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April Newsletter

What's been happening lately?

The start of the year has seen some fantastic fundraising efforts, including over £1000 being raised for LoveOliver at a wedding dress ceilidh at the Keavil House Hotel. Thank you to Rosie Schofield for all her hard work organising such a great event!

We were honoured to be one of the Markinch Drama Society’s chosen charities and enjoyed their fantastic production of The Pajama Game.

Jennifer was delighted to attend a special fundraising event at George Heriot’s School where 1st year pupils raised over £1,000 by rowing the 100 mile distance between Edinburgh Sick Kids and Newcastle University. This made the link between the families LoveOliver supports and the vital research LoveOliver funds, and was a really great day.

One of our ambassadors, Leanne, organised a successful Easter Ball for children at the new and fab Studio 8 in Glenrothes, raising £650. The entertainment was provided by the amazing Jolly Jigglers and everyone had a fantastic afternoon.

Jennifer was pleased to attend the YPI Charity fayre at Grove Academy and to have had three groups in touch since wanting to represent LoveOliver, which could see the charity being awarded £3000 if one wins.

Granny Black, Hilary and Sheila continue to be regular faces of LoveOliver at the Victoria Hospital in Kirkcaldy and Matalan in Glenrothes – raising vital funds and awareness. Matalan recently raised over an awesome £2000 by having a raffle in aid of LoveOliver and we cannot thank them enough for their ongoing support.

We were sad to have to say goodbye to our friends at Toys r Us Kirkcaldy when theirstore closed down in March. We have enjoyed many fundraising days there and had built up a good relationship with the staff over the years, as well as raising lots of funds and awareness. We wish them all well in whatever they go on to do next.

A few things we're proud of

On 25th January, Andy and Jennifer travelled down to Westminster for Jennifer to receive a British Citizen Award for services to volunteering, in recognition of the work of LoveOliver. It was a special day, and has resulted in great publicity for the charity with LoveOliver featuring on the STV news, BBC Radio Scotland, in various newspapers and in the Scotland4Kids magazine. Jennifer was honoured to be joined by Milo’s mum, LoveOliver trustee and good friend Sarah Carter and Professor Hamish Wallace for the live radio interview.

With the increasing demand for sweetie cones and tablet favours we are pleased to have new recruits to the sweetie team! If you would be interested in selling them in your shop or business, or to have them as personalised party or wedding favours, please get in touch. We have three more wedding orders for this year already, and even two for next year, with ongoing party orders too.

The Vital Research we fund In January, LoveOliver sent a cheque for £35,000 to Newcastle University to cover the cost of the second year of our second PhD studentship. In our last newsletter we gave you an update about the focus of this PhD studentship, and now here is a chance to hear from Emma herself about the work she has been doing so far:

"After starting the post in September I spent a lot of time reading the literature surrounding Malignant Rhabdoid tumours and Medulloblastoma. In addition, to this I began familiarising myself with some of the bioinformatics techniques I will be using throughout my project.

This side of the project is new to me as I have always worked upon lab-based projects, however with time the computer-based analysis is becoming easier and I am getting closer to identifying potential targets I may wish to take forward in the lab to identify whether they could be developed for new treatments. I have been spending more time in the lab since Christmas to familiarise myself with the techniques I will be using throughout my project.

Currently I am working to optimise conditions for Chromatin Immunoprecipitation sequencing (ChIP-seq) which enables us to identify proteins that interact with the DNA and are important in regulating genes. The results of this experiment will be able to tell us which genes are more switched on in patients with Medulloblastoma than in healthy children and vice versa so we can begin to identify which genes may be good targets for new therapies. The data I generate from this experiment will be complimentary to data I analysed for Malignant Rhabdoid Tumours previously. In addition to this I am also preparing to work with a new tool taken from the bacterial immune system, CRISPR which can be used to switch genes on and off. I have some modifications to perform before this tool is ready for use. I hope to use this to try and identify genes that might be important in the development of Malignant Rhabdoid Tumours and confirm that changes to the way these genes are regulated lead to the biological changes we see in the disease. This is a really exciting new tool so I am looking forward to getting stuck into it.

We recently had our annual postgraduate conference at Newcastle University which is a student led event and is a chance to present our work. I chose to present a poster outlining what I hope to achieve throughout my project and how I might go about it. It was good opportunity to share the project with other students and showcase what we hope to achieve with the funding from LoveOliver throughout my project."

NOTE FROM SUPERVISORS: "We are glad to report Emma continues to make good progress. There is always a lot to learn at the beginning of every project and Emma has been spending a lot of time in the lab, crunching the data, practicing and planning all of the experiments that will take her through the subsequent years of her PhD.

Her first few results are beginning to come through which is really good to see. Her presentation at the annual conference although at an early stage is also an important step.

Presenting your work and ideas to others and receiving feedback is key to any scientific effort as is making contacts and connections with other scientists in your institution and beyond. In the coming months Emma will be preparing for her next important milestone, her 1st year Assessment, where she will be presenting her project and initial results to two internal examiners."

The Invaluable Practical Support we provide...

2017-2018 has been our busiest financial year for family support so far. We gave out 136 supermarket vouchers, 95 financial grants and 17 teenage gift packs. We have also given out 9 relapse gift packs which we started to provide towards the end of 2017.

We have now been supporting the Aberdeen ward for a year and as well as supporting families there through supermarket vouchers and financial grants, we were pleased to donate some portable DVD players, DVDs and thermometers recently. We also donated two new Xboxes, controllers and a selection of games to the Edinburgh ward.

Things we’re looking forward to...

  • New to You Sale on May 26th - our 10th sale so hopefully the best yet! Please get in touch if you have any toys/books/games/clothes/etc for babies or children that you would be happy to donate for us to sell. And come along to the sale – 191 St Clair Street, Kirkcaldy, 10am – 1pm

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

  • Our annual cycle will be on 4th August – there are both road and mountain routes, finishing with a BBQ at Blacketyside Farm, provided by O’Connell’s. Full details are on Facebook or get in touch to find out more

  • The fantastic 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

  • If you shop on Amazon please use Amazon Smile and select LoveOliver as your charity – Amazon will donate 0.5% of every eligible purchase.

  • 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

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