We are already over a month into the new financial year and LoveOliver continues to go from strength to strength! Indeed it is so busy that we haven’t been able to send out newsletters as often as we would like, but we are always excited to share our news with you! Top tip - If you are on Facebook we post shorter updates there on a regular basis, and if you’re not then you can still see these posts on the homepage of our website.
We were delighted to open our drop-in cafe at The Howat Hub on 14th February - we chose Valentine’s Day because it is all being done through love. For now we are open two days per week and we hope to be able to increase this over the next few months. The Hub is an incredible place that gives families facing childhood cancer the chance to escape the ward when they can. It is really close to the hospital and for us it is a real privilege to be able to serve these families in this way. Between now and October please be voting for LoveOliver every time you shop in a Scotmid store. We are delighted to have been shortlisted for this vote as it guarantees us a fantastic grant of £5,000, and the potential of £15,000 if we receive the most votes. This money would be used to expand and enhance our services at the drop-in cafe.
Our shop continues to be a huge success, and we will be celebrating it’s 1st birthday later this month! We are continually blown away by the generosity of our supporters and the commitment of our team. In March we held a special fundraising day where all money raised given to refugee Ukranian families who have come to the UK for childhood cancer treatment. We were delighted to be able to hand over a fantastic £1625 to the Young Lives v Cancer social workers supporting these families. We work closely with the YLvC social workers across Scotland, know how amazing they all are, and therefore have every confidence this was the best way to support the families. Childhood cancer is devastating enough without having to leave behind your home, family, friends and medical staff who you trust at a time when what is familiar is more important than ever. We are pleased to have been able to play a small part in making the UK a welcoming and safe place for these families.
We continue to be really well supported by individuals and groups fundraising and donating - too many to mention but all very much appreciated. Our Facebook page has included special mentions of Sam and Neil Henderson taking on the Glasgow Kilt Walk in memory of their beautiful Jasmin on the 4th anniversary of her passing, and Nikki Mowatt who raised an amazing £1,600 by organising an online auction. Kirkland Bar raised an incredible £2,137 at a domino tournament and race night in memory of Bill Purdie, and a raffle at Kirkcaldy Sheriff Court raised a fantastic £1,212!
We have included a report from Dr Dan Williamson at the end of this newsletter about how LoveOliver’s technician post at Newcastle University is progressing. We also have news coming very soon about a new project we have agreed to fund, and are in discussion with the team at Newcastle about other possible projects too. We feel very proud to be able to fund these projects to help fund much needed gentler treatments for childhood cancers, and ultimately, cures.
It is great to be able to give talks in person again - for example Jennifer has visited St Andrew’s University Student’s Association as one of their chosen charities, given her annual presentation to the 3rd year Oncology and Radiology students at Glasgow Caledonian University, and more recently was over in High Blantyre to speak at a church guild there. It is also great to see that parties and weddings are taking place again - Granny B is being kept very busy with orders of tablet favours and sweetie cones. We always feel very privileged that people choose to support LoveOliver at these special occasions. We have also had several funeral collections donated to LoveOliver recently, and are very humbled that families are choosing to donate to LoveOliver at such times.
There are ways you can support LoveOliver even from a distance - use Amazon Smile when shopping on Amazon, choose LoveOliver as your Co-op membership charity, use Easy Fundraising when shopping online, invite us along to speak to your group, and follow us on Facebook and share our posts. If you and a group of friends or colleagues are looking for a challenge in 2022 then why not get signed up to an event - there are still four Kilt Walks to take place in 2022 and whatever you raise is topped up by 50% by Sir Tom Hunter!
In the last financial year alone LoveOliver processed 227 COOK meal orders for families and processed 135 financial grants - our support is needed and appreciated. One family recently said they could not have got through the last seven months without the support they have received from LoveOliver, and many describe the meals in particular as a “lifesaver”. We are also proud to be supplying wards and families with digital thermometers, supermarket vouchers, Tilly’s Tapes, Just Eat gift cards, and other items as requested.
We are incredibly proud of all the work LoveOliver is doing, and it is only possible because we have such amazing supporters like you - thank you.
With love from Andy, Jennifer and all at LoveOliver as we leave you with some encouraging words from Dr Dan Williamson from Newcastle University -
"We wanted to write to all the LoveOliver fundraisers and thank you so much for supporting James Hacking our ‘LoveOliver’ technician at the Wolfson Childhood Cancer Research Centre at Newcastle University.
We wanted also to give you an update on what James and the team have been up to since he began last year. James has already made some really vital contributions to a number of exciting projects. He has been working on a new combination of drugs - already licensed for use in the clinic – that, when used together we think could offer a far more effective treatment for children with Malignant Rhabdoid tumours. James has been working out the most effective dosages to combine and working hard to gather all the evidence that might be needed to take this forward to the clinic. In doing this James has been speeding things up greatly by using a robot to deliver hundreds of different drug doses in a single experiment.
He has also been putting his informatics skills to use helping to analyse data from over 200 children with rhabdoid tumours and helping to design tests that can accurately predict how successful a child’s treatment will be. This is part of a major new scientific study from the group which we will soon publish and has been accepted for presentation this summer at the 20th International Symposium on Paediatric Neuro-Oncology in Hamburg.
Finally, James has been investigating one of our new findings using an advanced 3D microscope which can look inside cancer cells in very precise detail. Using this microscope, we can see that some proteins within cancer cells have moved and are not located where they should be. This gives us clues as to what has gone wrong with these cells and what treatments might best repair these cells and ultimately be used to treat patients.
Once again, a big thank you to all LoveOliver supporters and we look forward to updating with more news in the coming months."