Yesterday I spent the day at Telford Town Centre raising money for Macmillan Cancer Support.
I held a bucket on my lap and due to the rules for charities was not allowed to rattle or shake it.
I chose a spot between M&S and Primark as I did not want to block the entrances to the shops and cause a nuisance.
I was surprised at how many people actually stopped and put money in. Some people made me feel invisible and there seemed like a large area between myself and them.
Many young girls stopped and put money in the bucket.
One lady even apologised that she had no change and asked if a £5 note would do?!! I was really surprised at so many people wanting to support this charity.
It was a busy day in the centre with Breakthrough (a breast cancer charity) Cancer Research UK and various other charities collecting in the shopping centre.
When my husband told me breakthrough were collecting further up, I told him to put some money in for us.
As the bucket had been empty when we collected it I was surprised at the weight of it by midday. By 5pm it was nearly full and shoppers were dispersing so we decided to call it a day.
I enjoyed watching the body language, guessing who would give and who would ignore me. Sometimes I was right other times I was surprised.
A couple of times my husband and I not only were given donations but offers of coffees if we wanted them fetching. We accepted the donations but not the drinks. It was lovely to be asked and this got a conversation going along the lines of "we know how hard it is doing this sort of thing". "Aren't you bored yet?"
When we handed the bucket over I was surprised at how heavy it was. Every penny will be counted and every penny means so much to this charity.
Every minute I spent sat between the two shops meant so much knowing I was giving something back to a charity that has supported me and gave me a grant towards the deposit for our wedding. We returned the favour by donating our giftlist to Macmillan and a representative was invited to the wedding to help collect the donations of which we had many.
Macmillan not only provide nurses, they do the following:-
give benefit advice,
offer support and someone to talk to when having a bad day
solve problems many cancer patients face and if they can't solve them get the media involved to raise the issues.
They campaign via email and media to change things that have a huge financial impact on cancer patients e.g. prescription charges
currently they are campaigning on hospital car parking and help with fuel bills as some cancer patients require the heating on all year round and not just in the winter.
Macmillan have support centres throughout the UK where patients, relatives and carers can drop in for support and advice among other things.
I became involved with Macmillan at a conference for cancer patients, carers and professionals and since then I have become a patient cancer voice and my husband last year became a carer cancer voice.
This entails writing letters to MPs. Occasionally appearing on television if required and every cancer voice can say no if this is not an option for them.
I thought long and hard before becoming a cancer voice as I wasn't sure I was up to it. I then thought of those too weak to get the media involved in their lives but facing the same problems I have faced I knew it was the right thing for me to do.
Not everyday is a good day but with Macmillan Cancer Support's assistance I can cope and by being involved with the charity I know I am helping those that follow this horrid journey.
I still get days when I wish I had never been diagnosed with the "C" word I still can't bring myself to say it to myself or about myself. To me I have just had numerous operations for various things and unfortunately the "C" word came up as a diagnosis for a few of them.
If I hadn't had it would I be the person I am today? NO definitely not.
It has taught me not to be materialisitic. Value my friends and family and count my blessings everyday.
I am here for a reason and that is to help others.
Best wishes to everyone