The Willow Foundation is a charity that provide special days to young adults under the age of 40 with a serious illness.
Former Arsenal goal keeper and his wife Bob and Meg Wilson, set up this charity in 1999 in a legacy to their daughter Anna who died of Cancer aged 31. She had been battling the disease for 5 years, but it was these 5 years that her and her family made the most memorable days, she self named them ‘special days’ .
My lovely breast care nurse Ellie, applied for a special day for us at Willow, I originally found out about this charity from a Facebook group of ladies living with breast cancer under the age of 40, Ellie said she had supported other patients applications in the past and so the ball began rolling to provide us with a special day. The application was submitted and a lovely lady called Romaine contacted me from Willow to discuss what would make our day special.
To us, having a special day meant fun. Originally I wanted to take the kids to legoland and involve them in the day, but in March 2015 John swept me away to London to watch The Lion King and stay in a swanky hotel. Those memories of just the two of us are so great, we often reminisce about that weekend, so we decided to drop the kids off at my parents and go and see another show.
We wanted to plan the trip either before I start chemotherapy or at the very end of my treatment. I expected Romaine to say it’s better for at the end of treatment, but she said if you want to go before we can organise that, with just two weeks before the date arriving we had already sorted out which show to watch and the hotel was being booked.
We got an information pack through the post from Willow, it had everything you could ask for, they even pre booked taxis for after the show! I love being organized and this was exactly my cup of tea!
We went on a Saturday and checked in early, we visited the London Eye and upgraded to the champagne experience. I kind of think the London eye is a one off experience, it’s not something you would probably do again, so why not pay that extra and upgrade?
We then went back to the hotel, got changed and headed off to the theatre, we tried a Mexican restaurant which was delicious and then headed off to see the show. Anyone who hasn’t seen Billy Elliot at the west end should. It’s absolutely fantastic, saying that though, their last show is April 9th 2016 then they are going on tour.
On the Sunday, we walked down the embankment and visited the London Dungeons, this wouldn’t usually be my cup of tea, however it was fab! I would say my 9 year old would have liked it but Freddie my 5 year old would have been too scared.
We had a marvelous time, lots of love and laughter and memories that will last forever, we are both so grateful to Willow to give us this opportunity. I can’t wait until I’m fit and well again to start fundraising for the smaller charities that rely on our help.
Have you had a special day with Willow? I would love to hear your stories….