7th May 2013 – 21.00pm
Today would have been our 3rd wedding anniversary. How time flies!
Please raise a glass to the amazing Mrs Elise Roberts – never ever forgotten!
26th April 2013 – 13.00pm
Just a quick blog entry to tell you where we’re up to…..and to share a random act of kindness with you.
Well, Elise’s appeal has now reached £628,569 which is fantastic! Thank you.
In terms of our target of £1m, we are still on track for 3rd October 2013 – the 3rd anniversary of Elise’s passing. Yes, in just over 5 months time!
How is that possible I hear you say??! Well, we have some amazing people who are all busying away raising money for us, and I know they wont let us down.
From Elise’s goddaughter Maddie, making keychains and selling them at school, through to over 200 Barclays friends and colleagues climbing Mt Kilimanjaro in September and October, there are so many people helping us.
If you feel you can help in some way, PLEASE do! We need every penny we can raise in order to make sure we continue to help incredibly brave people like Elise. Once we hit £1m, people will not stop being poorly. Nor will The Christie stop needing funds to help them with their research, or the treatment, care, and support of so many other patients……people that could so easily be you or me!
I have seen so many acts of kindness since we set-up the appeal. Honestly, I could write a book. I’m going to leave you with one such ‘random’ act of kindness that happened just this week……..
On Monday, completely out of the blue, I received an email from a Rob and Sue Jones. They explained that they had come across Elise’s site your via the Christie website and it had touched them both, as they have gone through something very similar, whilst with a totally different outcome.
Sue was admitted to Christies in 1984 for the removal of a melanoma and then again in 1987 when the cancer returned.
They went on to say that they felt exceptionally lucky as on both occasions the growths were spotted early enough to ensure that they were removed before spreading beyond control.
They have constantly donated to the Christie over the years, and explained that they feel lucky to be able to have a party for their silver wedding anniversary, which is in June. They have advised guests that they do not want presents, but want them to make a donation to the Elise for Life appeal. Here’s their Justgiving page; www.justgiving.com/robandsuejones
I am so grateful to Rob and Sue, whom I have never met, but it just shows that Elise continues to touch people almost 3 years after her passing, and that there are some incredibly kind people in the world who put other people before themselves. I hope you feel, as I do, that Rob and Sue’s gesture helps to restore your faith in human nature.
14th February 2013
Firstly, and most importantly……£616,578! Brilliant…and thank you so much!!
Now, apart from recognising everyones amazing achievements, and from trying (as honestly, and sometimes painfully) to keep you up to date with Elise’s journey from that initial diagnosis, I’ve tried (occassionally) to put in a few inspitational and heartwarming stories into the Blog that I’ve picked up along the way. Some from media, and some from a handful of the amazingly brave people I’ve met……and believe me, there are so many of them! Today however, I’m going to do something slightly different. I want to share my own thoughts with you on a story that has (albeit indirectly) had an impact on mine and Elise’s journey. I understand that their is a danger with offering out personal opinions, and have never wanted (nor want) the site to be a personal ‘platform’ to voice opinion. It is OUR site….everyone who’s involved in Elise for Life….and you have all ‘made’ its content in some form. That said, I’ve decided to share my thoughts on a certain current and relevant story with you….I hope you enjoy it, and it offersa little food for thought…….
Lance Armstrong – Heaven’s Hero!
Is Lance Armstrong a cheat?…..yes, and he should be dead!
Now, whilst you take a minute to compose yourself after that statement, and exhale that rather large gasp, let me explain…..
Lance Armstrong had cancer. Testicular cancer. When diagnosed in 1996 it had spread to his brain and lungs. He had a 5%-10% chance of survival. The odds were stacked against him. He shouldn’t have survived.
So, ‘Is Lance Armstrong a cheat?’…..yes, and he was riddled with cancer and survived. He cheated death!
Phew, that was close!!
I know and understand that everyone has their own view about Lance Armstrong. That’s their right, to have an opinion.
I want to share mine with you. I’m not asking you to agree with it, just to consider it. I’m sure I don’t have the full facts, and my opinion is only based, as with most people, on what I’ve read.
Why have I written this?….because this man, as I will explain, has had an impact on my life…..and a major one on Elise’s. I feel he is part of our journey, so I wanted to share my view on this sad and sorry tale with you.
Firstly, and probably most controversially, I don’t believe he’s the villain that people portray. In fact, I think that generally, he’s a good guy. There I’ve said it! Furthermore, I’m really sad and disappointed to have read some of the pretty appalling things that have been said about someone who is, after all, just another human being. What is even more shocking, is who those people are that have said those things. I wont name them, but you would be shocked.
So, not in defence of Lance Armstrong, but just to offer an alternative view, here’s my two penneth…..I called it…..Lance Armstrong – Heaven’s Hero!
I love sport! I love everything about it. I love watching it. I love reading about it. I think it’s part of who I am.
What do I love about it? Almost everything. The competition, the rivalry, the dedication, the skill, the mental attitude and toughness it instills in people who take part, and take it seriously. The ‘elite’ sportsmen and women, who win over and over again, like machines. For me, it’s not about the taking part. It’s about being driven to want to be the very best that you can be, and striving to win.
I said I loved almost everything about sport. The bit I detest, is the cheating. It’s everything I despise about sport. It’s the opposite of everything I love about it. It’s for the people who want a short-cut to success. There is no short cut!
I think this is what has made me most sad about the Lance Armstrong affair. He’s admitted to being a cheat. It’s ruined my perception of this superhuman athlete who, like a machine, wins again, and again, and again. He destroys the field, and moves on to the next.
I held him in the same bracket as the Pete Sampras’s, the Michael Schumacher’s, the Michael Johnson’s, the Michael Phelps’s……the list of great’s goes on……in fact I’ve just realised I want to change my name to Michael!
Has he disgraced the sport?….no, he’s let himself down, and those that held him in high regard. No sport is about one person. Has he tainted cycling?…..a little, but was anyone thinking about Lance Armstrong when Bradley Wiggins won the Tour de France, or thousands of people were cheering on the GB Cycling team at the Olympics?…..no.
So, let’s put Lance Armstrong ‘the cyclist’ to one side for a moment. Let’s look at the person…..
Lance Armstrong has fought testicular cancer, and won. His odds of survival were less than 10%…..the same as Elise’s.
He wrote a number of books, his most famous being ‘It’s not about the bike’, and I struggle to think of a more inspiring or inspirational book.
On the back of his illness, he set up the Livestrong Foundation. To date, Livestrong has raised $490million….yes, HALF A BILLION DOLLARS. As a human being, and his contribution to mankind, that’s incredible.
Now, I hear some people saying ‘his book was not about his incredible strength and winning mental attitude’, ‘he took drugs’. Or, ‘he’s raised that money based on lies’.
My answer to those people is simple….I DON’T CARE!
Hang on, hang on…….before you stop reading simply because you think that’s a very simple and silly attitude to take, let me tell you who is right behind me with that view…..
1/ Everyone who has ever read that book, as a cancer sufferer
2/ Anyone who has benefited from that $490million
When Elise was poorly, she read Lance Armstrong’s book. It was the last book she read. It is still sat on top of a pile of books by her side of the bed.
What that book did, was to give her hope. When you have survival odds of less than 10%, you need inspiration and hope to keep going. She kept going because she believed in his story and his attitude to survival. I will always be grateful for that book, and to Lance Armstrong. He helped her fight, and believe. She adopted his mantra of ‘why shouldn’t I be in that 10%?’. It gave her hope. Without hope you are finished!
So, does the fact that his book is now viewed with a raised eyebrow make ANY difference to Elise, or all the people that have passed away, but were inspired enough to keep fighting in the darkest hour of their lives?…..NOT ONE BIT! In fact, I’ll bet that if there was a way of calculating how many hours, days, weeks and months Lance’s book added to patients’ lives, you’d be astonished. That feat alone, although it could never be quantified, should go down as one of the most amazing contributions to mankind ever made. It would be on an unprecendented scale.
So, when people are saying, and I quote….
“It’s disgusting. I feel that Armstrong is a criminal. He’s cheated so many people.” – Team GB Athlete
‘What a snivelling, lying, cheating little wretch Lance Armstrong revealed himself to be’ – UK/US Talkshow host
“This man should be behind bars for what he did. He’s not the first cheat in the sport, but the misery he inflicted on good people separates Lance Armstrong from the pack’’ – Anti-Doping Journalist
‘’a disgusting human being’’ – Team GB Athlete
….I am appalled. Let’s not forget the bigger picture. Sport is sport….he’s cheated, and it saddens me. ‘He’s a disgusting human being’?? Really??
So, in summary, in my eyes, Lance Armstrong cheated at his sport. When his Oncologist said ‘Lance, you need these drugs to survive’, did he think that meant ‘outside of his cancer fight’?…no, he’s an intelligent fella, he knew what he was doing.
He has been stripped of his 7 Tour de France victories, which as a sports lover makes me sad, but, as a human being, what you can’t take away from him is that he has;
1/ Fought and survived a life threatening illness against such massive odds that make him a walking miracle
2/ Offered hope and inspiration to millions of people, most of whom aren’t here today
3/ Raised half a billion dollars to help people who are desperately ill. The world needs amazing people like him to get off their backsides to do something to help complete strangers, other human beings, and mankind in general.
So there it is. Now you know. My title is based on all those amazingly brave people who didn’t make it, and haven’t been here to see the unravelling of Lance’s latest chapter…..just that he gave them hope when they needed it most.
That’s my view, and it ends here. In the words of Jimmy Carr, ‘All I’m saying is……..’
1st January 2013 – 16.00pm
Happy New Year everyone!
I hope you all have a very happy, healthy, and AMAZING 2013!!!
31st December 2012 – 9.00pm
Wow, how time flies. It doesn’t seem 2 minutes since we were sat wondering what 2012 would hold, planning where we wanted to be with the appeal, thinking about our Iceland and Vietnam challenges…..hoping they would be half as successful as China, and starting to look at potential venues for our final challenge in 2013!
Well, I’m proud to report that 2012 was a massive success. We end the year slightly ahead of where I wanted us to be with the appeal….at just under £610,000. Our challenges were amazing, and everyone who took part had an incredible time, and contributed a further £105,000 to our total. Furthermore, we have chosen Mt Kilimanjaro as 2013’s challenge.
Climbing Mt Kilimanjaro – Africa’s highest mountain, and the highest freestanding mountain in the world – is a fitting, and amazing finale to the Elise for Life appeal…..hopefully! It still relies on a new group of fantastic people spending 12 months raising money before what is sure to be one of the most amazing, but hardest things they’ve ever done. It relies on them hitting their minimum sponsorship target.
Hitting the £1m also relies on every single person that has supported us continuing to do their bit. Please don’t think this is all about the overseas challenges. They aren’t for everyone, I know that. The mass participation challenges are simply a way of raising a lot of money fairly quickly. Every single penny, and person, are equally special, and important – please always remember that.
When Elise passed away, I made a promise to The Christie that we would raise the £1m by the 3rd anniversary of Elise’s passing. That date is 3rd October 2013. We are still on target to do that, but make no mistake….I cannot do that on my own. I need your help! You have not let me down so far, and I know you won’t this year – we just need a final push! A huge thank you to my parents, close friends, Elise’s colleagues, and without doubt all the guys at Barclays – you all continue to do her proud, and I could never thank you enough!
So, here we go then…..2013. Let’s make Elise’s wish come true….to improve the outcome of cancer patients, just like her, and to provide The Christie with money to fund their research, and the treatment, care, and support, of so many people.
This year will be very special, for lots of reasons. Please keep supporting us, and watch this space……I will soon be able to reveal some very exciting news!
Very best wishes, and thank you, as always!
29th December 2012 – 11.30am
Happy 40th Birthday Elise!
I know that Elise would NOT have enjoyed reaching the milestone of 40, but would definitely have enjoyed the opportunity to sip a glass (or guzzle a bottle) of pink champagne….her absolute favourite!
Thank you so much for all your amazing messages, cards, and flowers. Elise would be incredibly touched, as I am. Those who have remembered, I will never forget!
25th December 2012 – 10.00am
Just want to say a very happy Christmas to everyone. I hope you all have a very special day with your loved ones.
I would also like to thank all those who have taken some beautiful flowers to the church, and those who have sent me personal messages of support – you’re all very kind, thank you, and thank you for keeping Elise’s name, and memory, alive!
23rd November 2012 – 14.00pm
Just want to say a huge thank you to these two guys……Nick Cunliffe and Paul Taylor.
Nick and Paul both went to Harrytown school with Elise and have just completed the Tatton Half Marathon for Elise for Life. They raised £350 which is fantastic so a big thank you to them, and to everyone who sponsored and supported them.
Cheers guys – Elise would so pleased that you remember her, and would do such a fantastic thing to suport her appeal.
19th November 2012 – 11.30am
Well, now that BOTH groups of Vietnam to Cambodia cyclists have safely crossed the finish line (the 2nd group finished just over 3 hours ago) I feel I can officially say CONGRATULATIONS!!
Congratulations not only to the guys who took part, but every single person who either sponsored them, or supported them in some way.
If I wrote and told you what an amazing bunch of people they are…..the huge amount of money they have generated for Elise for Life….the effort, commitment, and teamwork they put in…..and the experiences they all shared, I could write a book.
I’ve put some more information under the Events tab for you to read, but in summary…..
40 incredible people cycled 449km from Vietnam to Cambodia in 6 days. They did it in 34 degree heat, and will have raised just over £82,000!
Well done everyone who’s not only taken part in 2012’s challenges, but everyone who’s done something to support Elise’s appeal. Our total, thanks to all of you, now stands at £606,110.07
The target for the end of 2012 (£600,000) has already been passed and we still have approx. £12,000 still to come in from the Vietnam trip. The aim, to hit £1m by October 2013 is very much on. That does of course rely on lots of amazing people helping us with one big push! PLEASE do everything you can to help!
21st October 2012 – 22.15pm
Huge thank you to everyone who took part in the bucket collection at Manchester United yesterday. 140 people, 1 cause, and £10,431 raised!
The collection was a record for the club, and The Christie – the biggest total collected at a match.
Well done everyone, and a special thank you to Deb Bate who once again proved how massively important she’s been, and continues to be, to the Elise for Life appeal.
You will also notice our target has moved on to £581,585!!
19th October 2012 – 14.00pm
Just a very quick blog entry to say thank you to Rob Connolly-Holmes, and the countless people who continue to hold events, or indeed just send us cheques in support of Elise’s appeal – you all all amazing, and thank you for continuing to support us, and for not giving up!
Special thanks, and mention, to Doreen and Neil Harrison, Pauline Barker, and Mr & Mrs A Wisedale who just sent a cheque through in the post – you’re all so very kind.
Rob’s wife, Amanda, worked for Elise in Manchester. Earlier this year, she tragically died – she was aged 41. I have met, spoken to, and am in contact with, Rob, who has told me on many occasions about the influence Elise had on Amanda, and the help and support she gave her at work. Rob has even said he felt he knew her, although had never met her. At Amanda’s funeral, Rob paid a lovely tribute to his wife, but also talked of Elise’s influence, and how her appeal was now helping others – he then asked for all donations to go to Elise for Life!
Through the kindness and generosity of Rob, and countless others, I can now reveal that our target has moved on to £571,499 which is fantastic. My aim to have hit £600,000 by year end is well and truly on. In addition we now have 210 people signed up to climb Kilimanjaro next year! The £million is well and truly within our grasp….and within the 3 years I anticipated!
Thank you all, and please KEEP GOING!!!
3rd October 2012 – 9.00am
Well, here we are…..2 years on. It’s hard to believe isn’t it?
2 years since we lost Elise, and it feels like yesterday! I’m not sure if it will ever feel any different…nor should it. What that amazing girl gave us all, and how bravely she fought an impossible situation, should be a constant reminder and source of inspiration to us all.
As I’ve said many times, Elise’s legacy is the appeal that she set up, in her name, for the benefit of others. I’ve been privileged to have met and been inspired by so many amazing people in the pursuit of that £million….and I know there are many more to come!
Aside from the huge benefit to the hospital, and countless patients, her appeal has brought people together from all over the country. They’re part of something very special that has hopefully given them unique experiences, and something which I have no doubt has enriched and enhanced their own lives, and of those people they themselves have come into contact with.
Elise continues to touch people’s lives. Her life with us benefitted so many people in so many ways, but I believe that her death sparked a chain of events….a ripple effect, that will continue to benefit so many people for years and years to come.
Remember our beautiful, smiley, laughing, happy, brave girl today. She would be so proud of you all, as you should be of yourselves, and as I am of her.
God bless Elise.
19th August 2012 – 20.30pm
Ok, ok, so it was an Olympic record, and not the world record. In my defence, he’s still the fastest man on the planet, and did break the world record in the 4x100m relay, as well as a collecting a third Olympic London 2012 medal that night. For those who missed the 5th August blog entry, I am of course referring to one Mr Usain Bolt!
What an incredible four weeks it’s been….
The whole country has been united in supporting a few true hero’s……people have dedicated part of their lives and made a difference to so many…..the hard work has paid off….and the unsung hero’s can now take a bow.
You know of course that I’m not talking about the Olympics?…..I’m talking about the Elise for Life appeal!
Tonight, we’ve gone through £500,000. We’re over half way…..and we are flying.
We are on the run down to the Vietnam to Saigon bike ride in November, and people up and down the country are busy raising money and supporting these guys in their efforts.
In addition, we have 175 people signed up to climb Kilimanjaro next September and October. You thought China was big; this will be twice as big!
Most amazing of all, are the unsung hero’s. People like Gareth Hughes…..he just sends us a cheque. No fuss, no recognition required, just gets on with it, and when he’s done he sends the money and tells us what he’s doing next! Amazing!
Now, you all know that Elise gave us many things. One of her outstanding qualities was that she NEVER EVER GAVE UP. I know so many of you admired her for her determination and tenacity – she was just incredible. For me, this journey has re-affirmed my belief that in life, you just don’t give up….not on your family, your friends, those who stick by you, or the things that are important to you. There have been lots of surprises so far….some good, some bad…and lots of lessons – that words are cheap is but one. I want to use this ‘milestone’ however to say a HUGE thank you to those people who’ve stuck it out, and are still with me. We still have a long way to go with this appeal, and so much work still to do. You are the true hero’s, and I know Elise would be proud to have you in the team!
£500,136.77 is no small amount of money – thank you SO much for all you are doing. But, as I said to the amazing and dedicated Deb Bate on Friday, it isn’t time for the champagne yet (pink of course, Elise wouldn’t have it any other way) it’s time to get the kettle on……we have 58 weeks and 3 days to hit £1m! We WILL do it!
On your marks………get set…………GO!
5th August 2012 – 20.50pm
Well, I reckon it’s one hour until Usain Bolt breaks the world record, and becomes the fastest man on the planet, ever to have lived. Wow, that’ll be some achievement. Aside from that I don’t think anyone would dispute the efforts of Team GB and the whole nation in getting behind, and supporting, some truly dedicated, inspirational, and incredible sporting hero’s.
In a similar, but different way, this is how I feel about everyone who supports our appeal, and The Christie…..incredible! You are no less inspirational, and have one thing that in my eyes sets you above even the gold medal Olympians…..you save people’s lives!
I want to say a massive thank you and congratulations to all the guys who completed the Elise for Life Icelandic Lava Trek last Saturday – you did a great job, and are on target to have raised a massive £25,000. A great effort by all 15 of you!
So, instead of me telling you about them, let me show you what Steve Wright has written. This picture is his new picture on Facebook, which tells its own story. Steve is one of the nicest guys I have had the pleasure of meeting, and these are his words……
Best wishes, Mark
Wow, so much to tell….
Total first – as of today, Elise’s appeal has hit £478,480! That’s fantastic, but in reality it is higher than that. Money is still pouring in from the Iceland trek participants – yes, we go 3 weeks on Wednesday, so will report back on what all this volcanic ash cloud fuss is all about – and the Vietnam bikers. I won’t add the Vietnam totals in until the invoices have been paid, but I anticipate that trip will raise in excess of £85,000! The goal of £600,000 by year end looks feasible.
As I’ve said before, the overseas trips help to bring in the large numbers, but I really do rely on everyone helping, by doing whatever they can. If we are to try and hit £1m by the end of 2013, and achieve Elise’s appeal target in 3 years, then the trips won’t achieve that on their own. Every single penny really does count!
Since the last blog, we have had countless amazing gestures, some of which are as follows;
- Elise’s godchildren Ben and Maddie CONTINUE to make and sell jewellery at their school – they just never give up for Auntie Elise
- James Cliffe has just run the Boston Marathon in a blistering and brutal 32 degree heat – he raised £1631 for Elise though….incredible!
- The ‘plant man’ as we call him – a chap we annually visit for our hanging baskets (and whom I haven’t seen since summer 2010, with Elise) greeted me with his condolences – he remembered! Furthermore, he wouldn’t take any money for this year’s plants – he wanted it to go to Elise’s appeal. Such a kind man.
Thursday saw the retirement of Lesley Birkhead from The Christie charity. I want to mention this very special lady as she has been an incredible support and friend to me since Elise’s passing. Nothing was too much trouble for Lesley and she did anything and everything to help me with the appeal, and just to chat to. She will be a huge loss to The Christie, but I know Lesley and her husband Alan will be good friends for a long time to come.
Elise for Life reaches the other side of the world! – One of our China trekkers, Phillip Walsh has relayed his tales to one Chaturica Edirisinghe, who happens to live in Melbourne, Australia. Guess what?….she’s signed up to come to Vietnam in November. Unbelievable, and fantastic!
Dave Shepherd, one of Elise’s former bosses, has agreed to spearhead a recruitment push for Kilimanjaro. Dave and his team have organised a 4 week campaign across Barclays Retail Bank beginning on the 1st August. The aim….to recruit 120 people!! Thank you Dave. Watch this space!!
In need of a bit of inspiration???……
If you’ve looked at our Kilimanjaro climb for 2013, and thought ‘I couldn’t do that’, then read on;
Let me tell you about 31 year old Canadian, Spencer West.
Spencer spent a year training for his climb of Kilimanjaro’s 19,341 feet. Setting off on June 12th, he and two pals then spent 7 days getting to the top. Now 7 days is slightly longer than most, but so far, pretty standard stuff. Now read this…….
At the age of 5, spencer underwent a double amputation of his legs, having been born with a genetic disorder. He reached the top of the world’s highest freestanding mountain….on his HANDS!
Spencer said “I set out to climb Mt. Kilimanjaro not only to redefine what’s possible for me, but to inspire others to overcome obstacles and challenges of their own, and to give back to communities, that need our help.
“Reaching the peak of Mt. Kilimanjaro was the most mentally and physically challenging thing I have ever done, but in doing so, it reinforced the powerful message behind believing in yourself, and believing in others’’
Despite all the blood, sweat, tears, and blisters, Spencer raised £300,000 for a children’s charity!
Now, please have a think about whether you feel you can actually do this. This man has selflessly demonstrated what it is physically possible to achieve, and how much good one person’s bravery and determination can do for so many other people.
Your dedication and overwhelming support is incredible. It never seems enough to say thank you, but please know that your efforts are so very much appreciated. Elise would be so incredibly proud, but I know exactly what she’s say…..YOU’VE done all the hard work. YOU’VE gone out of your way to help a complete stranger. YOU should be incredibly proud of yourselves. YOU’RE efforts will result in the saving of someone’s life, and when you look at what you’ve achieved in your life, there won’t be many things that top that.
Thank you, and please do what Elise did…..keep going!!
18th May 2012 – 10.30am
Just want to say a massive good luck, and thank you, to all those who are running the BUPA 10k for Elise for Life, and in particular The Christie, on Sunday!
As with everyone who continues to support Elise’s appeal, and the hospital, thank you so much.
7th May 2012 – 4.00pm
3.57pm – 7th May 2010
Thank you to those of you who remembered today!
30th April 2012 – 1.00pm
With the paper telling me it’s only 88 days to go until the Olympics, I thought I should write a sports themed blog!
Where better to start than with Elise’s god-daughter Rachel, who completed the Shakespeare half marathon yesterday, raising over £400 for The Christie, in memory of her granddad Brian, and Elise. Well done Rach, we’re all really proud of you!
There are so many other AMAZING events to report. Here’s just some….
Jen Hillen and her friends very kindly put on a Charity Dressage last Saturday (21st April) and raised over £900 – thank you so much guys!
Tracey, Marco and Dominic are running the 10k for us next month, and Robin Brandon – only just married (congratulations Robin and Natalie) – has agreed, together with 9 friends and colleagues (and the agreement of his wife – get used to it pal) to take on the Welsh 3000 – 15 of the highest peaks in 24 hours!!
There’s also an exciting new event taking place in Manchester on 4th June (Bank Holiday Monday) – the Great Manchester Cycle. It’s a traffic free event, and there is a choice of either 13 miles, 26 miles or 52 miles. I’ve popped in a suggestion for a challenging 1.3 mile course, but am yet to hear back from the organisers!!! If anyone fancies joining me, ESPECIALLY the Vietnam cyclers (see it as ‘training’) then drop me a line. It’s £10 to enter, and we’d of course be doing it for The Christie. You can register at www.greatcycle.org
July’s Walk for Elise event has unfortunately had to be cancelled due to a ‘double booking’ at Arley. Instead, The Christie have kindly offered us 100 places at their Walk of Hope at Tatton Park in September, which is a really lovely event. I’ll put details on the ‘Events’ page later.
We’ve still got about 15 places left for our 450km Vietnam to Cambodia bike ride between 11th & 22nd November 2012 – this will be a stunning cycle, and it’s not too difficult, despite the distance. Another 15 people will raise us over £30,000 so PLEASE think carefully before allowing your eyes to pass over this paragraph.
Now then, if your eyes have passed over the last paragraph because you thought ‘nah, I’ll do the next one’, then boy will you wished you stayed where you were.
Today I’ve launched the Elise for Life Kilimanjaro Summit Climb 2013!
I’m looking for 120 people to join me in either September or October 2013 to climb the world’s largest freestanding mountain – Mt Kilimanjaro, in Africa!
The full details are available by clicking the following link http://www.eliseforlife.org/?page_id=844
I will finish with this….
A chance to take part in an event like this only comes along once in a lifetime. Sure, there are overseas challenges leaving weekly, but none will offer you the following…..
- To be part of the largest single challenge Charity Challenge have undertaken, and they’re the leaders in the business
- To be part of the largest single fundraising event The Christie has ever seen, in terms of monies raised
- To honour the very special memory of Elise, by helping complete her legacy – to raise £1m to help The Christie’s research, and the treatment, care, and support of so many other brave people
- To do something amazing – helping to give 6 people the chance to be part of an Adoptive Cell Therapy trial. It could save their life.
16th April 2012 – 19.00pm
A slightly belated Happy Easter to you all, and thank you to those of you who’ve been kind enough to send your best wishes. I’d also like to say a huge thank you to those who took flowers to the church for Elise….they were all beautiful, and you’re very kind.
Our fundraising is going well, and we have had a lot of interest in our overseas trips. These have proved to be the core of our appeal, in terms of the volume of money they can produce. However, it’s the local events such as bag packs, 10k runs, cake sales etc, which have put us where we are. To demonstrate their importance, take a look at the figures….2011 saw the appeal bring in £345,238. Of that, £230,000 was the China trek, but £115,238 was from these local events.
To date in 2012, I expect the overseas trips to Iceland and Vietnam to bring in a further £150,000, whilst we plan for Kilimanjaro – 2013. The local events however have dropped off and I only anticipate £20,000/£30,000 at this stage.
Whilst I can arrange and co-ordinate the overseas events, I do rely heavily on your fantastic support and would urge you to continue with the same passion and determination you all showed last year….at least until we have achieved Elise’s goal.
I think you come to accept and understand that as time goes on, people drift away, in terms of their commitment. I don’t of course mean people’s best wishes, or the fact that they think any less of Elise, but there are of course many charities and appeals vying for your time, money and support. Of course you can’t support everything, and you also have to live your lives, which are always demanding, and never seem to contain quite enough hours in the day.
What I would ask everyone to remember is that there are still people, just like Elise, who desperately need our help.
Elise was such a special person, with lots of amazing qualities, such as her determination, her tenacity, and the fact that she never ever gave up. Although there are lots of other fantastic causes, please help us to see through her last wish – to help The Christie to treat so many other people like her, and to try and improve the outcomes for other patients. They really do save lives, and they really do need our help.
I would like to say a special thank you to Rachel (Elise’s goddaughter) who has agreed to undertake a half marathon in April in support of The Christie. I really appreciate her ongoing support and I know, like me, she and the family (Anne, Chris, Chris, Margaret, David, Joanne, Mia, Emily, and Lauren) really value the work and support of The Christie. Between Elise, Brian, and Frank, The Christie spent over 15 years taking the very best care of them – they deserve our wholehearted and unconditional support for all they did for us and our loved ones. If you’d like to sponsor Rachel, her Justgiving page is www.justgiving.com/Rachel-Steele1
Since I last posted a blog entry, there have been a number of high profile examples of how fragile and precious life is….something we all need reminding of now and again. I think it sort of keeps us in check, and puts our busy lives into perspective. I say ‘high profile’ as these are people who are looked upon as ‘icons’ or ‘stars’ but whom are no less likely to be struck by a cruel twist of fate than you or I. Fabrice Muamba, Stylian Petrov are just two. What their cases do is make you realise that we all rely so much on the expert care, support and treatment our doctors, nurses and hospitals provide, but often take for granted how lucky we are to have so many of these amazing people and facilities right on our doorstep. The Christie is a prime example.
Please don’t ever forget that The Christie and their patients are so grateful for everything you are doing to help – no matter how big or how small. Every single penny has put us where we are today….£452,460! Elise would be so proud.
I want to leave you with a story from the news today. I hope, as tragic as it is, that it restores your faith in human nature….show’s that beyond the often ugly face of football that we read about, that there are some positive stories….and that you all realise the need to continue Elise’s fight, to raise £1m for The Christie. I think it highlights how that often, the care and support your money provides can be as important as the research and treatments.
On Saturday, Piermario Morosini stepped out to play football for Italian side Liverno. Only 25 years of age, he had already suffered unimaginable grief in his life. His parents both died before he was 18. His brother and sister were both disabled, his brother having committed suicide soon after his parent’s death. His sister relied on him for financial and emotional support.
After 31 minutes of the match, Piermario collapsed after suffering a heart attack. 30 minutes later, he died.
His club, Udinese (he was on loan at Liverno) have said this morning that they will provide lifelong financial aid to his sister.
‘We know the situation of his sister and we as a team, the club, and Udinese for Life have decided to help her because she is in real need’ said the club captain. Udinese for Life is a medical charity linked to the club. “It is essential that we stay at the side of Piermario’s sister for her entire life. She needs us and we want to help, both for her and for Mario.”
There aren’t many good news stories to come out of football, or tragedy….but I think this is one. It highlights that there are people who care, who recognise that life is about doing the right thing, helping others whenever you can, and recognising those less fortunate than yourself. I think you realise that, compared with so many people, we’re all very lucky.
7th March 2012 – 15.30pm
As you may have guessed, there’s lots to report! You may also have noticed our total has now moved on to £447,936 which is fantastic – but think it hasn’t moved on as much as you might have thought from last month. Don’t be fooled!!
Let’s start with Cheshire Police HQ’s dress down day, which raised us £590 (thank you to Jen and the guys), and money continuing to roll in from the Swimathon – more of that in a moment! In the background there are lots of events being planned – only this morning I saw a post on Facebook about the BUPA 10k run, and also a charity golf day at Peover on 15th April – all great stuff!
As far as the overseas trips are concerned, I currently have 56 people signed up for Iceland and Vietnam – based on minimum sponsorship, this should bring in £102,000 – although this figure won’t get added until later in the year, you can see what’s going on behind the scenes! There are still places available on the trips – ideally we need another 5-10 for Iceland, and another 10-20 for Vietnam, so if you feel up for a challenge, or think your friends or colleagues might like to take a look, give me a shout….or visit the ‘Events’ page. Filling those places will raise another £54,000 for the hospital – that alone will treat one person on an Adoptive Cell Therapy trial, so please consider before moving on!
Now then, the Swimathon. Wow, as if inspiration was needed, these guys provided it by the bucket load!
Organised by Paul Giannandrea, 60 swimmers from the Greater Manchester area swam literally hundreds of miles, and thousands of lengths over a 12 month period to raise money for our appeal and the Palliative Care Team at The Christie. They have so far raised over £7,000 with 75% of that going towards the Elise for Life appeal.
Having spoken to some of the individuals, some of whom are suffering from varying degrees of disability (including cancer), their stories are quite breathtaking.
One gentleman I spoke to, who shall remain nameless, is 78 years old. He has had a stroke, can see out of one eye, has had prostate cancer, and three weeks ago had an operation on his bowel at The Christie which, in his words, ‘doesn’t look good’ – he had the operation on the Friday, and on the Tuesday he was back in the pool!
This gentleman, in total, has swum 11,000 lengths, which equates to 175 miles, and has raised us £1000. Now that is one person’s story, and they are all equally amazing. I struggle to put in to words how amazing that achievement is, and how incredibly grateful we are to people like that for doing what they’ve done.
Just to finish, our Walk for Elise will be open for registration by the end of this week – again, please visit the ‘Events’ page for details – this event, as with most is purely down to numbers of people who attend, and pledge to raise us money by way of sponsorship – I need your help with this. Please tell anyone/everyone you know – the more the merrier!
Thank you again for everything you’re doing – please continue to support us!
8th February 2012 – 20.00pm
A slightly belated Happy New Year….or an early one, depending on your take on things. Either way, I wish you the very best of everything!
Well, it’s Olympics year, but I’ll avoid the usual cliché’s that I just know will be hammered out in boardroom’s (or is it boredroom’s) up and down the country. It’s a ‘corporate speak’ extravaganza!!
In keeping with the Olympic theme however, our Elise for Life appeal has reached a fantastic £443,607 and is gathering pace.
We have 3 fantastic events lined up for this year. 2 overseas challenges, and a sponsored walk. There really is something for everyone….
On Sunday 15th July, we have arranged a 5km sponsored Walk for Elise at Arley Hall in Cheshire. This is aimed at families and friends, and we are relying on word of mouth to get as many people involved as possible.
On July 25th we embark on a 5 day trek in Iceland, through the volcanic lava fields – and awesome experience.
On 1st November, we have the first of 2 (possibly 3) trips to Vietnam for a 500km bike ride, finishing in Cambodia. A real once in a lifetime experience not to be missed!
All 3 events are on the website and as usual I am relying on your participation, and willingness to recommend them to your friends, family, and places of work. If we fill these events, I anticipate it bringing in almost £300,000 for the hospital!
Of course these are the appeals’ main events, but I do rely on the same amazing level of support you showed last year to get to our target. Already there have been bag packs, a marathon, a tough guy challenge, completion of a swimathon (to be featured in a separate blog entry next week), a Christmas raffle, and a contribution from my window cleaners. All in all, £14,000 of amazing fundraising effort – thank you so much.
2012 is going to be an incredible year for Elise’s appeal, and I anticipate us being within striking distance by 31st December. Please continue to support us in any way you can – it really does mean so much to so many people. Thank you.
31st December 2011 – 23.00pm
2011, wow! Again, what a year! I think, as you get older, you realise that with every year that passes, there are amazing highs, and desparate lows….everything inbetween is just the general up’s and down’s of daily life.
This year, the amazing highs have been staggering. I often think about the impact Elise had on so many peoples’ lives when she was here, but I now see first hand, everyday, what a huge impact she has on so many people now that she’s not. With that in mind, I had inscribed on Elise’s headstone, ‘Only now can we begin to understand the true meaning of your beautiful life’. She was here for a reason, and I truly believe she was taken for a reason. We will only understand that over time, or when it’s our time.
Elise’s appeal has raised £345,238 this year, taking our total to £429,543. I wanted us to be at £400,000 by Elise’s birthday, and last New Year’s Eve had hoped we’d be at £500,000 by today - technically, with the sign-up’s for 2012′s trips, we are. Either way, what a fantastic effort – I can’t thank you all enough.
As I said, the balance is desparate lows. This year, we lost Elise’s dad, Frank….a truly lovely man, whom I will NEVER forget. I can’t even begin to imagine Pat’s (Elise’s mums) sadness at having lost her husband AND her daughter inside 10 months. Pat’s other daughters have taken to rallying round and ensuring she is looked after and cared for, as you might hope, and expect, but I know Pat misses Elise and Frank every single day, and there can be no substitute for them being here.
We also lost Frank’s brother, Brian, some 2 months earlier. Brian had battled with this dreadful illness for 8 years -again, expertly cared for by The Christie. Brian’s daughter, Anne was Elise’s cousin, and Elise was godmother to her two children, Chris and Rachel. I can’t thank Anne, Chris, Chris, Rachel and their whole family enough for the kindness and support they have shown me over the last 12 months, and through their own terrible loss. Brian was a very special man, and lucky to have such a lovely family around him.
Tomorrow is the beginning of a new year. As far as Elise’s appeal is concerned, WE HAVE TO KEEP GOING! I need your help – please continue to support us in whatever way you can – it means so much. We have to do it for people like Esther – they need our help more than ever.
I would like to leave you with two things….a comment I particulary like from our Book of Celebration, and my own words from last New Years Eve, which I think are as relevant today as they were 12 months ago. Before I do, I would like to wish you all a happy, healthy, amazing 2012 and I hope it brings you all you wish for, and more.
Our memories of Elise are of the smiley, chatty person that she was. She always went out of her way to talk to us whenever we met her. She had a beautiful face, a beautiful smile and an inner goodness that will always be remembered. Geoff and Lesley Calladine
I offer my heartfelt thanks to everyone who has contributed to this year….you have all been amazing. Most of all, I want to thank Elise – you were as inspirational as you were beautiful, and you will always be at the centre of everything I do, until we’re together again. Ironically, our wedding completed your list of ‘things to do’ and it was amazing! Wherever you are, they’re so lucky to have you. We miss you terribly but will try and understand that your work here was done, and continue what you started, and try to do what you did every day – to make a difference to someone else’s life. Mark
29th December 2011 – 17.00pm
I would like to thank everyone for their kind messages, remembering Elise’s birthday. She would have been 39 today. I would also like to thank people for their messages and floral tributes at the church at Christmas….always a magical time that Elise enjoyed. I can hear her as clear as anything, laughing at me saying ‘I may be 39, but I’m still younger than you….and I always will be’!
I also know that Elise would be incredibly proud of where her appeal is at. I did say in a previous entry that I wanted to achieve £400,000 by today, her birthday. Well, we’ve smashed that target. As at today, you have raised an amazing £429,085….nearly £30,000 above where I wanted us to be. That’s phenomenal, but just shows what it’s possible to achieve!
Please remember Elise today, with that beaming smile. The birthday girl!
25th December 2011 – 9.30am
I’ve no doubt that throughout today’s celebrations, all of us who’ve lost someone close will undoubtedly reflect on that ‘missing’ person. They should be here, and we all remember Christmas time with them, in our own way.
I like to think that they’re all having ther own Christmas celebration, somewere else. If that is the case, then I know that Elise’s hand will have shot up in the air when a volunteer was required to hand out the pink champagne!! I think it would definitely be a case of…..one for you, one for me!
They would want us to smile, and laugh….but also to remember those who are still here, facing uncertainty, or those without much hope, or indeed locked in a continued battle with this dreadful illness. Those are the people that we can help, and will continue to do so.
28th November 2011 – 16.45pm
Recently, there has been lots of talk around the China trek, and rightly so. The money continues to roll in from sponsorship, and our overall total today stands at a fantastic £414,320 – thank you so very much!
Today, however, I want to tell you a little story. This story is about a young lady called Esther.
You will have noticed as you read the blog, that there is lots of talk about Elise’s appeal having been set up by her, to help other people who find themselves in a similar situation to her. That is exactly what it is designed to do. Furthermore, I often thank those of you that have supported us with your time, effort, and money, and tell you that you have helped a complete stranger, which is an amazing thing to do. Your money goes towards that stranger’s treatment, care, and support. It also enables The Christie to research new treatments and drugs to help that stranger.
Well now, I’m going to bring that stranger to life…..and tell you about Esther. This young lady is exactly why Elise did what she did, and why you do what you do. I hope as you read it, you are incredibly proud of what you have done, and continue to do. The fact is, there are many more Esther’s who need someone to do something to help them. That someone is us!
This is Esther Allen. She is 30. She’s married, and has a 2 year old little girl called Heidi. She also has Malignant Melanoma.
Her mum, Jane Henderson, sent me an email in August, and we’re now in regular contact. Her first email said this…..
‘Esther was diagnosed on 5th December 2005 and underwent a radical neck dissection to remove 3 tumours. Sadly she had been misdiagnosed aged 16 when a suspect mole was removed from her temple. In 2008 she had local recurrence in a lymph node, and 4 tumours removed from her right lung in February 2010. Six weeks ago she had a tumour removed from her right iliac crest. Because of Elise’s website I found and emailed Paul Lorigan (Elise’s oncologist) and he replied swiftly, suggesting that when Esther has a reccurrence that her TIL’s (tumour infiltrating lymphocytes) are harvested and frozen. This has greatly encouraged Esther. To have hope, is everything.’
‘Having trawled through 1077 clinical trials for melanoma on the WHO (World Health Organisation) website, and receiving information from Bethesda Maryland (Steven Rosenberg) it seems that American Citizens are desperately in a queue for the ACT (Adoptive Cell Therapy) trials and very unlikely that a UK citizen would be accepted. So Elise’s website has been my best find. I am so sorry that you lost your lovely wife Elise. Thanks to her for setting up this website and giving Esther something to cling to.’
Adoptive Cell Therapy research and trials is being carried out in Manchester at The Christie, in conjunction with Manchester University. It is this that the ‘research’ part of the money we raise is funding. The Christie is the ONLY place in the UK that carries out this work, and those who attended the reception evening after the China trek will have heard Professor Hawkins talking about this exciting development and work.
Last weeks email from Jane continues……
‘Without Elise’s appeal we would not have known of ACT at the Christie and knowing it is within our grasp means so much. Esther is NED – No Evidence of Disease - since the tumour from her hip was removed in June, and is doing well. We are on 3 monthly CT scans and the next one is after Xmas. In Paul Lorigan’s email to me in August after my enquiry he said that he knew our oncologist well, Sarah Danson, and that we were in good hands. He said should Esther run into further difficulties then he suggested harvesting her TIL’s and deep freezing them and then she would have to try drug therapy before ACT. He copied Sarah Danson into this email and she was delighted that I had found out about this. She didn’t know anything about this as it is not part of the NHS treatment she has available to offer. She has asked me to let her know of anything else I find out. But all of us want to win. Our brilliant doctors have their hands tied by standard limited treatment protocols. What you and Elise have done by supporting these new promising treatments and getting them off the ground is giving my daughter and people in her situation a true chance and a real hope. All I can say to both of you is thank you, thank you, thank you.
I also met a 40 year old father of 3 who is stage 4 with lung metastasis. He is very well informed on treatments and trials for melanoma worldwide and told me that he was hoping to go to the US to Steven Rosenberg in the New Year if he could get his company to fund it. He is Braf + (a defective gene) and is on a vemurafenib trial which has a positive response window of up to 18 months. He needs a plan B for when he stops responding. I told him about Paul Lorigan and ACT in Manchester and he was very surprised with all his contacts in this country and worldwide that there was something about to happen in Manchester that he knew nothing of. Because of Elise for life he is contacting Paul Lorigan and he will let me know the outcome soon.’
To finish, Jane went on to say…….
Esther’s husband bought her a recording session in Manchester for her 30th birthday because she never stops singing. In the house in the car etc. She has never done karaoke or sung in front of anyone and she’s not Barabra Streisand but she’s in tune and it’s very pleasant to listen to. We have made a few of these CD’s to raise money and are selling black wristbands that say HOPE and BEAT MELANOMA for £2 and have been raising money for Weston Park, Sheffield. We are now intending to split our charitable donations to support also the Adoptive Cell Therapy research at the Christie.
How fantastic is that?! I’ve asked Jane for some of the CD’s and wristbands, so we’ll be selling these soon…..I’ll put details on the site!
Now, I hope you are as proud as I am to read all of that?! What YOU and ELISE have done is to give not only Esther, but her husband, her daughter, her whole family, her friends, her colleagues….and others, like the 40 year old father of 3….hope! No matter how tough things are, they know that there are people like YOU out there doing everything you can to them a chance. THAT is what this is all about! Let me tell you, when you’re in that situation, that is all you want to know….that people are doing everything they can to help you. Esther is just like Elise….beautiful, full of life, brave, and determined. Elise would be the first to say ‘Esther is here, she’s very much alive, do all you can to help her, and others’!
So, Jane’s email has brought that ‘stranger’ to life.
Let’s continue doing what we’re doing, it clearly has such a positive effect on real people…people like Esther.
I’m going to finish by quoting Elise’s last blog entry…..
‘We are experiencing first hand how truly amazing The Christie is. No matter what the future holds, achieving our target will mean so much to so many people, you have no idea – please do it for me. Elise xxx’
Now you do have an idea!
14th November 2011 – 17.30pm
It was so good to see so many of Elise’s friends and colleagues at The Christie on Thursday night, and a huge thank you to The Christie for the reception they put on.
A special thank you to Professor Hawkins, Caroline Shaw, Helen Fearns, and to Marco and Caroline for pulling the evening together, as well as so many of their colleagues who worked on the evening to ensure everyone had a great time….which they did!
As a follow-on from the evening, I’m delighted to share with you Caroline Shaw’s Blog (below) and also to announce that Caroline has agreed to take part in our 2012 Vietnam to Cambodia Bike Ride, which is fantastic news and support for Elise for Life!
Great fundraising is always worth celebrating
Posted November 11th 2011
Last night I attended a fantastic reception to celebrate the life of a truly wonderful fundraiser called Elise Roberts. Sadly Elise passed away last year after being diagnosed with malignant melanoma but before she died, Elise was determined to raise money for The Christie to thank staff for the care she received.
Following her death, Elise’s family and friends vowed to continue her incredible fundraising and last night was a great opportunity for me to personally thank Elise for Life for raising a fantastic sum of money for us.
It was great to see so many inspirational people together in one room last night, sharing memories of Elise and also stories about their fundraising. In October a huge team of them trekked across the Great Wall of China, which I hear was an unforgettable experience.
Sadly, I’m not always able to meet Christie supporters who make such a difference to the lives of our patients. Over the years we have had thousands of fantastic supporters who have gone above and beyond to raise vital funds for our cancer centre and I always wish I could shake their hands to thank them for the support they give us. So I absolutely love getting involved with receptions like the Elise for Life event so I can show my appreciation.
Hearing the stories last night really showed me just how much people can put the fun into fundraising, while supporting a good cause. From climbing mountains to holding cake sales, no matter what people do, as long as they enjoy it, then I always welcome anyone who wants to support our charity in whatever way they can.
So this isn’t just a thank you to Elise for Life – it’s a thank you to everyone who has raised a single penny for The Christie. Your dedication to supporting our patients is something I’ll always be grateful for.
10th November 2011 – 11.30am
With everyone safely back in the UK, tonight sees a thank you reception for the China trekkers, hosted by, and at, The Christie.
This morning, I have proudly amended the website to include the magnificent total the trek has raised (£211,033 to date), and also our overall total which now stands at £404,141!! I wanted £400,000 before Elise’s birthday (29th December) and you’ve done it with 49 days to spare! Thank you so much.
Tonight is quite rightly a celebration of the trek and the achievement of everyone who took part, and for everyone who supported them.
Tomorrow, we go again….
We still have £596,000 to go. We have planned 2 overseas tips for next year…..details are now on the site, under 2012 Challenges on the Events tab.
Of course I am massively reliant on everyone continuing to support us in whatever way you can……cake sales, car boot sales, themed evenings/events etc etc
PLEASE continue to support us – we’re doing well, but we must keep going – there are so many people who rely on our generosity and support.
Thank you again for everything you are doing.
29th October 2011 – 15.00pm (China time)
Well, we’ve done it…..the Elise for Life Great Wall Challenge is officially completed….well, almost.
24 hours ago, both groups successfully crossed the line, at the end of 15 months ard work. Fundraising and completing the trek are a challenge….as we advertised….but there are no words that could possibly thank people for the time, effort and money that they’ve put into this trip.
A huge thank you to Jo Warren and the team at Charity Challenge for keeping us safe, and running the logistics….a huge thank you to Marco and the team at The Christie for their help and support….a thank you to every single person who’s fundraised and sponsored someone to take part….and a massive thank you to every single person who completed the trek. You are all incredible, and should be very proud!
So far, this trip has raised a staggering £203,226…..taking our overall target to £396,211!
We’re doing well…..now we must focus on next year, and maintain momentum!
Thank you so very much.
(This trip is dedicated to the memory of Elise, Nigel Black, and Louise Acton…..and the countless others we have lost, but not in vain)
24th October 2011 – 17.45pm (China time)
Another incredibly proud moment – we’ve today passed the £200,000 mark for the Elise for Life Great Wall Challenge, with a new total of £201,657.23 and money still coming in. This takes our overall total to £383,717.10!
Our new groups have arrived safely, and have just completed their first day. Here’s a group shot of our Group 3 at the end of a trek through Black Dragon Pools National Park….
21st October 2011 – 17.30pm (China time)
Well, I’m incredibly proud to say that at 12.00 midday today, our first 2 groups of Great Wall trekkers completed their challenge here in Beijing!
It was emotional, incredible, awesome, unbelievable, life-changing……all words used to describe the week by some of the guys! We’ve had no injuries, but plenty of tears, and plenty of personal challenges smashed! It’s been an amazing week!!
To top it all off (and you can read the blog – once I’ve had a shower and put some CLEAN clothes on – under ‘Events’ ‘Great Wall of China’ tabs on this site) is that as at yesterday morning, we had raised £197,836.99 from this trip!
At the top, the sun was shining, I’m sure courtesy of Elise who would be INCREDIBLY proud of everyone…..participants, donors, and supporters. You may have seen this has taken our total to £377,614.10 with money still pouring in!
We have another 2 groups flying out tomorrow….please support them if you can, and guys that are coming out, boy are you in for a treat!
Thank you so very much!
3rd October 2011
It is 12 months to the day since we lost our treasured Elise. I know, it seems like yesterday. On the other hand, for those of us close to her, it has been a long and painful year. A year of ‘firsts’ but, in many ways, for me, every single day is the same. She’s simply not here.
I know Elise would be incredibly proud of what’s been achieved in her name, and extremely humbled by the generosity of so many people, and the kindness of their words and actions. I also know that she would be keen to stress that we MUST keep going, just as she did, and countless people do day in and day out who are faced with seemingly impossible situations in their lives. We must see the job through.
I have wanted to make this website as personal as it can be, no matter how painful to write at times. I believe that to truly understand, you must be given all the facts, good and bad, happy and sad, funny and not so funny. I thank you for the support and kindness you have shown me in your responses – by that I not only mean your messages, but your time, your effort, and your money. I know times are hard – thank you so much. I hope you decide to stick around – things are about to get bigger and better, I promise.
Elise was always laughing, always smiling, just the loveliest person you could ever meet. She had a quiet determination in anything and everything she did. She was beautiful, kind, thoughtful, caring….and so very brave. I loved her to bits, and I know you all did too.
Let’s see her appeal through – I think it’s the least we owe her.
Elise we will never ever forget!
28th September 2011 – 11.00am
A very quick post to let you all know that this morning we’ve hit £350,000 with the monies from the fantastic Gadbrook Globes night, held by Elise’s colleagues at Mere. We’re on target to hit £400,000 by Elise’s birthday (29th December), but we still need every penny. If you’d like to sponsor any of the China Trekkers, please visit the home page and hit donate – we go in 17 days!
I’d also like to share this picture with you. I hadn’t seen it until a few days ago. It’s a happy, smiley Elise (as always) just after she’d won her Barclays Women of the Year award in 2008 – she was so proud, and it was partly due to her fundraising efforts for The Christie! I’m sure if it was being presented today, on the back of the new total, with all your help, it’d be gold plated…at least!
I challenge you not to smile…….
19th September 2011 – 10.30am
With the incomprehensible tragedy and sadness of the last 12 months in mind, I thought it a good time to get some positive, uplifting, and inspirational news out to everyone.
Before I do that, I feel it only fitting and right to mention those people particularly in our thoughts as we approach the anniversary of the passing our amazingly brave, and beautiful Elise. Namely, Brian Astle who passed away at the end of June. Louise Acton, one of our China walkers, who died in early August. Finally, Frank Astle (Elise’s dad) who died at the end of August. You were amazing people, and will be in our thoughts forevermore. I know their passing will give us all the additional impetus to see through Elise’s wish, to help with the treatment, care and support of so many other brave, but poorly people.
So, I have two bits of great news….
Firstly, the licensing of Ipilimumab. This is the trial drug that Dr Lorigan managed to obtain for Elise – the very latest treatment for Malignant Melanoma.
Through our time spent at The Christie, and the overwhelming support Elise’s appeal has generated, I have met some amazing people. Two such people are Richard and Judith Jackson. Richard has been successfully treated with Ipilimumab, and was our beacon of hope throughout treatment. He is living proof of the groundbreaking steps that are being made with this illness, and his story is one we simply must replicate. We can only do this by continuing to raise money to fund the use of this drug. A four dose treatment costs £75,000. It’s a lot of money, but what price a life??
This brings me on to the second bit of news…..
I have just amended the website to incorporate the monies that our China trip has raised so far. It has taken our total to date to £334,147 – not bad for 14 months?! I am hoping to reach £400,000 by Elise’s birthday (29th December) so PLEASE keep doing what you’re doing – although fantastic, we’ve still got a long way to go. We will absolutely smash the target!
To put this amount of money into context, it means The Christie can treat 4 people with the Ipilimumab drug. On the basis that drug works for approximately 50% of the people that are treated with it, it’s quite possible that we have extended the lives of 2 people. Better than that, Richard is the proof that it is possible we could have saved their life – how amazing is that?? It is very easy to say, or to write, that you may have saved someone’s life, but please take a minute to fully understand exactly what that means to that person, their partner, their family, their friends, their colleagues….it’s an AMAZING thing, and that’s what your money, time, and effort has done. Please don’t ever underestimate how much so many people appreciate everything you are doing to help them.
Apart from PLEASE KEEP GOING, and thank you for what you are doing, what more could I possibly add to that??
With all continued best wishes,
6th September 2011 – 17.00pm
I am sure you would all want to join me in extending deepest sympathy and condolences to Pat, Elise’s mum, on the death of Frank, her husband and Elise’s dad.
Today was Frank’s funeral following his passing on 26th August after a short battle with this dreadful illness.
Personally, I would like to thank everyone for the many messages of support, and for the number of donations to Elise’s appeal, of which I know Frank would wholeheartedly approve. Frank was very proud of Elise for helping and suporting the hospital where they were both treated, and in helping to try in some small way find a cure for the illness which so tragically claimed them both, as well as Franks brother Brian, in the last 12 months.
Frank, you were a wonderful man, and so very brave. You will be missed by all of us, but know that together with Elise, and Brian, you will keep an eye on us all until were together again.
8th August 2011 – 11.00am
Some mixed news this morning……
On a positive note, The Christie’s quarterly appeal, at the close of play last Friday, had raised £40,462 – which is just fantastic news! This means that one person will be funded on a clinical trial for Melanoma. We know only too well how much hope that can bring to someone – thank you so much to all those people who have given up there hard earned cash to help another person – you really are lifesavers!
From one end of the scale to the other, I am so very sad to report the passing of Louise Acton, one of our China trekkers.
Not clear of the details, I won’t discuss what happened, suffice to say I am devastated at the news of her death. Although I did not know Louise well, she was a huge supporter of Elise’s appeal and had been involved in aranging several fantastic events, and raised a huge amount of money for The Christie, together with her immediate colleagues and friends. For that, I know that she gave her time, effort and money to help others – what an amazing person. I will never forget what she did.
From myself, my family, and everyone associated with Elise’s appeal, my heart goes out to Joe, Taylor, and all Louise’s family, colleagues and friends.
25th July 2011 – 18.00pm
Wow, you guys have been busy!
So, in keeping with previous blog entries, I’d like to say a few thank you’s, let you know what’s happening, and finish by giving you something to reflect on!
Ok, before any of that, let me tell you I’ve just amended the total to a massive £165,613. What’s even more staggering is that it’s looking increasingly likely that our China trek will raise £200,000. My own target of £400,000 by Elise’s birthday (29th December) is ON! Given this will be 18 months into the appeal, you should all be extremely proud!
Since I last wrote there have been literally dozens of events – mostly by people raising their China sponsorship monies, but the buzz and activity this has generated has been unbelievable!
I want to say a couple of thank you’s. Firstly to young Michael – our friends, Ian and Nicola’s little boy. Michael raised money at school by asking people to sponsor him to climb Snowdon in Wales. On Saturday 11th June, Ian, Nicola and myself followed Michael up to the top and down again. 9 miles and 5 hours later, we did it. Well done Michael – Auntie Elise would be very proud!
Secondly, Elise’s godchildren, Ben and Maddie made and sold paper ‘fortune tellers’ (hey, google it like I had to!) at school to their friends. Well done you two – Auntie Elise would’ve wanted a go!!
I think it’s all too easy to get caught up in the huge amounts that are being raised from trips and events. These kids have worked just as hard as the rest of us and deserve some recognition – we’re all in it together!
Right then, what’s happening???…..well, lots!
The Christie’s quarterly appeal has raised (in the first 3 weeks) £37,714 towards funding a clinical trial. Just amazing. I hope to report by the end of the week that we’ve achieved the £40,000 we hoped for.
The fundraising film will be on the website by the end of the week – it’s very special, and has Elise talking about what an amazing place The Christie is.
Next years overseas trip is nearly finalised – watch this space.
We are currently considering a Winter Ball – again, watch this space
Also up for consideration is a Walk for Elise at Tatton Park – this will enable families to be involved.
Plus, lots lots more….
Now, you will know that I greatly believe that it’s only very special people that are taken young, once their work here on earth is done. In fact, I believe that they have another job to do somewhere else and we will only truly understand that when it is our time.
So, whether or not you share my belief, if you want to feel truly uplifted, please read this story about Karis – The Little Helper
Finally, to every single person reading this blog…..I want you to understand what an amazing thing you’re doing in supporting Elise’s appeal. Let me remind you why….
No matter how successful you are, or aren’t. No matter how popular you are, or aren’t. No matter how much or how little money you have in the bank, and no matter what you have become, or go on to become…. You will never do anything more amazing in your life than help to save someone elses. By supporting Elise’s appeal, and helping us to that £1m, you will be doing just that. Clinical trials don’t work for everyone, but the percentages show that in all probability, we will save someone. How amazing is that?!
29th June 2011 – 22.55pm
Well today, 25000 envelopes have hit peoples’ doormats – these 25000 people are generous members of the public who have given to The Christie on previous occasions. The envelopes contain Elise’s story, and are asking for £40,000 to fund a clinical trial, and help to save someone’s life! This is The Christie’s quarterly mail campaign, and is for Elise for Life!!
Rachel Hunybun at The Christie hs been amazing, as to have the guys at Whitewater, the London based marketing company who have put the campaign togther with Rachel.
I will of course feed back on the success of this initiative, but in the meantime you can see The Christie’s webpage including a short film, which includes Elise – it’s well worth a watch! The link is http://www.christies.org/elisesappeal/ - alternatively, type ‘Elises appeal’ on YouTube, or in Google, and it’s there!
18th June 2011 – 17.00pm
A huge thank you to The Vale School Of Dance’s 25th for supporting Elise for Life with their anniversary show. Elise was one of the first pupils of the school and Kate Charlton (principle) kindly let us fundraise at the shows. The dancers were all fantastic, with one of the favourites being Bongo and also Lollipop with the little ones from Moor Allerton.
There were two raffles and a silent auction; everyone was so generous we raised a massive £1,278!! Thank you so much to all the people who contributed to our fundraising appeal. I must at this point make some special thank you’s; firstly to Kate & her dancers for allowing us to fundraise during the show, secondly thanks to Juliet and thank you to Leah Zentek for helping out during the interval and all the Plaza staff who took buckets at the end of the evening & encourage people to part with their loose change.
6th June 2011 – 16.00pm
An article in this Saturday’s paper was entitled ‘Russian man who buried himself alive for luck, found dead in the morning!’ An uplifting alternative, and equally true story, could easily have had the headline ‘Elise for Life Ladies Lunch raises £16,400 for The Christie!’
For those of you who weren’t there, and don’t worry we’ll definitely be repeating it next year, Friday saw the inaugural, and hugely successful, Elise for Life Ladies Lunch. Let me tell you about it….
The day was beautifully sunny, and very warm! It was Elise’s day, and I’ve no doubt she had a hand in setting us up with the perfect weather.
Whilst a clear blue sky and 25 degree temperatures wouldn’t usually tempt many ladies indoors, pink champagne, an appearance in Cheshire Life, Take That tickets and a tale of girl power on a super human scale, had those 3 inch heels clip-clopping down Deansgate faster than Usain Bolt on performance enhancing drugs! Their destination……The Lowry!
On arrival, Celebre Art’s collection of memorabilia for our silent auction was the perfect back-drop to photographer Paul snapping away for a couple of this months publications….Cheshire Life being one! Chelsea Norris of Key 103, our fabulous host, kept order and ensured a packed itinerary was timed to perfection. Lunch followed The Christie’s CEO, Caroline Shaw’s address, and our envelope draw took place before our guest speaker was introduced…..Debra Searle MBE.
As well as a genuine ‘Sporty Spice’ (but with good looks!) Debra is such a lovely person, and told of her own very moving, and inspirational story of courage and sheer determination in the face of adversity. Having been ‘abandoned’ by her husband mid-Atlantic, she single-handedly rowed for the next 3 months, arriving in Barbados, having been disqualified from the race she set off competing in, to a deserved hero’s welcome!
Debra was a perfect choice for Elise’s lunch, with uncannily similar traits……a will to succeed, bravery, inspiration, kindness and compassion….Elise would’ve wholeheartedly approved!
Before our live auction, and closing speeches, was a very special moment…..the first screening of the Elise for Life film, produced by BDA who I am personally so very grateful to for a perfect tribute to Elise, and insight into the appeal.
Elise had often worked with Olly and his team at BDA, and they had footage of Elise from her success at the Business Women of the Year awards in 2008, together with other Barclays promotional films Elise had been involved in.
As bizarre, and tragically ironic as Saturday’s actual headline was, so were some parts of our film. Seeing and hearing Elise talking so passionately about what an amazing place The Christie is, and why it was so close to her heart, surely raised a few tears. I wasn’t in the room, but sat outside, listening to the audio….with tears of my own. It’s a beautiful piece, and I have no doubt it will help us in our cause. We will put this clip on the website shortly for all to see.
Following the tissues, came the live auction……
Ladies, you were so generous! We raised a huge amount from this, and managed to avoid any hand bag fights or bun throwing……oh, apparently it’s only the fellas that do that!
Chelsea and Nola said the thank you’s and the day drew to a partially inebriated conclusion…..although I know Mary, Juliet, Izzy, Raz, and Lucy aren’t comfortable with the word partially…..so moved to another bar to work on removing that word from the above statement!
Personally, I want to thank my mum, and Lesley from The Christie for all their support in making this day something Elise would be proud to put her name too, and would’ve loved to attend!
Chelsea, Caroline and Debra, you were amazing…..thank you, and thank you to everyone who attended or donated prizes, particularly Patricia Keenan, and Rob Hawthorn at Barclays.
Your money continues to support The Christie’s efforts to eradicate this dreadful illness. We now move on. Thank you from all the people you are helping….and there are many!
12th May 2011 – 23.00pm
Well, what a hectic few weeks. GOOD hectic that is!
I know lots of people have been busy either planning fundraising activities, or being involved in events. Either way, it’s raising lots of money for such an amazing cause. Thank you.
With that comes a plea to keep going! Maintaining momentum is going to be the key to getting us to our target. In many ways, whilst Elise was being treated, or in the days and weeks following Elise’s passing, there was a huge amount of interest and activity, and of course there still is. Naturally however, as time passes, maintaining that huge wave of support is the challenge – that said, I have 100% confidence. If it’s possible, it’s stronger than ever!
Last week I was back in the conservatory and gardens at The Christie, where Elise and I spent some lovely times in those last few weeks. It’s a place of peace and quiet in a very busy hospital. We were there to make a short film about Elise and the appeal, which I hope to be able to share with you in the next couple of weeks. Whilst there, and seeing other patients with their families, it once again served as a reminder as to why what we’re doing is so important. Let me tell you….
Everyone knows that financially, times are tough. As if feeling it in your work, as well as your pocket wasn’t enough, you only have to turn the telly on to be reminded how ‘critical’ the economy is. Well, when it comes to good causes, and I believe ours is as good as it gets, let me remind you about Comic Relief. £74m in one night! I’ll bet next year the economy wont be much different, but I’ll bet Comic Relief gets near to £100m! This just demonstrates how amazing and generous the public in this Country are when it comes to charitable causes. So, PLEASE keep going.
Why?…..Well, because those patients in that hospital have one fundamental need….HOPE. As individuals, we rely on the doctors and scientists to do the research, that finds the drug to treat, or the drugs to cure, this dreadful illness. That research, and those drugs, need paying for. Our money does that, and gives those patients hope. I witnessed this first hand with Elise. For 8 ½ of the 9 months she battled with this illness, she had a belly full of fight, and was braver than anyone I’ve ever met. Why, because she had hope. She knew the drugs were there, and her attitude was ‘why shouldn’t I be in the 5% or 10% to respond’. Without those drugs, or that research, or that care and support there is no hope, and we must never let that happen. We owe it to Elise, and all those brave people faced with such a difficult battle. If they could swap places with us and raise the money themselves, I know they would. They can’t, so we have to do it for them.
Now’s the time to dig in guys. Comic Relief’s shown the money’s still there……let’s go get it!
3rd April 2011 – 18.30pm
I’m sure most of you know it’s 6 months to the day since Elise quietly slipped away. I can’t speak for you, but for me it’s as painful today as it was on that day, and the weeks and months leading up to it. Life is just not the same for any of us, nor will it ever be.
I understand that people deal with grief in very different ways, and also that there are no rules. Nobody can tell you what to believe or how to be. You just have to work through it best you can, and know that there are lots of us feeling the same, and thinking about her constantly. We are all there for each other in whatever way we need to be – nobody should feel on their own, or unable to talk openly about Elise. She’s still with us!
I used the words ‘quietly slipped away’ for good reason because she rarely did ANYTHING quietly! I think it’s a great time to remind people what an amazing and very special person Elise was, and full of life….and mischief! Here’s some thoughts and stories I want to share with you. I hope they make you smile….and laugh….and maybe shed a tear. NEVER EVER FORGET, Elise was one in a million!
- In 2008, we went to Valencia to watch the Grand Prix with Nic and Mike. The weather was very hot. I decided I needed a cap, so one morning we set off to find me a hat! We ended up in a department store – quite posh – the hats were on the first floor in the ‘sports section’! As I was trying on a cap, out of the corner of my eye I noticed something flash past me. It was Elise on a skateboard! Yes, 35 years of age, BOMBING up and down this department store on a skateboard!!!! We couldn’t stop her, but eventually she got off, put it back on the shelf, shrugged her shoulders and said….’I just wanted a go!’
- Elise LOVED having a go at things. As much as her life was tragically short in many respects, she lived her life to the limit and has done so many things…..parachute jumps, thrill rides, flying lessons, assault courses, ran a marathon for Francis House, travelled all over the world, a consistent top performer at work, was a Special Constable in the Police, got married, won awards for everything…….but she was not for scuba diving! If she couldn’t see her feet in the water, she hated it!
- What’s important to note was the Elise was not one of those people who didn’t have to study, or had a natural ability. She worked damned hard for everything she achieved, and that for me is what makes her life all the more remarkable. Not only did she graft, she didn’t succeed at the expense of others. She would happily give up her own place for someone else. For Elise, her life was about people, not achievements….she just made the best, and most, of every day or every situation. Personally, I have never met anyone like her…..and I know a lot of you feel the same
- In her own words, climbing Kilimanjaro for The Christie was her greatest achievement, and the hardest thing she’d ever done, and hey….she’d done some things! Together with her Great Wall of China Trek, she single-handedly raised over £10,000 for the hospital that ultimately took such great care of her – how fitting, and so typical of Elise!
And the best is always saved till last. This is from Vicki Barber, a colleague and friend of Elise’s from Barclays…….
- I asked Amy my eldest daughter whether she would bake some cakes for me to sell at Barclays. She smiled and said “yes – Elise made the sun shine on my Birthday” which took me back to August last year. I’d told Amy about Elise and her battle and that Elise and I had swapped emails. In Elise’s response she said that she had a good feeling about the weather – and she was right, which I do still credit her for – it had been pouring it down all week and the day of Amy’s Birthday the sun shone. Amy is planning on baking most of the weekend to thank Elise for those positive thoughts!
Stay positive, and keep smiling…..it was Elise’s way, and the only way!
2nd March 2011 – 18.45pm
Just a very brief blog entry to announce that I have changed the online Book of Condolence to a Book of Celebration!
All the beautiful and very special comments of the condolence book will remain as a lasting tribute, but I would now like to invite you all to post a comment (this can be done at the bottom of the Book of Celebration page) in celebration of Elise’s life. I know there are so many lovely memories and stories of Elise, and it’s so great to hear them. There have to date been over 13500 hits on the site, so I now you’re out there. Don’t be shy – even if it’s a couple of lines. It really does mean so much to hear about Elise from friends and colleagues – we know you miss her too.
Best wishes, Mark
22nd February 2011 – 23.00pm
I wanted to use this blog entry to tell you all what we’re up to! You may have noticed our total has not moved much these last few weeks….but don’t be fooled!
Only 2 weeks ago, Barclays took over £12,000 worth of cheques to The Christie. Last week there was another £6000 – all from our China trekkers! Our China trip should add over £200,000 to our total, so there is a lot of fundraising activity currently taking place – I will add the total from that trip, once it is completed and we have final figures. So, keep your eyes peeled around mid November!
As well as China, Elise for Life has other ‘events’ planned for 2011. A Ladies Lunch on 3rd June at The Lowry Hotel, Manchester – a Sunflower Ball in September – a Sportsman’s Dinner in November. In addition, Barclays are to arrange another Triathlon in June, which is to become their annual event in memory of Elise. All details of the events will be posted on the website, under Events (bizarrely enough!!)
Apart from the events that we are arranging, I want to say a huge thank you to all of you that are arranging and taking part in your own event or activity for Elise for Life. It really doesn’t matter how large or small, how much or how little you raise – it all counts! I won’t name individuals, because the list would be huge, but thank you so much to everyone.
I know how much it means to the hospital, the patients, me, Elise’s family, friends and colleagues – most of all, I know how much your time, effort, and contribution would mean to Elise. She would be completely overwhelmed, and I thank you on her behalf. I have no doubt she’s smiling down on us all and just beaming with pride. It is so important to me that you all know how much you are genuinely appreciated. You are all amazing, and should be extremely proud of your efforts.
Please keep going. Fundraising is tough at times, and not everyone shares our passion and commitment. For us, and any of you that have gone through this journey yourselves, or with a loved one, it’s personal! Elise NEVER gave up, and we have to be as resilient as her, and all those brave people who are relying on our help and support!
Finally, a challenge for you….
….I challenge you not to look at this photo, and smile!
Remember why we’re doing what we’re doing!!
6th February 2011 – 20.30pm
When the paper hit the mat this morning, the front-page headline that greeted me was….
‘DEATH KNELL FOR CANCER’…..wowsers, this I had to read!
The article began….’Leading expert says disease will become a chronic condition that rarely kills within a generation’….could this be true?!
I remember a conversation with Dr Lorigan when myself and Elise had seen a similar article, specific to skin cancer. We went in all excited to be told that the drug in question was indeed showing ‘promising signs’ but that sensational headlines sell papers, and that not everything you read is accurate….something that with age and experience, we all know to be true.
However, in true Elise style….and she had lots of that….lets be positive and look at what this article says….
Professor Sikora, former cancer adviser to the World Health Organisation (so a man who clearly knows his onions) says that death from the world’s most feared disease will be rare by 2025. The emerging revolution of drugs and technology will change the illness into a chronic condition, much like diabetes. Treatments will become more specific, less toxic and more effective.
Here are the ‘best bits’ from the rest of the article;
- There are 500 new generation cancer drugs in the pipeline
- Scientists are now identifying faulty genes in individual cancers – there are already drugs that can now block certain forms of blood, lung, kidney and skin cancers in this way
- There are new vaccines emerging that mimic cancer cells and stir the body’s immune system to attack the disease (this is Immunotherapy, that Elise was on – the first person in the UK – so we know this to be true)
- Advanced surgical and radiotherapy techniques will more effectively remove cancer cells without damaging healthy tissue
- Robotic surgery carried out using tiny nanotechnology motors will destroy cancer tissue effectively, leaving no scars
- Radiotherapy will eradicate rogue cells with pinpoint accuracy using sophisticated 3D reconstructions
All amazing stuff AND going on RIGHT NOW!
As with most things in life, there is a sobering down side to this, which is cost. Future cancer care will rise from about £20,000 per person to £100,000. As Professor Sikora says, ‘The future technology of medicine is going to be a dream – it’s the economics that’s a nightmare’
This however, is where we come in!
Our appeal is designed to enable Dr Lorigan to utilise research facilities far and wide, to ultimately find a cure for the dreadful illness that we curse for taking Elise from us. It provides funds to enable clinical trials to take place for every type of cancer treated at The Christie, and it will enable the hospital to continue providing the very best care and support to so many patients and their families.
Christmas and New Year is over – we now have to re-double our efforts, and push on – The Christie need this money. Elise never gave in, even when the odds were stacked massively against her. We must do the same in the raising of this money.
I’ll leave you with my favourite piece of the article, which together with everything you’ve read above, and everything we’ve achieved so far, should give you a sense of pride, and renewed determination to do our bit for Elise, The Christie, all those brave people who are fighting this disease…..and the people who have the battle to come.
‘We are at the dawn of a new era of hope’
10th January 2011 – 18.00pm
I was woken this morning by the radio presenter asking whether we’d survived the ‘most depressing weekend’ of the year. I figured that as I could hear him, it meant I probably had! He explained that ‘everyone’ is suffering from post-Christmas blues, and as such we’re all miserable. Well, not so. Given what we’ve all been through, I think I speak for most when I say that whilst understanding people are ‘a bit flat’ after Christmas, we’re alive, and many many people would swap places with us – none more so than our beautiful Elise.
Nevertheless, since hearing this cheery news, I decided to try and find something to give everyone a lift. Despite all the ‘doom and gloom’ in the news, and there is a lot, there are lots of positive stories. Hopefully some, if not all, of the following might just make you smile, remember it’s not all bad, and perhaps restore a bit of your faith in humanity….
Continuing the theme of ‘special people’ and even ‘angels’ many people still fail to understand why Elise would be taken from us – this sometimes includes me too. However, I’ve said many times – and it’s written on this blog many times – that Elise’s work here was done. She has another job to do somewhere else, which we will only understand when it’s our time. I think we have to believe that. Without that, everything becomes pointless.
I want to close this blog entry by piecing together items I’ve read today, which describe a truly amazing individual….
She was an amazing girl and she got robbed of all the wonderful things that she could have done – who knows what she could have gone on to do
I think the one thing I learned from this is keep your friends and family close because I don’t think we could get through this without everybody’s support
She received straight A ratings, consistently
She was top of her class, and started a club at school for less fortunate children
Her family have said they wouldn’t take back any of the years they’d had with her
She had a great morning, and was looking forward to the day
She loved dance, swimming, and sport
She was described as selfless, strong-willed and tenacious
She was vibrant
She just wanted to help people
Yesterday, she put all her unwanted clothes and shoes in a bag to give to give them away to someone less fortunate
She was strong, she was brave, she was fearless, but also had such a kind heart
Any guesses who? Elise?….well it could be couldn’t it? But, to back up the theory that only the really special people are taken from us, the above describes Christina Taylor Green. She was born on 11th September 2001 (yes, 9/11), was one of America’s ‘Faces of Hope’. She was also one of the five people shot dead in Arizona on Saturday. She was 9 years old.
Makes you think doesn’t it? Suddenly, for us, the ‘most depressing weekend’ of the year doesn’t seem so bad does it?!
Best wishes for a happy and healthy 2011.
31st December 2010 - 17.00pm
Well, what a year! It’s very difficult to sum up such a bittersweet year in a few words, but I’ll have a go….
2010 started so brightly – we got engaged, but that was so quickly overshadowed by Elise’s diagnosis. We were able to plan and carry out the wedding, which was just fantastic, whilst the treatment and the illness were progressing. Late summer proved to be the turning point, and since the 3rd October we’ve all been left with a huge hole in our lives. In truth, that will never go away – nor should it.
Elise’s life, and death, has touched so many people, and will continue to be a source of inspiration to us all for the rest of our lives.
Elise, like me, loved her quotes and sayings. I’d like to share a few with you. Before I do, I offer my heartfelt thanks to everyone who has contributed to this year….you have all been amazing. Most of all, I want to thank Elise – you were as inspirational as you were beautiful, and you will always be at the centre of everything I do, until we’re together again. Ironically, our wedding completed your list of ‘things to do’ and it was amazing! Wherever you are, they’re so lucky to have you. We miss you terribly but will try and understand that your work here was done, and continue what you started, and try to do what you did every day – to make a difference to someone else’s life.
2011 is where the hard work starts…you will see the total has rocketed to £84,305 and this is where we end the year – not bad for 6 months work. A special thanks to M&S Stockport for the late surge, but please visit The Wall for further details. I hope you’ll join me next year in making a real dent in this £1m – I’ve promised the hospital we’ll be at £500,000 by the year end – and we will!
Here’s those quotes….saving the best till last, which Elise would’ve found hillarious……you’ll know what I mean!
Give me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference. St Francis of Assisi
Maybe I am luckier than most people who get this disease, in that I know now why I have had it. Whatever the personal outcome, I know that I have not had cancer for nothing. Pat Seed
My faith is very sincere and goes beyond Sunday lip service. Far from making me question it, my experiences have strengthened my faith and have given me contentment of spirit. Some may find that incomprehensible, but it is that which helps overcome the fear. Pat Seed
What is the most powerful thing in the world? The human spirit. Annonymous
Life throws at you what it thinks you can deal with. Annonymous
If you always do what you’ve always done, then you’ll always get what you’ve always got. Mark Twain
Your life’s an occasion. Rise to it. Mr Magorium from Mr Magorium’s Wonder Emporium!
Have a happy and healthy new year!
Mark, and of course Elise x
29th December 2010 – 10.00am
Happy Birthday Elise.
We will never ever forget!!
12th December 2010 – 20.30pm
Wow, so much to tell you!
Let’s start with the total……£73,724! In true Jimmy Saville style, how’s about that then?
There are so many fantastic things to tell you about…here’s just a few;
We’ve jumped over £11,000 since the last entry, and that’s down to a combination of events. There’ve been bag pack’s, Elise’s boss donating a fee he received for a speech he gave at Cambridge University, Chris Sherlock’s head shave (which I did – new career as a hairdresser – unfortunately!), a Winter Ball at the Belle Epoque in Knutsford, a Test the Team quiz, and SO many more! Thank you all so so much!!
Again, today is a very special day. The private patients unit at The Christie (Nathan House) is moving into the new Patient Treatment Centre, pictured below…
Elise was treated at Nathan House with great care and compassion, and those amazing people now have a new home! They can now treat twice as many people which is just fantastic!
Please have a look at the new centre on The Christie’s website, where there’s an interview with Dr Lorigan. Here’s the link….
Finally, for now, there’s a whole host of events planned for 2011. Details will be made available soon, but our ‘annual events’ are a Ladies Lunch at The Lowry hotel, a Triathlon, a Sunflower Ball, and of course China. In addition, there are lots of other events taking place….a Sportsman’s Dinner, a ‘Swim around the World’, a John O’Groats to Lands End bike ride, and John O’Groats to Lands End by tractor, to name but a few! For Elise for Life and The Christie, it’s going to be an amazing year!
On a serious note, Christmas is upon us, and a time for reflection. It’s a very sad and poignant time for all of us close to Elise. The first thing she said after being diagnosed was ‘I might not see Christmas again’. I hope you share my belief that Elise will be there with us all in spirit each and every Christmas although that doesn’t stop the pain – we all miss her so very much, and life’s just not the same without her. I also know however Elise would want everyone to try their best to enjoy Christmas – she’d say ‘do it for me’, but would understand how hard it is.
Personally, I would like to wish all the doctors, nurses and staff the same courage, bravery and determination that Elise and all those patients have, to continue doing the amazing work they do.
To you, please be safe, and come back rested…..next year we’ll take this million pounds apart. Unlike Del Boy, I won’t promise that this time next year we’ll be millionaires, but I promise you we’ll be well on the way!
With love and all best wishes,
22nd November 2010 – 9.00am
Today is a very special day. It is the opening of the new Clinical Trials Unit at The Christie.
As you’ll know, this is where half of the Elise for Life money will be spent, and it’s an amazing place. The new unit will offer 2400 patients every year – double the current number - the very latest treatments, with around 200 new drugs being trialled there. It has been described as the largest early clinical trials unit in the world – and it’s right on our doorstep, here in Manchester. How lucky are we?
Following diagnosis, and a treatment ‘plan’, Elise and I spent most Monday’s at the DCU (Derek Crowther Unit) which was the ‘old’ clinical trials unit – Professor Derek Crowther was the first director of medical oncology at The Christie, for those who were wondering. It’s not a scary place in the slightest, which is what might spring to mind when you think of the word ‘trial’….there’s no Frankenstein’s monster, or even Ant & Dec covering you with spiders, or making you eat bugs, just the kindest nurses and doctors, who just want to make you better, and have the very latest drugs at their disposal. If you’re going to be poorly, I guarantee it’s where you’d want to be!
Good luck to all the staff in their new ‘home’ – it’s been a little while coming, but I got to see first hand what a fantastic, state of the art, treatment facility it is. The hospital’s view is that ‘through offering more patients access to the latest cancer developments we will be able to further improve clinical outcomes’ – fantastic news for everyone!
Special good luck to Carmella Rushton. Carmella was so kind and lovely to Elise. Working 3 nights per week as an agency nurse, she would come in and paint Elise’s toes, give her foot massages, and just make a real fuss of her. There weren’t many highlights to Elise’s time in hospital, but Carmella being on nights was certainly one of them. Following Elise’s passing, Carmella successfully applied for a job on the new Clinical Trial Unit, full time, and starts today! Elise was no doubt ‘on the selection panel’ to give it the rubber stamp, but you know she would have said ‘It’s not about me. You did that, and it’s because you’re hard working, kind, and an amazing person that you deserve a break in life, and here it is’……there’s not really much to add to that!
I have to leave you with a picture of a freezing cold Georgia Sutcliffe, Elise’s very own student nurse, who successfully climbed Snowdon on Saturday morning in just over 4 hours! Raising £400 for Elise for Life it’s Georgia’s ‘summit’ picture, complete with tea cosy on her head, which has made the ‘front page’ today……just about sums it all up really!
Have a really great day.
5th November 2010 – 9.00am
Well, another 8 days, and another £6000! We’re over £60,000 – I wonder if we can get to £100,000 by the end of the year?
It’s been a strange week. The realisation of what’s happened over the last few months seems to be hitting home with a lot of people, myself included, and everyone naturally seems low – the clocks have gone back, so it’s dark at 4pm – it seems to be raining all the time – and the news is just as depressing as ever - not to mention bits falling off planes, or houses blowing up in Salford!
So, in true Elise style, let’s inject some positivity and a feel good factor going into the weekend. Here’s a few bits to say thank you, make you laugh, and give you something to reflect on…
Firstly, a huge thank you to all the kids that are doing their bit for Elise for Life! With talk of China treks and £1000’s here and £10,000’s there, it’s all too easy to overlook all the fantastic efforts the younger ones are making towards the appeal. Every single thing helps – it doesn’t have to be money – and Elise would be so proud of all of you! There are so many of you to mention, but you know who you are, and so do we, and more importantly, so does Santa! Elise was Godmother to Ben and Maddie – this week they locked themselves in their bedroom and made dozens of ‘Fortune Tellers’ (they’re the paper game you put your fingers in, and someone picks a tab – I think!) and asked their Headteacher if they could sell them at school for Auntie Elise! Michael Hough gave the beautiful felt butterfly he’d made to Elise. He loved it but gave to her saying that every time he saw a butterfly it would remind him of her. I have to say a thank you to Harry Haggar (aged 2) for the pictures he made for Elise’s wall in hospital – I know she loved his ‘Get Well Soon’ messages and they made her smile a lot. Louise Acton’s little boy’s nursery allowed them to raise money by dressing up for Halloween, and Gaynor Smith’s little girls school allowed them all to wear wellies for their harvest festival – this raised a lot of money and we’ve agreed to do a garden project for them in return – can I borrow those wellies? I’d just like to share one more with you…Lindsay, who worked with Elise, has a daughter called Elizabeth. On the day Elise passed away, she made a sunflower card, unaware of the events of that morning. They sent it to me saying that they hoped it would help me remember the very happy person that Elise was – it does, every single day!
Now, dry your eyes, I’ve got something to make you laugh. I was always having banter with Elise over what I call ‘Barclaysisms’. In fairness to Barclays, that should read ‘Corporatespeakisms’ – they’re the rubbish that people come out with at work, that’s makes ordinary, simple phrases, sound all important. You know the type….instead of saying ‘we all agree’ we’ve now got to be ‘singing off the same hymmsheet’ or instead of ‘having an idea’ we’ve all to be ‘blue sky thinking whilst taking a 360 degree view of the landscape’!!!! It drives me insane. In my office, we have a version of this…. If I say ‘Dad, let’s have a brew’ it generally means ‘Dad, let’s have a brew’ – it’s not hard is it? Anyway, I saw this in the news this morning at thought it might make you smile, as it did me…. 50 office-speak phrases
Finally, something to reflect on. I’ve heard many people over the last few months say that what has happened has caused them to look at their own lives – I can certainly relate to that. I understand the sentiment is genuine – life is very short and precious, and all too often we get wrapped up in our own busy lives without giving a great deal of thought for others – but only time will tell whether these are just hollow words My own view is that to make sweeping changes to your life takes bravery, commitment, and purpose. However, not every change needs to be huge, or indeed take a lot of time or effort. You might just be able to make one persons life a bit better each day – that doesn’t have to cost a penny.
Most of us have known for years what we’d do if those six numbers came up. It might change dependant on the latest model of car, or ‘place to live’, but I think most people know what they’d do with it. Before you read this article, I’d like you to revisit that question…’What would I buy if I won the lottery?
Have a read of this….. Couple says all they need is each other
Now ask yourself the same question. I wonder if you’ve changed your mind??? I think sometimes in life, things happen which give you an opportunity to look at what and who is really important. I’ve no doubt we’ve all just experienced one of those events. Don’t waste it. Do it for yourself, and Elise.
Have a great weekend.
28th October 2010 – 20.30pm
Firstly, an apology…. Updates of the blog haven’t been as frequent of late, and I’m only begining to understand just how many people log on to read where we’re up to or what’s been happening. Obviously the tragic and extremely sad events of the last few weeks have changed all of our lives forever, and there is a period of adjustment for us all – more so for some than others. The writing of the blog, although hard to do at this time, will also change – instead of the treatment and medical updates, I will try and take you on a different journey – one of the fulfillment of Elise’s legacy, to raise £1m for The Christie. I hope you’ll join me, and in the knowledge that we’re doing it for Elise!
Right then, here goes…. Although it’s been 8 days since I last typed, you’ll notice from the first page that we’ve moved on from a magnificent £50,000 to £55,047 – not bad for 8 days. If only I could earn it that fast – I be typing from the Bahamas! In fact, as I’ve been writing, our good friend Jaan Vaher has made an extremely generous donation of another £200….wow! I have to say that I am a little bit overwhelmed at the moment. There are so many kind and amazing contributions, in various forms - I knew Elise was loved and respected by so many people, but I’ve just been blown away by the response to her illness, and her passing. I’m sure quite a few of those at the funeral (me included) had that feeling of ‘I wonder how many people would turn up for me?’….I think 300 people for Elise kind of said it all! For those of you who are wondering, I counted 10….didn’t even need my toes! What’smore, I’ve had 96 cards delivered to the house. Again, for me, well I don’t even know 96 people!
Please have a look at the upcoming events, and if you’d like to support any of them by attending or getting involved, feel free to get in touch, or even drop me an email just to say hi or to tell me about your memories of Elise. Equally, if you know of anyone or any businesses that might want to support anything we’re doing then again, please tell them to drop me a line.
Finally, I’ve had a few people comment on the pictures tht are on the site so, for those of you that have asked, here are some more…..I challenge you not to feel good, have a smile on your face, and perhaps the odd tear as you look through some of my favourite pictues of the fabulous Mrs Elise Roberts….
20th October 2010 – 18.00pm
Well, it’s a week and a day since Elise’s funeral – I still can’t believe we are where we are. Everything’s happened so quickly, and I’m now left to reflect on the events of the last 10 months, and the loss of a truly beautiful person, just as we all are.
As we go forward together, and we all strive to fulfill Elise’s legacy, I’ll share with you via the website some of the beautifuland amazing things that have been said about Elise, and what she meant to so many people – it’s truly overwhelming.
As our fundraising efforts continue to pick up pace, I’d like to say a huge thank you for all the donations made in lieu of flowers – £600 to be precise. We intend to have this doubled by utilising Barclays £ for £ in some way, so this will provide The Christie with £1200, plus an amazing £1500 dontion from Barclays London Servicing Centre – Gredley House, taking the total collected from last Tuesday to £2700! At the time of writing this we’re just £73 shy of £50,000 which isn’t bad for 4 months!
Good luck to Martin (Elise’s brother in law) and his brother Andy who’ve organised this Friday’s Sportsman’s Dinner – watch this space for details, but it promises to be another great night for Elise for Life.
I know Elise would be overwhelmed, and extremely humbled by everything you are all doing, and what you have all said. On behalf of Elise, thank you so so much. I know we all miss her, no-one more so than me, but if we all keep going then maybe we can stop just one person going through the nightmare we’re all living!
ps. Special mention to Nigel Black’s parents Yvonne and Patrick who continue to grieve over the loss of their only son, and his wife Andrea. My thoughts are with you all and I extend my offer to you to attend any of our fundraising events for The Christie, where Nigel was also looked after. It may help…just a little.
14th October 2010 – 15.45pm
I’m not often lost for words, but I am struggling today. Not, as you might imagine, because of the grief – which is intense – but because following a beautiful day on Tuesday, which most will not know Elise planned herself, there has been an immense response from so many people. The beautiful words, messages, cards, flowers, donations and promises of unwavering support for our appeal has just been astounding.
I have a few thank you’s…. Obviously Dr Lorigan, Elaine and Glenda, but all the nurses and staff at The Christie who were involved in Elise’s care both in life, and in death – you are all truly amazing and wonderful people. A special thank you to Father Morrough O’Brien and Revd. Richard Diggle who conducted two beautiful and fitting services for Elise. Thank you to Bill and all at Kenneth Dewey and Sons who directed the funeral arrangements and took such good care of Elise leading up to Tuesday. Finally, a thank you to all of you for keeping Elise’s spirits up with your kindness and friendship…she was an amazing woman who we all loved so very much.
Our Elise for Life appeal is Elise’s legacy, and we must now press on with this. I have picked up the baton again today and would encourage you to keep reading the site, it’s only just begun! You will shortly see the current total rocket to over £50,000!
There have been many beautiful words spoken of Elise. The most common being ‘inspirational’. I can however hear Elise saying that it is you, her family, friends, colleagues and fundraisers that are inspirational – you give up your own time, effort, and money to raise money towards providing treatment, care, and support for other people – people you don’t even know. Wow!
6th October 2010 – 20.00pm
Elise’s funeral will be held next Tuesday 12th October at St. Josephs RC Church, Tatton Street, Stockport, SK1 1EJ, at 12.00pm, followed by a private family burial at St Marks Church, Antrobus.
All who knew Elise are welcome to come to St. Josephs where Elise attended regular Saturday Mass and was a proud serving Eucharistic Minister. This will be followed by a gathering and celebration of Elise’s life at the Park Royal Hotel, Stretton. Address is Stretton Road, Stretton, Warrington, WA4 4NS. From 2.00pm.
Floral tributes are to be limited to family only, but if anyone would like to make a donation to the appeal as an alternative, it will only further help us achieve our target - Elise’s legacy. Donations can be made via this website, or in person to the funeral directors on the day.
There will be a Book of Condolence at the church and celebration, but we have added a Book of Condolence page on this website for those who wish to post an online tribute to Elise.
Thank you for all the kind and beautiful messages that I have been sent – it means so much.
5th October 2010 – 18.30pm
It is with the heaviest of hearts, and extreme sadness that this entry is to inform you all that my beautiful wife Elise passed away on Sunday morning at 6.30.
For those of you who are finding out for the first time, it is as hard to write as I’m sure it is to read. Let me offer you some comfort by saying that Elise was in no pain and died peacefully with me stroking her head gently and telling her how proud we were of her and that we all loved her so much. If any of us could decide how the end comes then I don’t think many of us would want things much different.
Elise was an amazing woman. She touched everyone she met, worked hard and lived a beautiful life, longer than some but shorter than most. I was the luckiest man alive - she married me, and I got to be with her 24/7. Of course the price for that is a huge void and an intense grief that is unbearable.
Remember Elise with a smile and fond memories. We will all strive to raise the money for the appeal that she started, to help the lives of others – we owe her that at least.
We expect the funeral to be Tuesday of next week but I will put the details here as soon as they are known.
26th September 2010 – 21.15pm
Hi, Loretta and Nola here – Elise’s sisters. We’re guest writing this weeks blog entry. Elise and Mark are still at The Christie – now heading into week 4! They’re as determined as ever to get out of there as soon as Elise is well enough. The staff have been absolutely amazing – they are taking great care of both Elise and Mark.
Elise has had a few blips this week, but is still her usual positive, beautiful, strong self.
Thanks to everyone who’s registered for China – there are still a handful of places left so email Mark if you’re interested. There are also still a few tables left for the Sportsman’s Dinner on 22nd October. If you’re interested give Martin (Hagger) a call on 07971088350. You are all doing a fantastic job of fundraising – please keep up the good work!
Thanks to everyone for their support and kind words – they are helping to keep us all strong. Please continue to post your messages and we will make sure Elise gets them.
We love you Elise, keep strong!
Love, Loretta and Nola xxx
16th September 2010 – 22.15pm
Well it’s night 14, and we’re still here! We do have a provisional discharge date of next Wednesday, the 22nd, but this is dependant on everything being in place at home. Elise still has no feeling in her legs and we’re forced to accept that it may be a little while before any/some/all of the feeling comes back. In the meantime we have to keep believing, and battling on. As Elise says, there are people here in a much worse position than us…and there really are. You can probably imagine Elise’s sheer frustration at not being able to get up and about herself – you will equally know that if it’s down to will power, then she’ll be sprinting out of here come Wednesday morning!
All the messages of support and best wishes keep coming in, and you have no idea what a tonic that is. There are also lots of fantastic fundraising events planned and taking part to support the appeal. Just to share a few with you…. There are collections going on at Newcastle United, Wigan, and Warrington Wolves games. Bag packs at M&S, and Sainsburys. Dave Whelan has allowed us to place collection tins in all 118 sports stores and gyms – this could raise almost £50,000 with Barclays £4£ matching! The China Trek now has 120 participants – this will raise somewhere in the region of £200,000 ( there are still 11 places left ). Rockyoke evening, car boot sales, cake sales, marathon running….the list goes on and on! You are amazing for supporting us, and the appeal.
Dr Lorigan has provided some information around exactly what the money will go towards when we say ‘Melanoma Research’ – it’s on the ‘The Christie’ part of the website. Have a read, it’ll blow you away and help you understand why we need to raise them this money. Nobody should have to go through this….it’s a nasty illness with an all to often tragic outcome. Please continue to help and support us.
10th September 2010 – 22.35pm
Hi, it’s Elise here. Wanted to let you know I’m very much alive and kicking – and VERY frustrated! Seems a though we’ve got a bit of a battle on our hands (yes, more than we already had!) but battles, and more importantly wars, are there to be won – and I have no intention of coming second! I’m still struggling to get the old legs working, but the doctors, nurses, and physios are doing absolutely everything they can…it really is just one day at a time.
I want to thank everyone for their messages of support, best wishes, donations, and fundraising stories - you have no idea how much it means to us both. We have a quiet half hour every night in our new ‘temporary’ home (The Christie) and read about what everyone’s said or are doing – it gives us a huge lift, please keep sending them.
On a final note, we are experiencing first hand how truly amazing this place is, and the people that work here. No matter what the future holds, achieving our target will mean so much to so many people, you have no idea – please, do it for me.
Much love always, Elise x
6th September 2010 – 17.30pm
Well, we’re still here. Elise has had the planned radiotherapy today so is a little tired after five days in bed, and two fairly intense bouts of radiotherapy. The scans from last Tuesday were fairly inconclusive, but did confirm the tumour in Elise’s back. The priority at the moment therefore is Elise’s mobility. It’s a waiting game, but we will of course keep you updated as and when there’s a change.
Please keep Elise in your thoughts and prayers.
5th Sptember 2010 – 22.30pm
Well, it’s been just over a week since the last entry and I started that off by telling you there was a lot to report. This week is no different. It’s been eventful, but not all in a positive way I’m afraid.
Following the scans on Tuesday night, we made it to Anglesey on Wednesday….and lasted four hours. Elise was struggling to walk and had got progressively worse from the morning. A telephone call to Dr Lorigan suggested all might not be well and we decided to come home. By late that evening, Elise could not walk at all. Following the worse night imaginable, she was admitted to The Christie on Thursday afternoon as a precaution….we’re still here! It appears the pain Elise has been suffering with in her back is a tumour, and it’s now pressing on her spine. Radiotherapy on Friday morning and an increase in steroids will hopefully release the pressure and bring back the mobility to her legs. It could take a couple of weeks, but we’re in the very best place and are being looked after by the best people. Please keep everything crossed.
To end on a slightly lighter note, it seems The Wall has been a bit of a hit. We’ve had quite a few people email to say how much they enjoyed reading it, and how inspirational some of the comments are, so we’ll keep posting messages and pictures on there. This weeks stars of The Wall are Elaine and Glenda who have been looking after us for the last 9 months. They are two very special and amazing people who have taken the very best care of us. Thank you ladies…we will always value your kindness and friendship, whatever the future holds.
27th August 2010 – 21.00pm
Quite a lot to report tonight. Went to see Dr Sykes today – he carried out the radiotherapy on Elise’s head – we were referred to him by Dr Lorigan who felt he could possibly treat one or more of the tumours on Elise’s body that are causing her pain and discomfort. He agreed, and she is to have four days of treatment starting on Monday 6th September. This is also the same day we are seeing Dr Lorigan to review the scans which are being carried out next Tuesday, the 31st August – everything crossed. Elise has been quite tired today – still in a lot of discomfort, although we’re fairly on top of the pain now with the stronger tablets the doctor prescribed. Elise is in good spirits and all in all a good day, with a plan of action at the end of it! Hope you all have a fantastic bank holiday, and a well deserved rest.
PS. Decided to set up a new ‘page’ on the website as we’ve got nothing that allows us to thank people and give snippets of what people have said or are up to regards the fundraising – just got no idea what to call it! Ideas on a postcard…..
24th August 2010 – 12.15pm
Hi, it’s Elise here! For the first time in two weeks I’m feeling much brighter – fingers crossed we’ve got the pain under control. What’s that phrase?….no pain, no gain! Sleeping and soreness has been horrible, I can’t describe the pain – I thought I had a strong pain threshold, but it’s been tested beyond belief. Looking forward now, and next up is the scans – also got some more radiotherapy planned, so just awaiting dates. On a lighter note Mark’s taking me to stay in a Windmill on Anglesey in September – not quite the Caribbean, but we just need a break, and to stay local’ish’! Thanks again for all your continued kindness and support – I really couldn’t do it without you. Much love always, Elise x
19th August 2010 – 19.15pm
Sorry guys, it’s Mark again tonight – three tough days for Elise so you’ve got me! Well, we’ve completed all 4 cycles of the immunotherapy! There was a time where we just wanted to get to the first treatment, and then there were questions over whether Elise would be eligible, but she’s been amazing, and we now have to keep everything crossed that the scans show a benfit to her! We’ve had a tough few days as Elise has been in tremendous pain during the night – the feeling being that the pain is as a result of the immune system attacking the tumours. Stronger painkillers seem to be doing the trick and she had a better night last night. The fundraising is going fantastically well and we’re just blown away by everything that people are doing – we’ve passed £30,000 this week and have so much more planned – £1m, we’re coming to get you!
PS. Good luck to Paul Calladine (Elise’s brother in laws brother – I know, it’s complicated) and his friend Matt – they’re flying out to embark on a highly ambitious attempt to climb Mont Blanc tomorrow, and have already raised £525 (http://www.justgiving.com/RoddersandPabs) – all the best guys!
16th August 2010 – 19.20pm
Had a meeting with Dr Lorigan this morning. Treatment is on for Thursday – the 4th and final treatment before an assessment of whether the immunotherapy is having an effect. Scans are plannned for a couple of weeks after Thursday. In respect of last Thursday nights seizure, there doesn’t appear to be a definitive explanation – Dr Lorigan’s feeling is that there appear to be ’spikes’ of activity in the brain which seem to be the cause, rather than any underlying factor – if things were deteriorating, then that would offer a more obvious explanation. An increase in the anti-seizure medication will hopefully knock out these ‘blips’! Elise has a lesion on her stomach which Dr Lorigan feels would benefit from radiotherapy – he is referring her back to Dr Sykes for this who has treated her already. Apart from our visit to Christie’s it’s been a quiet day – Elise has rested and I think we both feel quite happy with how things have gone today – the scans however are now on the horizon so we ALL need to start crossing everything – please! Elise will update the Blog after Thursday’s treatment.
PS. Did you know that Elise’s blood group is…..B Positive?
15th August 2010 – 19.15pm
We spoke too soon! Elise was rushed to hospital on Thursday night, having had another seizure. We were there until yesterday lunchtime, although they had told her she could go home on Friday night – we just didn’t feel she was 100%. The encouraging news was that Friday morning’s CT scan showed that the lesions in her head have stabalised, which the doctors feel is very reassuring – it doesn’t explain why the seizure happened, but we are seeing Dr Lorigan in the morning, as usual on the Monday before treatment, so we may understand a little more then. What was fantastic was that Dr Lorigan rang me on my mobile on Saturday morning to ask what had happened, and advise us on a slight increase in medication….just another example of how lucky we are to have him in charge of Elise’s care. Indeed I have to say a huge thank you to Elise’s doctor, Dr Stella Cole, and all the amazing doctors and nurses at Warrington General, and The Christie, who take such good care of us - you are all amazing people, and can’t ever than you enough for what you do. Will update the blog tomorrow night…
7th August 2010 – 18.50pm
Well, just over a week on from treatment 3. Elise is quite sore, and still tired – the treatment apparently builds in the body, so not entirely a surprise that her ‘lumps and bumps’ hurt. As Elise says, if the treatments having a benefit, you don’t mind putting up with the pain – it’s just the not knowing that makes it hard, as well as the discomfort, obviously. Regards the fundraising, and in particular the China trek – WOW! Over 100 people have said they want to do the walk, which should just raise a phenomenal amount of money, as well as all the other activities, donations and support – you’re all amazing and so kind. A huge thank you from Elise, and myself.
29th July 2010 – 19.30pm
Thought it was long overdue that I personally update our Blog! Mark has done such an amazing job setting up the website, keeping you in touch with my progress and driving our charity activity – it’s about time I took the lead!
Before I give you an update on my progress, it would be remiss of me not to mention my colleague Nigel Black, whose funeral it was today. Nigel was a very genuine guy who always had a smile on his face, and would do anything for anyone.
I had my third treatment today, and all went well. The experience of having Immunotherapy is totally different from Chemotherapy – no pain! In terms of how I’m feeling, I’m fine in myself. However, I have completely underestimated the impact of the tiredness, and my ability to carry on day to day life as normal. Some of the side effects of the treatment are lack of concentration, and confusion. Only the other day I made Mark a cup of coffee with a tea bag in it, and often go upstairs and don’t know why I’m there! Definitely confused.com!! It is incredibly frustrating but I’m not going to let it beat me. For those of you that know me well, I like a challenge! The human spirit is a powerful thing, and I believe this is my next Kilimanjaro.
The Christie is an extraordinary place, and I’m so lucky to be having this pioneerig treatment. The staff work as a team and we are treated as people, not just patients.
I genuinely can’t thank you enough for all your messages and support. Mark and I have been blown away by the response to all the events that have, or are, taking place. Thank you so much!
Anyway, that’s it from me….hope to see you all soon. Much love always, Elise x
26th July 2010 – 18.15pm
All systems go for Thursday – treatment day. Went to Monday clinic which involves bloods being taken and analysed, and general measures i.e. weight, blood pressure etc, before seeing the Doctor. This is usual on the Monday of treatment week to make sure everything’s on track before they order the drugs. Everything’s OK, so we’re good to go!
Elise wants to write the blog on Thursday (instead of being ‘Director of Communications’ – basically double checking what I write) so you’re in for a treat.
24th July 2010 – 19.45pm
A quick update ahead of ‘treatment week’…..Elise has been pretty wiped out this last week with tiredness, but spirits are high. This has been mainly due to the overwhelming response to the charity trips we’re trying to arrange, and the messages of support, donations, and genuinely heartfelt stories of others who have their own fight with this illness. It’s emotional, but at the same time gives you added determination and fight. Only this week, One of Elise’s colleagues – Nigel Black – lost his fight with cancer. Nigel was 34. Those who know Elise will know she has more grit and determination than most of us put together, but has vowed to fight extra hard, for Nigel as well as herself – God bless Nigel.
8th July 2010 – 22.10pm
The end of a long and hectic ‘treatment day’. Treatment went well and, other than tiredness, Elise is doing well. Lots of texts and mesages of support – thank you so much. Looking forward to a quiet few days. Mark had a really productive meeting with the guys at Barclays Gadbrook Park around fundraising – there’s some fantastic ideas and events to come. Please pass on the website link, we’ve had some really kind donations, and feel free to post a comment!
6th July 2010 – 10.25am
Good news yesterday. Dr Lorigan confirmed Elise will continue with her second treatment of Immunotherapy this Thursday, as planned. He has decided to leave Elise on the new, increased level, of steroids for now. He did comment that it was too early in the treatment to tell whether the inflamation, soreness and bruised apearence of the ‘lumps and bumps’ were as a result of the treatment. What is clear is that there is something happening with them, so everything crossed that they’re starting to react positively.
30th June 2010 – 21.45pm
Slight setback last Friday night – Elise was taken in to Warrington General. The swelling on her brain resulted in a further seizure. It would appear the level of steroid she is on to reduce the swelling is not enough – this has now been increased and hopefully this will stop the seizures and reduce the swelling. It’s trial and error with the tablets, so nobody’s fault, just a traumatic experience for all – and a weekend in hospital. We got home on Monday afternoon, and Elise is getting brighter each day. In fact, back to normal today – watching the tennis. The upside of Elise’s weekend is that she didn’t have to watch England!!
21st June 2010 – 16.30pm
With aching limbs….no, correction….with aching EVERYTHING, we just wanted to thank everyone for a fantastic turnout and show of support yesterday. The Triathlon and Fun Run at Cranage was a great day and raised a lot of money for The Christie. We’ll know from the team at Barclays later in the week just how much, but thank you everyone!
17th June 2010
Elise started her Immunotherapy treatment today. We feel really positive about it. There are few side effects compared with Chemotherapy or Radiotherapy, but tiredness is expected, and diarrhoea is something to watch out for. It’s such a relief to get to this point – now lets get cracking and let this drug do its stuff!!!