LoveOliver October Newsletter
Firstly, we want to say a massive thank you for all your support during this challenging year. Back in March, as the charity diary was being cleared more and more, we anticipated a very quiet year ahead. However, it has been quite the opposite! It has not been our usual calendar of events, but we have been blown away by how generous and creative people have been, in continuing to raise vital awareness and funds for childhood cancer research and practical support for families during this time.
In many ways Covid 19 has made childhood cancer journeys even more difficult - taking away support networks when they are needed the most, only allowing for one parent on the ward during hospital stays, not allowing for the usual options of memory making for those who are palliative, and putting restrictions on numbers at funerals. These are only some of the ways oncology families have been impacted. However, at the same time, Covid 19 has given a glimpse into a way of life that is normal for oncology families - being off school and work for long periods of time, avoiding crowded places, having to isolate and quarantine, and having to be hyper sensitive towards transmission of germs.
During the last few months our main aim has been to support families as much as we can, through the additional challenges they have faced as a result of Covid. We have increased the availability of our COOK orders. Those staying in hospital with access to freezer space have benefited, as well as those heading home from inpatient stays and day appointments - allowing them to settle back at home without having to think about shopping and cooking straight away, as well as allowing them to stay away from public spaces for longer. Using funding from our amazing friends at Megan’s Journey, we have supplied the Edinburgh and Glasgow wards with Just Eat vouchers - helping parents staying on the ward to access food without having to leave their child.
The Joe Clapperton Tribute Fund, in place specifically to support pre teens, has been used more than ever during lockdown - allowing us to supply an iPad or laptop of choice for pre teens in hospital and isolating at home - not only has this helped them keep up with school work but it has also given them a form of entertainment and vitally, a way to keep in touch with their friends. Furthermore, it has given them an item that they have chosen, have ownership of and that gives them some much needed independence - all of which are very important to Joe’s family.
We have continued to supply supermarket vouchers and financial grants, and although sourcing digital thermometers has become very difficult this year, we are pleased to have been able to keep providing these too - one for every family in Scotland facing childhood cancer - approximately 150 new families each year. Recently we were asked to donate some toys to the Edinburgh ward, and as always we were delighted to help in this way.
It has been incredible to see the ways in which funds have kept coming in this year. Some of our highlights include the many ways people got involved in the 2.6 Challenge - virtual fundraisers on the theme of 2.6 in place of the London Marathon, our own 10 in 2020 Challenge to mark Oliver’s 10th birthday in July, our increasingly popular Online New to You sales, card and face mask making and socially distanced fundraising stalls. Thank you to all those who have donated straight into our bank account and via the online donation page - we don't always have access to the contact details to thank you personally, but we really do appreciate each and every donation.
We have been really moved and encouraged by the number of oncology families who have been supporting LoveOliver recently, including Isla Cairn’s auntie who has raised over £5,000 making and selling face masks during her own self isolation, and Team Alex who raised £6,000 in their Kilt Walk efforts, which incredibly was then doubled by Sir Tom Hunter! There have been many other families supporting us too, and we cannot put into words how much it means to us every time one does.
We recently gave a presentation on Zoom to a church group we were scheduled to meet with in March. It was a great evening for all, and we would love to hear from anyone else who would like their group to hear more about the work of LoveOliver and the story behind it. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
As we go into what would normally be our busiest few months, it is hard to imagine how we will compensate for what Covid has taken, however we will as always give it our best shot. Our Christmas cards are on sale - designed once again by Megan Bett Artwork, we have our final online sale of the year in November, we are working on various Christmas goodies to sell and we will be taking every opportunity we are given to raise awareness and funds! Please keep a look out on our Facebook page and website for more details and support us if you can. LoveOliver merchandise is always available on our online shop and from us in person. Our range now includes very comfy face masks, handy travel mugs and the much loved non spill water bottles. Please also consider using Amazon Smile when doing your Christmas shopping on Amazon - it works exactly the same as normal but 0.5% of eligible sales gets donated to your chosen charity - smile.amazon.co.uk/ch/SC042450
Research is of course as important as ever, and it is still our aim to employ a technician at Newcastle University as soon as possible. We hope be able to tell you more about this before too long, and as we sign off this newsletter would just like to send you our continuing thanks, and hope you are all keeping well during these crazy times. We will leave you with an, about how 2020 has affected her work…….