30 and counting

Today would have been Ellie’s 30th birthday and I’ve come up to her native North Yorkshire to feel closer to her and take a walk along the beach where we scattered some of her ashes. Sadly it’s not a day we can celebrate, but Ellie’s friends, family and I hope that there is a reason for optimism.

In the past few months we have been busy setting up a charity in her name, The Eleanor Rose Foundation, which aims to harness the goodwill that Ellie was shown while she was in treatment and use this to benefit the lives of others who find themselves in similar circumstances to her.

We now a have website, www.eleanorrose.org, which outlines the purpose of the charity. We are also in the process of developing an initiative which will enable people with skills and products to be able to offer them free of charge or at a discounted rate to people living with cancer. We’ve decided to call this initiative Ellie’s Friends, to reflect the fact that she met so many lovely people who wanted to help when she was having a difficult time, and who became new friends.

Of course, not everyone is in a position to be able to give money to every charity they think is worthwhile, or take time out of their hectic lives to volunteer. However, we know from the blog and from Ellie’s personal experiences that there are many kind people out there who want to help in any way they can. Our goal is to give them that opportunity and make helping others easy. The charity website explains a bit more clearly our vision and how we want to make this happen.

At the moment there are just a handful of us and it will take some time and a lot of goodwill to get the initiative up and running properly. We haven’t got any paid staff but as with any project it will take some money to get it started. Then hopefully it will grow organically, but this in turn will involve running costs.

There will soon be a donate page on the site with a MyDonate link but first and foremost we’d welcome anyone with any skills or products to contact us to find out how they might be able to get involved and become one of Ellie’s Friends. Equally, if you’re currently living with cancer and have any thoughts on things that would improve your life we’d love to be able to send you a questionnaire to get feedback.

I’m sure you can all imagine how difficult the past eight months have been. I never stop missing Ellie and milestones and occasions such as birthdays and Christmas are heightened reminders of her absence. From a purely selfish point of view I want to make this charity as successful as possible to continue her legacy, because without focusing on the memories I have of her and the wonderful time we spent together I would find it hard to motivate myself to do anything.

There are memories of Ellie in every corner of our flat. Her picture is in front of the fireplace and the ‘Tom and Ellie’ bunting Ellie’s mum made for our wedding still hangs above the 42” flat screen TV – yes, it was a bachelor’s flat before she moved in, although she’s still got three drawers in the bedroom chest of drawers to my one! But even if she can’t physically be with us I’m hoping that being part of a successful charity in her name will make her impossible for anyone to forget, so I and the rest of the trustees welcome any help anyone can give us.

Best wishes for 2013,