Incredible kindness of our supporters

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To be honest, our supporters are a pretty amazing bunch at all times!

But….. this story is ever so nice.

I was in midst of organising one of our workshops – a Lego one.

Realising how expensive Lego is, I contacted Lego direct.  They were very polite but said they couldn’t help.  Totally fair and I was glad they got back to me quickly.  Often when I write begging I never hear back at all.

So…..there I was sitting on the bus coming home  from a meeting (I am really liking walking and bussing – gives me plenty of much needed thinking time) and I had a lightbulb moment.  Why not ask our supporters if they might be able to help.  Without spending a penny.  How did I think they could do that?

Well, I found Lego products on the Boots website, Tesco and Sainsburys – I said how about using your loyalty points to buy one or two lego kits.

I asked on Facebook and Twitter.

What a response!!

See what happened – Thank you everyone.  We really appreciate your tremendous support.


Au revoir 2012

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Hard to believe, isn’t it?  The end of another year.

It’s Good 2 Give has had a tremendous year starting back in March with our inaugural Ball – at the newly refurbished Sheraton – and when I say newly refurbished I mean it.  General Manager JP Kavanagh was almost having to use smelling salts on me in the afternoon as the painters (yes, the painters), cleaners and joiners finished up.  They were still assembling the lounge tables mid afternoon.   I can tell you now I had palpitations.  Our  hard work paid off though and we had a fabulous night.    Host, Grant Stott was just the best and the band, Corra could have played on.  and on.  and on.  Our guests wanted to stay and dance the night away.    (So much so, we have extended our end time for the 2013 Ball to 2am).

Afternoon tea events and Blingo followed – held at the Caledonian Hotel and Roxburghe Hotel respectively – these are sell out events and deservedly so – great value and great fun.

We got physical too, mind you – taking part in the Dragon Boats race in June – jings, that was a cold day for June down at Ocean Terminal.   We had lots of fun.   and some amazing costumes.
Pedal for Paul was a triumph and I like to think that Paul would have been pretty chuffed with our efforts.   67 cyclists raising over £17000.  Oh and did I mention they cycled 47 miles between Glasgow and Edinburgh?    Susan, Carol and I were there at the finish line to take photos, congratulate them and give out medals.   Gosh, we were proud of them all especially young Charlie Griffiths – who was our youngest cyclist.  Paul’s dad cycled it too – mum, Ruth had broken a bone and couldn’t cycle.   She and I have signed up already for 2013 – this time we want to see over 100 cyclists in the team.    Pretty achievable I think.

We end the year having now raised well over £250,000 in our first three years.   I am proud of that but want to speed things up a bit – so my next challenge is to Double our Money by end 2013.

I hope you will help me do just that. The sooner we get that kind of money in the bank the sooner we can start to create the kind of retreat I dream about for families affected by cancer.

I will tell you all about my ideas and show you our calendar of events early in 2013.

Meantime, let me just  say thank you for all your support and wish you a very happy, healthy and peaceful New Year

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Easter egg decorating

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One of our Young Ambassadors, Ailsa Macgregor, did us proud by organising her first workshop for us – all her own idea she decided to do an Easter Egg decorating.  With extras.  Lots of them.   Like Easter biscuit decorating too (and she had made the biscuits).  Posters to colour in.  Easter chicks to make.  And a little treasure hunt too.

Feedback has been terrific – best workshop ever.   Well done, Ailsa and here’s to the next workshop you organise!

Ailsa is a shining example of a young ambassador for our charity and many other local charities too – she gives of her time, ideas and skills so freely and loves it too.  Exactly what we want to promote and encourage – people of all ages to go out and give.  To whatever charity rocks their boat.   To give their time however little spare time they have or their ideas or skills.  Try it.  It feels good, I promise you.  So does Ailsa!

And, as ever, our special thanks to Edinburgh Airport HIlton Hotel for looking after us so well.


36 hours, 2 workshops, 1 lunch event, 1 shopping trip and a couple of blog posts

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How is it Sunday evening already?

Feels just a moment ago it was Saturday morning and I was preparing to head out to our knitting workshop.  I wonder if there was something in the coffee I bought on the way that speeded up the hours.

Kerry from Knitting for All is a super teacher and even if you think knitting isn’t your thing I urge you to give it a go.  Relaxing, creative and very therapeutic I thoroughly recommend it.  I started as a sceptic – no way was I going to give it a go but we were low on numbers and I felt I should at least try -couldn’t just sit watching them or make coffee or check the phone.  So I made a set of knitting needles.  Then learnt to knit plain.  Made a wee square.  Very neat it was too.

Swiftly moved onto knitting a scarf – I am not happy with it now and plan to unravel it and do it all again. Better.

But yesterday was a day for finishing my tea cosy!  Here is the end result.  Mock me at your peril.  I love it.

Lynne's first tea cosy


Kerry is going to design a tea cosy in our charity colours now with the logo on it too – I can see a lovely winter of knitting ahead.   Oh and I think we can also make some nice hats for Kilimanjaro too!!

I had to dash from the workshop to a Ladies lunch I was speaking at – and hosting a table at – at Le Monde in George Street, Edinburgh.   I know everyone says how impossible George street is now that all busses are rerouted there for the next almost year but we found a really nice traffic warden who let us stop to unload my load of christmas cards and jewellery.  It was in the middle of the road parking bays but one for permit holders.  I was only 2 minutes and my plan only came almost unstuck when I got to the entrance to Le Monde’s nightclub.  The stairs are steep and curved and I had no idea how I was going to manage the granny bag (wheeled trolley) and the suit bag and two other huge bags I had.  To my rescue came two american tourists who offered to look after one or two bags while I took others down in relays.  When I thanked them they said that someone had helped them yesterday at Waverley station and they were happy to pass it on.  Since September is my month of kindness this small act from them meant a great deal to me.

much laughter at Tracey's banter

who's showing who how to make cocktails??

The lunch was superb – Tracey, one of the organising team (rest are Karen G, Karen M and Hazel) was a superb and funny MC.    She had written a wee poem and at the end introduced me – bit of a hard act to follow actually.  There was a cocktail masterclass after the lunch – great entertainment.  Then, well to be honest with 100 women it was just an afternoon of great chat.  Noise level was tremendous.

This morning it was an early start for me and Hannah (co-trustee) as we headed off to Craigie’s Farm at Dalmeny.  We are charity of the year there and John and his wife Kirsteen look after us so well.   Today was a jam making workshop with a difference.   Suitable for all ages as the jam is made in  the freezer!

a wee refreshment before we start picking the berries

John took us for a tractor and trailer ride to the strawberries to pick them – he put 4 year old Victoria in charge of us in the trailer – telling her she had to make sure no one stood up while the tractor was moving.  Oh my, did she take this to heart!  She is quite a character is Victoria.  After picking the strawberries we headed to Kirsteen’s domain – the kitchen.  Hands washed, aprons on, the youngsters amongst us got chopping, mashing, adding sugar and squeezing lemon juice, stirring and pouring.   Voila, jam in the pots.  But wait…….it’s fairy pink.  Looks way too weird to turn into jam.  It feels a bit like when I was little and saw my first washing machine – I sat and watched my clothes going round and round for hours.  I feel that way with this jam.  I keep checking it to see if it’s changed colour yet.   Six hours have passed and it is still fairy pink.  In 18 hours time it has to go into the freezer for at least 3 days.  I shall keep you updated in case you are as intrigued as me.

John showing Victoria what kind of berries to pick

Sammi pouring the jam into tubs

wonderful scottish strawberries

So, from Craigie’s straight to that store that’s always telling us that ‘Every little helps’ to shop for this week’s healthy snacks delivery.  I have changed the delivery day to a Monday so now must shop each Sunday afternoon.  I am not sure of the wisdom of this as I like to spend my Sundays doing admin, reading the papers and defo staying home.   We will give it a few weeks to see how it goes – I think it’s better for the ward to get the snacks each Monday morning and they are who matters.   I had help from a good friend and mum to a young cancer patient.   Laura, the daughter, is having a rotten time just now – nearing the end of treatment she has had her fair share of staying in the ward.  Anyway, Sue helped me choose what to put in this week – lovely fruit pots, strawberry mousses, little cheese portions, nice biscuits and delicious juices.

Dropped Sue off at her house, back to mine and I don’t mind telling you that before I could download the photos from the weekend and write this blog I was sound asleep in a chair!

Much refreshed now, I am off to plan the week ahead and write up my beloved To Do lists.



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Egged on by one of our young supporters I started the process of learning another new skill at the weekend!    Knitting – who’d have thought it.  No one that knows me, that’s for sure.

I had first seen Knitting for all at Craigie’s Farm open weekend and asked Kerry if she would do a workshop for our young cancer patients, siblings and parents.  She was delighted to do it and our first day of six was on saturday.  We made, yes made our own knitting needles and the felt decoration on the end of the needle.  I tell you there was no need for the gym  – our arms got a right workout sanding the needles down.  I had no idea that you made felt with wool and washing up liquid…..

So, as some of our other participants are a wee bit shy, it is my small piece of knitting that I display to you now.  Proudly.  I reckon I can make a scarf for me to wear when doing the Kilimanjaro trek – maybe even one for every participant!! (Oh, might that put them off?)

Next day, at our Kiss the Fish craft workshop our participants made a real variety of things – 4 year old Victoria made a very beautiful painted t shirt and gym bag and loved every minute of it.  She told all of us she loved us!   Iona decopatched a giraffe and her sister Lauren made a beautiful photo frame.  Ellie, who is a bit camera shy, made a very elegant mask and will wear it at our fashion show in November while her cousin Tracey decopatched a hippo.  Rhona, who owns Kiss the Fish, looks after us so well and I thoroughly recommend organising a children’s event or party there – much fun had by all!


and this week’s Guest blogger is…….Laura Gibson

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I am delighted to introduce you to Laura Gibson.

Laura is a quite remarkable girl.  15 and fighting cancer.  It’s a tough journey but she is doing well.  She came along with her mum to one of our workshops and has kindly written this blog post about it.  I will own up right now to being the culprit who forgot the plates and cutlery. (slap on hand). It was a brilliant day.  and the results of our labour are staggeringly beautiful if I say so myself.

On Tuesday 9th August, Lynne had organised for myself and seven other people, all with connections to cancer, to go to the Out of the Blue drill hall in Edinburgh for a silver ring making workshop. Here, we got to make a silver ring with a Scottish stone from scratch. The lovely Ian who runs the Precious Metals workshop guided us through step-by-step. With each of us being complete amateurs (unless you count making pasta jewellery as experience) parts became stressful and proved to be more difficult that Ian made it look. Of course, the fact that we started at 10am meant mine, if not everyone else’s brains weren’t quite fully functioning. We got to choose a pattern and after acid etching the pattern onto the strip of silver and bending it into a ring (I tell you, this is not as easy as it sounds!), then bending the bezel to set the stone, we had a much-needed lunch break. One of the lovely ladies, Janette, had made a quiche whilst her daughter, Hannah made a cake and Lynne provided us with salad and crisps. Unfortunately, no one had thought to bring cutlery or plates, so the café provided us with them. After our hour lunch break of chats and nice food, we got stuck back into work. First, we had to endure a bit of theory and then we cracked on. We got to use the solder torch to set the paste on both the ring and the bezel, which was without a doubt my favourite part of the day. We polished our rings so they were sparkling silver and got the chance to paint them with a polish so the pattern would be a different colour to the ring. Finally, it was beginning to look more like a ring and less like a scratched piece of silver. We then had to set the stone into the bezel and sand the bezel to fit onto the ring, which was the most stressful and longest part of the day. After half an hour of sanding and trying to set the stone, we got to use the solder torch again to set the bezel to the ring and VOILA. We have ourselves a ring. Of course, my mum’s was not quite as good as mine, in fact, no ones was (kidding) but I think it’s safe to say we were all extremely proud of ourselves, and extremely thankful to Ian who helped us along the way.

Music workshop at Bruntsfield

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Yesterday saw us holding our first Music workshop.  Organised by Music Bugs and held at Bruntsfield  it was great fun.  From finger frog puppets, coloured net squares, a technicoloured parachute that Joseph himself would have been proud of, coloured balls, incredible bubbles that floated high in the room for minutes to amazing miniature musical instruments.

Our first four participants loved it – so did their mums.

Thanks to Hilary at Music Bugs for her great ideas and brilliant workshop.  Here’s to many more.

Ellie the very special elephant

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As we start the planning for our Kilimanjaro trek – currently planned for September 2013 to allow for fundraising and training – I’d like to take this opportunity to introduce you to one of our marketing initiatives.

After being at one of our workshops at Kiss the Fish – a simply fantastic craft shop and venue in Stockbridge – I thought it would be fun to have an elephant that the children could decorate for us and we’d take to events.   To encourage donations as well as to recruit trekkers!

That was an ok idea but then one of the mums, Lynsey Mackenzie , came up with the absolutely brilliant idea to decorate the elephant with photos of the families in Ward 2 – past and present and also photos of young people who have inspired me in my fundraising.

Our first ‘Decorate the elephant’  session was last sunday and four young people came with their mums – Sammi, Natalia, Milly and Victoria had a ball making the elephant all pink and pretty – Sammi came up with the name and everyone agreed so we’d like to introduce you to Ellie……..

she is still a work in progress as many families want to add their photo to her.  We hope though to have her finished by the end of June, get her varnished up and take her to all our events.

oh and thanks to Mark (Sammi’s dad) for the scrummy cake he made us to munch on as we decorated!

and here is Ellie after our first session – if you’d like to add your photo to our special elephant then do get in touch

We also have Elmer the elephant to decorate – Elmer is going to be a bit of a fundraiser elephant too – we are inviting businesses and schools to donate to our trek fundraising and we will add their logo to Elmer!

(for the record, our trek fundraising will go entirely to our projects – all trekkers have to pay their own way for our Kilimanjaro trek – so that all money they raise will be for It’s Good 2 Give!)

Our first Cupcake Decorating Workshop

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Thanks to Hard Rock Cafe for hosting our first ever cupcake workshop – and here’s to many more.  What fun!  What an amount of glitter we went through.  Eve at eight our youngest cupcake decorator did a sterling job on her cakes with a wee bit help from dad.   Sammi is a natural at creative stuff – she made a superb fascinator at our fascinator workshop and some very tasty looking cakes at this one.

It was wonderful to see Shannon again – almost  a year to the day since her bone marrow transplant.   Mum and granny came to decorate too –

Our thanks also to Carole Mearns for giving us some great tips on decorating and we look forward to working with her again soon.  In honour of Hard Rock Cafe hosting the event one of our cupcake decorators made a burger cupcake!