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July Newsletter

What's been happening lately?

It’s been a busy few months – speaking at the Buckhaven and Methil Rotary, Milton of Campsie Parish Church, meeting with YPI groups at Grove Academy and Harris Academy, meeting with CLIC Sargent Social workers and outreach nurses at the Edinburgh and Glasgow hospitals to make sure we are doing the best we can for oncology families, setting up new projects, fulfilling many party and wedding favour orders, delivering ice lollies to ward 2 on a super hot day in May, supporters running and raising money in Skye, Stornoway, Glenrothes, Berlin and Rugby, and regular stalls at Matalan Glenrothes and the Victoria Hospital in Kirkcaldy.

We were delighted to have Gary Taylor take part in the Glasgow Kilt Walk in honour of Lochie Wightman who is currently going through treatment for High Risk Neuroblastoma. As well as raising lots of funds and awareness, his workplace - W L Gore & Associates UK Ltd very generously added £881 to his total!

We enjoyed having a stall at the Studio 8 Boot Sale in Glenrothes and at the Gilvenbank Park Summer Fayre. We were also delighted to be the chosen charity for Dysart Coffee Cabin’s first ever craft fayre which was a huge success, and to have run another fab New to You sale. This was our tenth sale and raised just under £2500. It was an amazing team effort and a really great day. We held our first Family Disney Karaoke at Foxton’s Bar in Glenrothes – a brilliant afternoon and we are very grateful to Martyn for all his ongoing support.

It was a privilege to attend the funeral service of 8 year old Jasmin Henderson – a truly beautiful and inspirational girl, diagnosed with a terminal brain tumour at the age of 6. We were very honoured that LoveOliver was one of the chosen charities for her funeral collection, and also that we were able to include a “Jasmin’s Boutique” at our sale – raising money in her memory specifically to fund something for the three oncology wards in Scotland that will help to bring smiles.

It has been amazing to get to know two other families recently – 10 year old Katie and 5 year old Laurel. Earlier this year Katie had part of her leg amputated to save her life, and at the age of 3 Laurel had to have both eyes removed to save hers. Such devastating journeys for these two beautiful girls, but they do not let any of this hold them back – they are both a true inspiration and a privilege to know. It was a special night when they were able to meet for the first time at the fantastic Fife Ladies Brass Band Concert which was in aid of LoveOliver. It was also fab to see Katie representing the charity in the Glenrothes 4k Fun Run.

A few things we're proud of

It was an honour to have our local MSP, Jenny Gilruth, running the Stornoway Half Marathon for LoveOliver raising a fabulous £1935, and Grandpa Black ran in the 10k, raising over £200.

We are also starting two new projects to support families facing childhood cancer in Scotland – Meals for Parents and Quality Digital Thermometers.

We were delighted to have half the funding needed to cover the first year’s cost of digital thermometers donated by a wonderful supporter – vital, potentially life saving equipment for families with a child with cancer. We were then able to raise a further £2,000 through many generous donations, including £500 each from The Shannon Hughes Foundation and The Cookie Jar Foundation – both charities know how important these thermometers are and we really appreciate this fantastic support. The thermometers will start to be distributed at the end of July.

Healthy meals for parents is something we have always wanted to provide, and so we are pleased that through a new exciting partnership with COOK, this is finally becoming a reality that is very much appreciated by the families it is helping. At the moment it is just for families in isolation as this is an extra difficult time, but we hope to expand this to include all longer stay families before too long. Taking away the stress of shopping, cooking and staying healthy is so important, and we want to minimise the time parents need to be away from their child.

The Vital Research we fund

Here is an interview with our new PhD student….

We decided to ask Emma a few questions to help us get to know her a bit better and here is what she said. Her answers make us feel even more confident that our funding is going to the right place, and we look forward to regular updates throughout the four years. 💙 1. We are delighted to hear you have been appointed as LoveOliver's next PhD student. Can you tell us a little bit about yourself and what has brought you to this area of research? I studied Biochemistry as an Undergraduate, before moving back home to Newcastle to start a Masters here which I completed before beginning this PhD post in September. Outside of my studies I swam competitively before and during my time as an undergraduate which was a great way to relax and take a break! As part of my swimming I also got involved in teaching swimming, mostly to younger swimmers which was very rewarding. I have always had an interest in studying Genetics and Cancer, and these are topics I have opted for throughout my degrees so far. It is important to me that in addition to the interest and enjoyment I get from working in Science that I also contribute towards something meaningful. This post will enable me to contribute towards how children with these devastating tumours are treated. 2. Can you briefly explain the main focus of your PhD? The aim of my PhD project is to identify possible therapeutic targets for Medulloblastoma and Malignant Rhabdoid Tumours using a number of datasets and computational methods. Then I will take some of these potential targets into the lab and investigate them further. The ultimate goal is that I will be able to identify drugs that can be used in the clinic, that are more effective than current treatments. 3. How is it going so far? So far I've been trying to get up to date with all of the literature surrounding Medulloblastoma and Malignant rhabdoid tumours to understand more about these tumour types. I have also been trying to get a sense of what the team at Newcastle has been and is currently doing and how my research will fit into that. I'm also currently working on the computer learning the techniques to analyse a Rhabdoid tumour data set. I will be using these computational methods to select some possible therapeutic targets hopefully very soon. Since starting in September I have learned a lot of new techniques, and will continue to do so in the New Year when I move more into the lab. The team at Newcastle are a very motivated and friendly group and I am really enjoying my time here so far. 4. LoveOliver is donating £140,000 to pay for this 4 year PhD studentship. What does that mean to you, and for childhood cancer research? This amazing sum of money will fund my project which will enable me to gain a whole range of skills throughout my four years here at Newcastle. The team here are all very motivated towards improving the understanding of Medulloblastoma and Malignant Rhabdoid Tumours so that diagnosis and treatment in the clinic can be improved. Receiving funding for projects like this enables more research to be done so that hopefully in the future more children are cured of their tumours and with fewer side effects than at present.

The Invaluable Practical Support we provide…

We were pleased to be able to fulfil another therapy wish list for the lovely therapists on the oncology ward at Edinburgh Sick Kids – all items they have requested to help children recover from the effects of chemotherapy and radiotherapy.

We are receiving an increasing number of grant requests from CLIC social workers in all three hospitals – whether it’s for going abroad for treatment, help towards paying bills or travel expenses, to allow families to make happy memories – there are so many additional costs for families facing childhood cancer, and we are pleased to be able to relieve some of this burden. We have already given out more than 35 grants since 1st April, which spurs us on even more to raise as much as we can as we would hate to have to start turning down requests.

These grants as well as supermarket vouchers, relapse gift packs and the therapy supplies, meals and thermometers already mentioned previously are all very much appreciated by both ward staff and families. All the CLIC social workers we have met with have been able to tell us how valued these services are, and really appreciate how quick and flexible we are in responding to their requests for support.

Things we’re looking forward to…

  • We will be having our stall set up on various dates at Matalan Glenrothes and at the Victoria Hospital in Kirkcaldy. Matalan is planning a fashion show for LoveOliver in September so please look out on Facebook and our website for more details.

  • There will be a LoveOliver stall at the Silverburn Festival in Leven on July 28th and at the Markinch Summer Fayre on July 29th. We will also be back at the Craigtoun Park Charity Day in August and Kirkcaldy Beach Highland Games in September.

  • 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

  • There are still two fantastic Kilt Walk events yet to take place this year - in Dundee and Edinburgh 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.

  • Adult only Disney Karaoke is back for a second year and taking place on 21st September at O’Connell’s – tickets will be available soon.

  • Looking further ahead to give you dates for your diary, our next New to You sale is on 24th November and Blacketyside Festive Fundraiser is on 1st December.

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

  • Due to the new GDPR regulations, we cannot contact you unless you give us permission – you can sign up to our mailing list on our website – and we would love it if you do!

  • 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 (especially Ink for an Epson XP-225, first and second class stamps - normal and large, and envelopes)

We are more than happy to come along to speak about LoveOliver at any groups – church, Rotary, school, sports etc so please get in touch if you're interested.

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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