I wanted to share the story of an amazing girl called Holly Addison. If any of you watched Surprise Surprise on ITV last night, then you might have already seen her story, but if you didn’t, here it is. Holly’s dad, Gary, died from brain cancer last year aged 45. He was cared for in his final months by a hospice in Staffordshire called Katharine House.
Years ago, I wrote a feature for a magazine on a children’s hospice and visiting it was an emotional challenge. I can genuinely say it was one of the happiest places that I’ve ever been to and it was a struggle to take on board that the children I was meeting all had life limiting illnesses. But, you know, it was so normal. The trouble with cancer, apart from the glaringly obvious, is that it takes away the normality of life and because of the disease all the day to day things we take for granted disappear and the illness takes over. Holly says, “At the time, I was still at University. The staff accommodated for me in every way possible from supplying me with WIFI so that I could Skype my university lectures, to making me tea and feeding me chocolate! I was able to continue with my studies whilst spending every moment with my Dad. Without the support of the staff, I wouldn’t have been able to complete my degree, and I am so thankful my studies were made as easy as they could be”
‘Angels’ is the only word I can use to describe them. They couldn’t do enough for us; not just my dad, but also the whole family. They made me feel like myself again – they made me laugh constantly, feel proud of my university achievements and they just felt like friends you could have a good gossip with. It actually felt like home and it is the thought that they put into everything that means I can look back at that part of my life with treasured and happy memories; not just sadness.”
What hospices are exceptionally good at is helping people take back the normality – those little routines that form the backbone of all of our lives – no matter what stage the illness is at. Hospices understand that life is only going in one direction but they won’t have you propped in a chair in front of the TV, just waiting it out. Katharine House, for example, offers exercise groups, gardening, crafts, painting, hairdressing – all the things you’d probably like to be doing anyway.
Back to Holly Addison, 21, who was so grateful for her father’s care at Katharine House, that she’s been tirelessly fundraising for them, Cancer Research UK and Brain Tumour Research ever since. She has raised thousands of pounds. Hospices are abundant in many, many things, such as love and understanding, care and pain management, but money is not one of them. So, when someone dedicates themselves to ensuring that at least some of the money worries are reduced, everyone wins. Why is this relevant to a beauty blog? Well, not only did Holly get flash-mobbed by Pharrell Williams, but Barry M stepped up to the mark and offered her the opportunity to create a lipgloss where 70% of the proceeds go to Katharine House, where Gary was so lovingly cared for. Holly went along to the Barry M factory, got busy with the colours and came up with such a pretty, wearable gloss in a milky pink that apart from the million reasons above, there is no excuse not to buy it and complete the circle of giving.
Sometimes, the saddest of things can be balanced by the most generous of things. Holly’s beautiful gloss is HERE and the code is LGWHA. It’s £6.99.