services we provide over the years, and hospital staff know they can request them from us.

Everything we provide is on request from ward staff or CLIC Sargent Social Workers – we work closely with them to ensure our funding for practical support is being used wisely and where it is most needed.

Things we’re looking forward to…

The start of the year is always a bit quieter but between now and our next newsletter we have quite a few things planned!

  • Friends of the amazing Milo Carter are organising a wedding ceilidh at the Keavil House Hotel on 10th February – if you would like a chance to wear your wedding dress, bridesmaid dress, kilt or special outfit once again then get in touch with Rosie at The event is in aid of LoveOliver and Kidney Kids Scotland.

  • A Ladies Afternoon Tea Dance at the Balbirnie Hotel is currently being organised for Sunday 4th March – look out for more details coming soon on our website and Facebook page.

  • One of our ambassadors is organising an Easter Ball with entertainment from the Jolly Jigglers at Studio 8 in Glenrothes on Saturday 30th March. Please see Facebook event page for more details and to buy tickets.

  • We will also be having our stall set up on various dates at Matalan Glenrothes and at the Victoria Hospital in Kirkcaldy.

  • The amazing Kilt Walk events are taking place in Aberdeen, Dundee, Edinburgh and Glasgow this year with options of walking 6, 13 or 26 miles. Amazingly, 140% of money raised goes to your charity of choice – how about taking up this challenge for LoveOliver? Please get in touch for more info if you are interested.

Want to get involved? Here is how…..

  • Volunteer your time - we have a private volunteer page on Facebook – let us know if you would like to be added, or we can let you know of volunteering opportunities by email, text or phone if you let us know your availability

  • Challenge yourself - take part in a sponsored event - we have paper sponsor forms we can send to you, and we also have our online fundraising facility with BT MyDonate.

  • Come along to one of our events mentioned above

  • Donate - one-off and/or regular donations are always welcome. We have our online donation page with BT MyDonate, the charity bank details are 10004198 and 83 24 24, or we can give you details of how to pay by cheque on request.

  • Donate any new/nearly new toys, books, games, clothes, accessories for babies or children to our New to You sales….get in touch to arrange collection or drop off.

  • Donate any unwanted gifts for us to use as raffle prizes. Office supplies are always very much appreciated and help us to keep our costs as low as possible

  • If you are on Facebook please ‘like’ our page, and ‘like’ and share our posts as much as possible - it really does help us to reach more people

Love for Oliver, Love from Oliver…

It’s always lovely to hear from the families we support and here are two messages we have received recently that we would like to share with you…..

Aud Noble, mum of “Kira the Machine” (follow her on Facebook – she’s 14, facing cancer for the third time and is totally amazing!) sent us this thank you note……

"Would love to say a massive thank you to the amazing charity LoveOliver for the wonderful teenage gift bag they sent to Kira and the ultra generous financial family grant to help us with additional expenses that are incurred due to hospital stays. The gift bag was a lovely surprise and a great "pick me up" for Kira when she received it through our amazing and supportive CLIC Sargent Social Worker -and the grant will be a huge help to us.

Just can't thank you enough LoveOliver for continuously supporting us and huge well done on winning the award for Chidren's Charity of the Year at the Charity Champions Gala at the beginning of the month. You do incredible work in supporting kids going through challenging cancer journeys and this accolade is so very well deserved! Thank you from the bottom of our hearts x"

And 13 year old Reon, facing cancer for a second time, sent us this lovely message….

"I would like to thank you very, very much for the awesome bag of specially picked presents you gave me when I relapsed and came back into hospital in Glasgow. I have been playing with everything and wearing the pj's !! Your money and voucher have made me able to just choose any kind of food I'd like, my Mum amd Dad just race downstairs to get it .. it's like Alladin's magic lamp !

I'm down in London now hoping for a 2nd bone marrow transplant from my brother. Thank you for caring for me. Love to the whole LoveOliver team, what a very special charity you are."

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