Mother’s moving poem supports Welwyn Garden City-based charity’s Christmas appeal

PUBLISHED: 17:04 13 November 2017 | UPDATED: 17:21 13 November 2017

Willow Christmas Appeal - Stephanie's poem

Willow Christmas Appeal - Stephanie's poem

Willow

A moving poem from a mother to her five-year-old son will feature in a Welwyn Garden City-based charity’s Christmas appeal.

Stephanie's letter Stephanie's letter

There’s the chance to support people living with a serious illness this Christmas at Willow’s Christmas Carol Concert in St Albans on December 5, or through the charity’s Christmas appeal.

Stephanie was supported by Willow following her cancer diagnosis.

Her story will help raise funds for Willow – the only UK charity providing Special Days for seriously ill young adults, helping people in Hertfordshire and beyond.

Stephanie, who had her own Willow Special Day last Christmas, is now sharing her story to help raise funds for other families and individuals facing a difficult time living with a life-threatening illness this winter.

Over the next couple of months, Willow, which is based in Fretherne Road, will receive more than 350 applications from people who are struggling to stay positive in the face of overwhelming news.

Stephanie's letter Stephanie's letter

The 350 Special Day applications received over the Christmas period will see:

• 350 Special Days created

• 1,743 phone calls to beneficiaries to arrange their day

• 480 conversations with doctors, nurses or consultants

• 157 return taxi journeys

• 94 trips across UK railways

Willow Christmas Appeal - Stephanie's poem

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• 16 planes boarded

• 124 hours of West End shows watched

• 75 hotels checked in to

• 43 massages

All donations, large or small, will make a huge difference.

The Hertfordshire Chorus at Willow's Carol Concert in St Albans Cathedral [Picture: Debbie Ram Photography] The Hertfordshire Chorus at Willow's Carol Concert in St Albans Cathedral [Picture: Debbie Ram Photography]

• Donate to Willow’s Christmas Appeal at willowfoundation.org.uk/stephanie

Alternatively, show your support by joining Willow life presidents Bob and Megs Wilson, on Tuesday, December 5 at 7.30pm for an unforgettable festive evening at the charity’s annual Willow Carol Concert at The Cathedral and Abbey Church of St Alban.

The evening will include musical performances from the talented Hertfordshire Chorus, Bishop’s Hatfield Girls’ School Choir and readings by charity beneficiaries and local dignitaries, followed by wine and mince pies.

Willow beneficiary Jackie Scully, who ran this year’s London Marathon in her wedding dress after tying the knot that morning on Cutty Sark at Greenwich, will share her Special Day story at the events.

Jackie said: “Willow changes lives, not just days. When you’re faced with a serious illness, you have no option but to fight.

Bob and Megs Wilson hang a bauble on the Willow Tribute Tree in memory of their daughter, Anna [Picture: Debbie Ram Photography] Bob and Megs Wilson hang a bauble on the Willow Tribute Tree in memory of their daughter, Anna [Picture: Debbie Ram Photography]

“This amazing charity recognises that while surgery, drugs and hospitals are an important part of that fight, so too, is the chance to laugh, love and be reminded of what it is you’re fighting for.

“That one day showed us just how important it is to make every day count.”

Last year more than 60 baubles adorned the Willow Tribute Tree in memory of loved ones.

With a £5 donation to Willow, a decoration will be placed on the tree in memory of a loved one or simply as a symbol of support.

Doors open at 7pm for a 7.30pm start.

Tickets are priced from £6 to £16, depending on view availability, and the price includes a glass of wine and mince pie.

Lucy Kane performs at the Willow Carol Concert in St Albans Cathedral last year [Picture: Debbie Ram Photography] Lucy Kane performs at the Willow Carol Concert in St Albans Cathedral last year [Picture: Debbie Ram Photography]

All tickets can be booked through the St Albans Cathedral box office at www.stalbanscathedral.org

To purchase a Willow Tribute Tree bauble telephone 01707 259777.

The Willow Carol Concert is sponsored by St Albans-based company Borras Construction.

Staff at the company have been fundraising for Willow since 2008.

To date, Willow has provided more than 14,000 Special Days for young adults diagnosed with a life-threatening condition such as cancer, motor neurone disease, cystic fibrosis and Huntington’s disease.

The charity was founded in 1999 by former Arsenal goalkeeper and TV presenter Bob Wilson and his wife, Megs.

Willow is a lasting memorial to their daughter, Anna, who died of cancer aged 31.

Anna’s love of life and the enriching experiences of her own Special Days were the charity’s inspiration.

• For more information visit willowfoundation.org.uk

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