Willow blog

How your support has helped create precious memories for seriously ill young adults in 2020

November 25, 2020

How your support has helped create precious memories for seriously ill young adults in 2020

2020 has been a year of big challenges – for Willow itself, but most importantly for the seriously ill people we support. We had to adjust quickly, but in true Willow fashion, we have managed to meet these challenges and continue to find new ways of providing quality of time and quality of life.
In March we made the difficult decision to put our Special Day service on hold. This meant disappointing over 600 seriously ill young men and women, who had been looking forward to their Special Day for months. This was particularly hard as many of them were now shielding and facing months of isolation and uncertainty.
Thanks to your support, Willow was able to adapt its service to the new normal, while remaining forcused on creating magic moments and precious memories.

Virtual Special Days
Lockdown obviously creates challenges for Special Days where we arrange for people to meet their heroes. However, we were able to create a number of virtual Special Days for people like KaediKaedi is 22 and lives with lymphoma. She’s a big fan of Holly Willoughby and Phillip Schofield from This Morning and had asked our Willow Day Makers if it was possible to meet them. Lockdown prevented a personal meeting, but Holly and Phill were able to record a special video message for Kaedi. 

Kaedi was delighted:  This is absolutely amazing! I’m so happy and overwhelmed that they have taken the time to send me a message. Thank you so much for this it has made my day.”

Willow Positivity Packs
We were devastated to put Special Days on hold. But while we couldn’t make Special Days, we could still create Special Moments. That’s why we  teamed up with the brilliant Not Another Bunch Of Flowers to create Willow Positivity Packs. Not Another Bunch  of Flowers was founded by Anikka Burton in 2014, after her own frustrations with gifts when she was diagnosed with breast cancer at 33. Throughout 2020 we have sent out hundreds of packs and we’ve been incredibly touched to hear just what they mean to people. One quote seemed to sum it up very well…

“I have just received the most wonderful box of goodies! I cannot say how much this means to me; we can have fun as a family while locked away from the outside world! Your kindness is very much appreciated. It is a difficult time, but I know we will come out the other side smiling.”

Adapting Special Days to the new normal
We’re pleased to say that after many weeks of consultation with our health advisors, we are now starting to deliver Special Days again. While it’s still not safe to arrange trips to the theatre or sporting events, we are now arranging breaks at holiday homes and parks, and Special Days at home.

We were delighted to be able provide a Special Day at Home for Laura from Dundee who is being treated for lymphoma. She shared her day with her best friend Dawn and their two sons, Connor and Ben. They enjoyed an extra special night in with a Gaming Van, movies, takeaway, board games and lots of goodies.

“Well, what a great night we had. Honestly. Connor and Ben’s faces when they saw the gaming van was brilliant! They absolutely loved it and came out buzzing. They were over the moon with their goody bags. Dawn and I loved the film and it made us laugh lots. Something that cancer has taught me is to appreciate the little things and time with people who make you feel happy. Thanks for providing us with something we will always remember after having such a tough year.”

2020 has been a tough year for everyone. More than ever, your support has helped us to stay strong and focussed on creating special memories for seriously ill young adults and their families. Thank you from everyone at Willow.