Article: The Stacey’s Smiles charity

Article: The Stacey’s Smiles charity

December 6th, 2017: The Stacey’s Smiles charity was created by Warren and Samantha Mowle after the passing of their daughter, Stacey on March 6, 2015, who had battled a very aggressive childhood cancer called neuroblastoma.  Neuroblastoma is a very aggressive type of childhood cancer which takes the lives of more than 2000 children worldwide each year. Approximately 8 in a million children are diagnosed with neuroblastoma, which represents the most frequently diagnosed cancer in babies and the third most common cancer in children under the age of 15. Approximately 15% of the deaths by cancer in children are due to neuroblastoma.

What began as the Stacey Mowle APPEAL, which was primarily organized to help Stacey get the treatments she needed throughout her battle with the disease (especially trial treatments that could only be obtained for her abroad), changed into the Stacey’s Smiles charity after her passing. The Stacey’s Smiles charity helps to give families with very sick children the opportunity to create lasting memories together with their sick child and to bring awareness to neuroblastoma and the need for vital research in treating the disease.

image A special memory, wish or treat can make all the difference in the lives of children who are suffering through the ravages that battling neuroblastoma and other serious illness can do to young lives. Granting wishes which, to a small child, may seem near impossible, indeed has been shown to be helpful psychologically for a child to believe that they can begin to get well. Ultimately, it can be very beneficial to the success of their treatment regime.

Some of the areas of wish granting which Stacey’s Smiles offers is the families is with a special photo session with a photographer for lasting memories. Below are the ones Stacey took with her family (photos shared from Stacey’s Smiles site).

Another wish-granting opportunity offered is meeting a special athlete or celebrity. Before Stacey passed, she had a special wish of her own granted which was to meet One Direction, and especially Louis Tomlinson. She was granted that wish at one of their rehearsals in 2013, (Read about her visit with 1D in our article here.)
Louis Tomlinson became an ambassador of Stacey’s Smiles in April of 2015.

If you would like to volunteer or to donate to help the Stacey’s Smiles charity, you can start here.

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Article: Cancer Research UK

Article: Cancer Research UK

IMG_0609November 27th 2017: Cancer Research UK is a UK based charity dedicated to raise funds to prevent and treat cancer. It is estimated that in the 70s the percentage of cancer patients surviving 10 years after diagnosis was less than 25%; nowadays 50% of cancer patents survive 10 years. Cancer Research UK envision bringing this percentage to 75% in the next 20 years and to especially raise the survival rate for types of cancer that have a particularly poor prognosis, such as pancreatic cancer (1% survival at 10 years) and brain cancer (13%). Among the goals pursued by Cancer Research UK is that of making the UK one of the nations in which survival from all types of cancers is among the highest and in which patients receive the best treatments and care. Shared from the charity website:

“Every year, tens of thousands more people are surviving cancer a decade after diagnosis, showing that we’re gradually reversing the tide on this devastating disease. This is thanks to the work of our scientists and doctors, but none of it would be possible without the generosity of the British public, whose donations we rely on to fund all our research.” (Dr Harpal Kumar, Cancer Research UK’s chief executive)

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Cancer Research UK has put forward an aggressive plan to reach this goal which includes the investment of 50 million pounds per year for the prevention and treatment of cancer. One of the areas in which the charity is putting more emphasis is early diagnosis which is usually associated with better prognosis. Another large portion of the funds raised by Cancer Research UK is invested in scientific research through the support of laboratories across the country that compete for research grants. The specific goal of Cancer Research UK are:

  • To build a better understanding of cancer.
  • To facilitate a major shift in early diagnosis.
  • To tackle cancers with major unmet needs.
  • To accelerate translational research.
  • To develop the cancer research leaders of tomorrow.

To support its goals Cancer Research U.K. relies on donations and fund raising. More specifically, there are several different mechanisms that lead to raising of  funds for this charity. These include individual donations, gifts, official fundraising events, and  individually organized fundraisers. The charity also benefits from volunteer work and campaigning.

IMG_0612One Direction has been involved with Cancer Research U.K. in the past. For example during the the Where We Are tour they partnered with Prizeo to offer fans the once in a lifetime opportunity to win tickets to their last tour date in Miami. Fans were able to enter the draw by donating 5 pounds.  The One Direction fundraiser which was part of the Stand Up To Cancer campaign  – a joint national fundraising campaign from Cancer Research UK and Channel 4, raised a total of $346,413. Liam had said at the time: “Stand Up To Cancer is an amazing initiative that we’ve been working with for a little while now. We wanted to offer this amazing trip to Miami as a really special prize that we hope will help raise funds for such important research.”

IMG_0614More recently Niall Horan partnered with golf pro Justin Rose for a golf charity event which benefited Cancer Rerach UK, in particular funds dedicated to childhood and teens cancers. You can read our article on this event here.

 

If you are interested in supporting work done by Cancer Research UK, you can start by visiting their Support Us page.

Some pictures and images are shared from the Cancer Research UK website. 

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Article: UNICEF UK

 Article: UNICEF UK  

November 21,2017: imageThe UNICEF UK, or the United Kingdom Committee for UNICEF, is a part of the UNICEF which is based around the world and for the past 70 years, has committed to the welfare of children in over 180 countries and territories globally. The Unicef UK is 1 of their 36 worldwide committees with various programs designed to meet the needs of children at home and around the world in these main areas: education, access to life-saving nutrition, clean water, vaccinations, disaster relief, and protection from violence.

According to the 2016 UNICEF Annual Trustee Report for 2016, supporters and fundraisers with UNICEF UK raised a record amount of £102.8 million for UNICEF’s work with children worldwide. One of its largest single sporting event donations was created through the 2016 SoccerAid, with the aid of soccer legends, athletes, and celebrity artists (see our article from May 12, 2016 covering this event, in which Louis Tomlinson and Niall Horan participated). Through the SoccerAid event, UNICEF UK received a record amount of more than £5 million pounds! image
This along with other voluntary donations throughout the year allowed funds that provided massive emergency humanitarian aid to children in dire need in over 40 less developed countries.

Specifically, clean water was provided for 4.5 million refugees in Syria, more than 14 million tetanus vaccinations were given to mums and their babies worldwide, and supplies of life-saving food were provided for more than 1 million severely malnourished children in East and South Africa. Still more was provided for the wellbeing of children dislocated from their families as refugees world wide.image

Not only the children of war torn nations and those affected by famine world wide were aided, but many children needing help within the UK. With over 4 million children in the UK living in poverty and with obesity and mental health issues on the rise, there is plenty of work here at home for the UNICEF UK committees.

For example, with just the 2016 funding this year, the Unicef UK was able to help more than 600,000 newborn children of the United Kingdom through their Baby Friendly Initiative which promotes and supports breastfeeding for the nutrition of infants and close parent/infant relationships. (All statistics and photo credit shared through UNICEF.org.uk website)image

In addition to supporting the child in their developmental years, UNICEF supported in 2016-2017 more than 1.5 million children while attending a Rights Respecting School.  These schools help children feel safe,  encourage them to build learning relationships with one another, and teach them about their rights and how to protect them, to insure their future as learners in the world as global citizens.

The primary focus of UNICEF UK has always been the advocacy in lasting life-improving change for children. This week UNICEF UK celebrated  #WorldChildrensDay which was created to support and encourage children around the world to use their voice to promote the changes they want to see in the world and to know the right they have to express their voice to promote their well-being. The #WorldChildrensDay was recognized yesterday, November 20th throughout world wide social media supporting children and young adults bringing awareness and taking a stand for children that are less fortunate, especially those suffering the plight of being displaced as refugees around the world. As the bitter cold season of winter approaches, the drive for warm clothing, blanket and heat sources continues for the refugees throughout the month.

(Photo below and in header credited to UNICEF.org.uk)

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The tremendously important work that Unicef UK has been doing and continues to do for those children displaced by war, disease, or famine and to promote their rights in government policies worldwide depends on continued support through steady fundraising. The leaders in the communities, in schools, and in community-sponsored events, and individuals who care to join the UNICEF U.K. team to make a difference can start by visiting the UNICEF site here.

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Article: Rett Syndrome Research Trust and Reverse Rett

Article: Rett Syndrome Research Trust and Reverse Rett

ht_monica_chelsea_coenraads_jef_120508_wmainNovember 12th, 2017: Rett Syndrome Research Trust (RSRT) was founded in 2008 by Monica Coenraads, the mother of Chelsea, a now 21 years old beautiful and resilient young woman affected by Rett syndrome. The UK based corresponding charity is called Reverse Rett and has Monica Coenraads on its board of Trustees. Rett syndrome affects primarily girls but can also rarely occur in boys. It is a genetic disorder present at birth that begins to cause symptoms in toddlers. It is caused by mutations in the MECP2 gene, which encodes a protein abundantly present in nerve cells which is essential for their function. Girls with Rett syndrome have multiple symptoms that are extremely debilitating. These include seizures, problems with walking (they are usually wheel chair bound),  difficulty in speaking and even eating, scoliosis, and involuntary contractions. Girls with Rett syndrome are basically trapped in their body while their cognitive function remains intact.

The goal of the Rett Syndrome Research Trust is to raise funds to support cutting edge research aimed at finding a cure for Rett syndrome and at improving the quality of life for the patients. Given that the symptoms of the diseases can be reverted in animal models, RSRT it believes that this goal is attainable within a few years.

RSRT has raised over 44 million dollars since its inception and has set the goal to raise other 33 million in the next 3 years. So far it has funded high risk projects that are unlikely to be supported by federal entities like the National Institute of Health. Researchers supported by RSRT have discovered important molecular mechanism at the basis of Rett and have identified small molecules that could be used to treat this disorder.  Scientific advancement in this area is rapid and RSRT hopes to be “out of commission” soon because a cure for the disease has been found.

georgie-piesWe have talked about Rett syndrome in a few occasions in our articles.  We have published 2 articles about Georgie Pie (here and here), a girl affected by Rett syndrome who had befriended Louis Tomlinson and his mom Johannah Deakin.  Louis had asked on social media to help Georgie’s family acquire some special equipment. We have also published about Rhea Kara (here and here), a 10 years old girl recipient of the Pride of Britain award, who had decided to raise funds for the UK Reverse Rett charity by painting 100 paintings, after becoming friend with Hanna, affected by Rett syndrome.

The vast majority of the funds raised by RSRT and Reverse Rett are donated by the families and fiends of girls affected by Rett syndrome. Very little of what is raised comes from corporations or individual large donations. If you want to help the work done by Rett Syndrome Research Trust, visit their donation page. To donate to the UK based charity, visit their get involved page.

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Article: Harry Styles and Niall Horan perform at the We Can Survive Concert

Article: Harry Styles and Niall Horan perform at the We Can Survive Concert

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November 1st, 2017: On Saturday October 21st, Harry Styles and Niall Horan took to the stage, performing separately as solo artists, for the ‘We Can Survive’ concert hosted by CBS Radio Show at the Hollywood Bowl in Los Angeles. Joining Pink, Sam Smith, Khalid, Lorde, and other outstanding artists, their performances were to benefit breast cancer awareness.

The ‘We Can Survive’ concert was CBS Radio Show’s fifth annual benefit raising awareness and funds to support finding a cure for the women and men who are diagnosed with breast cancer. The intent of the concert is also to celebrate the lives of the brave survivors of breast cancer.

For each ticket sold, Ticketmaster donated $2 to Young Survival Coalition, a charity dedicated to support young women facing breast cancer. From the charity website:

Young Survival Coalition (YSC) is the premier organization dedicated to the critical issues unique to young women who are diagnosed with breast cancer. YSC offers resources, connections and outreach so women feel supported, empowered and hopeful.”

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One of the unique approaches of Young Survival Coalition is to get women connected either online or in person. The connections that are established via online blogs, group meetings or one on one mentoring meetings, create a supportive environment that help young women with breast cancer remain positive and hopeful. These personal connections also help women overcome everyday problems that treatment can cause as well as have concerns about the disease or living with cancer addressed.

Work done by this charity is supported mainly by donations, fundraisers, and by the selling of their merchandise. To learn more about how you can help you can visit their Get Involved page. 

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Article: Founder of A Sibling’s Wish, Sarah Hext attends the Women of The Year Lunch

Article: Founder of A Sibling’s Wish, Sarah Hext attends the Women of The Year Lunch

14691065_1321624251190541_5175405934446639991_nOctober 22nd, 2017: On October 16th Sarah Hext, founder of A Sibling’s Wish and mom of “fly high buddy” Harvey Hext, attended the Women of the Year Lunch in London, UK. In attendance also Camilla Duchess of Cornwall.  The Women of The Year Lunch is an event that celebrates and awards women achievers that would not be otherwise recognized for their work.

Women of the Year inaugural lunch was on September 29th 1955 at the Savoy Hotel in London and was attended by 500 women. When the Women of the Year Lunch started it did not include prizes and no individual woman was singled out, but all were equally celebrated for their work. Much later, since 2001, prizes started to be given out to individual especially inspiring women.

The Women of the Year Lunch was co-founded  by Tony Lothian, Georgina Coleridge, a journalist, and Odette Hallowes, a British spy who was captured and tortured by the Nazis. The idea for the lunch occurred to Tony Lothian when she was refused entry in an event for men only. She therefore had the idea to identify a woman for each of 40 categories of employment and ask them to nominate women peers in their category to be honored with a lunch. Lothian especially was very keen on selecting women that would not be recognized otherwise for their work, instead of choosing women that had been already celebrated and had become well known or famous.

Lothian’s preference for unrecognized inspiring women continues to this day as nicely stated by its current president, Helena Kennedy: “women who do amazing things for each other and other people. There was a time when the lunch was only for women in hats of a certain class. But now it’s a real celebration of women of all backgrounds who have done incredible things. There are women who have been through terrible experiences of losing a child or having cancer. And instead of taking it lying down, they put their pain into doing good for others. Women are fabulous”.

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Sarah Hext can be counted in this category of amazing women who have turned grief into something good for others. Sarah lost Harvey, one of her twin boys (Sarah has also an older daughter Olivia) on November 26th, 2015 from an aggressive form of neuroblastoma. We have talked about Harvey and Sarah in our articles dated 7/30/17,  11/30/169/8/16, 7/19/16, and 5/30/16. Harvey had gotten to know Johannah Deakin, mom of Louis Tomlinson, during a Believe in Magic event and subsequently became friend with Louis himself.

After losing Harvey, Sarah realized that there is little support offered to bereaved children who lose a sibling. So she came up with the idea of creating memory boxes that can be uniquely decorated by each child and that can be used to store memories of the lost sibling. To turn this idea into reality Sarah founded the charity A Sibling’s Wish which celebrated its one year anniversary and delivered its 100th box to a bereaved child this past August. We cannot think of a better person to be honored with the Women of The Year Lunch than Sarah and wish her many more achievements as she continues to help bereaved children.

Pictures credit to Sarah Hext, A Sibling’s Wish, and Women and of Year Lunch website.

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Article: Anne Twist supports Refuge Charity

Article: Anne Twist supports Refuge Charity

October 8th, 2017: On October 6th, Anne Twist, mom of Harry Styles, posted on her Instagram that she and her friend Louise Burcham are supporting the UK based charity Refuge. The Instagram post announced an initiative by the sleepwear company Hush involving donations from the proceeds of a sale of limited edition sleepwear to Refuge. By buying this limited edition PJs, Hush will support one night for a woman and her children at the refuge.

The Refuge charity opened the first safe house for victims of domestic violence in Chiswick, West London, in 1971. Until then domestic violence had been viewed as  private matter, something not discussed openly. Refuge was among the first to begin to lift the stigma of domestic violence and put in place initiatives and operations, such as the safe houses, to help women and their children that are victim of domestic abuse. As of January 2017, Refuge has expanded its reach to include men as well, recognizing that men in both heterosexual and homosexual relationships, can be victims of domestic abuse.

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It is estimated that two women each week are killed in the UK by a partner or ex partner, leaving two families per week bereaved due to domestic violence. Refuge provides at any given day protection and help for 4,600 women across the UK. The charity is founded on the believe that domestic violence should not be tolerated and that women (and men) and their children have the right to live safely and without fear. The charity accomplishes its missions by:

  • Providing a range of services for abused women and their children, including the National Domestic Violence Helpline, refuges across the country, child support workers, outreach services, culturally specific services, and the Athena and Gaia centers. The Gaia center is unique in that it supports victims of all types of violence including domestic violence, sexual violence, stalking, trafficking, prostitution, female genital mutilation, forced marriage and honour-based violence
  • Advocating for the improvements of laws and policies that meet the needs of women and their children that are victim of domestic violence.
  • Helping to prevent domestic violence by researching, educating and raising awareness of  the problem of domestic violence.

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Refuge is supported by several visible individuals in the entertainment industry that are passionate about raising awareness on domestic violence. These include Sir Patrick Stewart, Dame Helen Mirren, Helena Bonham Carter, and Reese Witherspoon, among others. The vitally important work of this charity is supported by donations and fundraisers. You can find out more about how to help by visiting their “Get Involved” page.

 

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