It’s eight years since I started fundraising.
The first young cancer patients I met were Zoe and Ross. I was amazed at their positive attitude in the face of what I saw as a hideous experience. That day, the day I met them, changed me forever. Trite but true. I started listening to family’s experiences and asked lots of questions. ( four years later when we set up its good 2 give all that I had learnt meant that I wanted to support the whole family and in practical ways)
Just over a year later Zoe, who I had got to know better, lost her fight with cancer. She was five days shy of her 18th birthday.
She had been helping me organise two fashion events. I didn’t know whether to go ahead with them or not so spoke to her mum. She had no doubt what we were to do. Go ahead.
The second of those events was held in November 2007 at Cargo and I made the event in honour of Zoe. Several of her friends asked to model to honour her and her mum did too. We had hundreds of guests on two levels. It was probably the most challenging event I had organised!
And it was such a special day.
I needed help so Ian volunteered to manage the ground floor with Peter, a dad of one of the models. A friend of mine Anne Allan (very sadly not with us anymore-taken too soon) was at the event. Her daughter Kirsty had asked if she and a friend could help. They were both still at school and I was very happy to have their help on the night.
Kirsty’s friend was Michaela.
How cruel life can be,eh?
The next time i met Michaela was with her mum at Centotre. She had been diagnosed with a brain tumour the previous year and now wanted to help a charity and remembered me. And so began her association with It’s Good 2 Give.
She would help at events, come to work with me at my office planning events in particular our fashion events. She came every Tuesday with other volunteers. What I remember in particular was how she and her mum paid great attention to her diet, replacing sugar with alternatives. She would bring her box of treats with her and they sure were tasty! They did everything they could to beat the cancer.
Michaela spoke at our first Ball, chatting to Grant with ease. She was so happy then that her tumour had shrunk to the size of a grain of rice. That was just two years ago.
She came to Blingo and was the perfect Young Ambassador for us.
I saw less of her as she returned to college, joined a choir and we had our own tragedy to deal with but it was with horror I read a message from her explaining about the relapse.
Yesterday was a dreadfully sad day to read of her passing. Michaela was a beautiful girl inside and out and her contribution to society was already considerable. Our loss is all she would have contributed further.
But today all I can think of is her family. We’ve been lucky enough to meet mum and dad and nana often. I’ve not met her brother but heard about him from Michaela. Their loss is immense and their lives changed forever.
In my thoughts