|Yasmin held aloft by Frank Bruno|
Frank, who was super charming with everyone, was there in support of the Rainbow Trust while Yasmin and I had been invited by Haven House, our local hospice. Yasmin was delighted to be greeted by a host of characters – George, Zippy and Bungle from Rainbow, Henry, the Haven House mascot and Sunshine from Rays of Sunshine charity. Initial shyness disappeared as Yasmin took George’s hand (who in mascot confusion she thought was Peppa Pig’s brother). She led him all over the trading floor before polishing off two huge pieces of chocolate cake. CIBC employees donate their commissions on ‘Miracle Day’ every year.
Although we were invited by Haven House, my family has been supported by all three charities since Yasmin’s diagnosis. We had home support from the Rainbow Trust for many months when Yasmin was having intense treatment. Alison would visit once a fortnight and bring crafts to entertain Yasmin all day long. This started at a time when Yasmin, tiny baby Isaac and I spent all our days either at hospital or at home. Although grandparents would visit when they could, Andrew and I do not have family living close by and most of our friends work in the daytime, so the visits from Rainbow Trust were a huge emotional support for me and something Yasmin really looked forward to.
Similarly, Haven House has been a second home for Yasmin and was the first place I was ever able to leave her on her own. Rays of Sunshine grants wishes for children with serious illnesses and we will be attending their Christmas party this weekend. When your child is seriously ill, you lose all normality. Life is so painful that having something magical to look forward to can make a huge difference to your emotional state. Although I knew they were a lovely idea for children, I had never grasped the importance of wish-granting charities for the whole family before. But when you see your child suffer more than any child ever should, you promise yourself that there will be wonderful times in the future. These charities help make that happen.
Like most people, I had given money to charities in the past, happy to help out, and never really thinking it would be something that I would be in need of myself. Family and friends have been wonderful since Yasmin was diagnosed but without the support of these amazing charities life would have been so much more difficult.
Everyone commented on how confident Yasmin was this week. She ran around that trading floor and was a complete star. But this time last year, she was deathly pale, sofa bound and in the grips of intense chemotherapy.
So thank you to all those who donate so generously and all those who work tirelessly for these charities that have such a massive impact at a time when it is most needed - and thank you for helping give Yasmin her confidence back and returning her smile.
I have started fundraising for Haven House Hospice and will be climbing Ben Nevis for them next year! Come and join me or donate here.