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,



42 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Annette
    Jan 08, 2013 @ 11:36:28

    Happy Birthady to Ellie, thinking of you all at this time. Take care Annette.


  2. Caroline
    Jan 08, 2013 @ 11:39:01

    Best wishes to you Tom. I didn’t know Ellie, but she reminded me of a friend who I lost 4 and a half years ago, and who still touches my life and always will. The website you have created is beautiful and a wonderful tribute. I hope it will continue to grow in Ellie’s spirit. Thank you for updating the blog. Take care.



  3. Kim Waller
    Jan 08, 2013 @ 11:49:04

    Happy Birthday, Ellie xxxx still an inspiration xxx


  4. cathannabel
    Jan 08, 2013 @ 11:53:27

    Hi Tom. The Foundation sounds wonderful. You are absolutely right that there are so many people who want to help, but don’t necessarily know how, and it’s a brilliant idea to link them up with people or projects that could use their skills and energies.
    I’m chairing a new charity, set up for a friend and colleague who is terminally ill with cancer. You can see here what we have planned: http://www.inspirationforlife.co.uk. I’d like to think we could work together in some way, if only that some of our activities could fundraise for you. Perhaps we could talk?
    Very best wishes to you – I can only imagine how hard it is, and has been for you over these last few months.


  5. Raffaella
    Jan 08, 2013 @ 11:55:04

    Thank you Tom for updating Ellie’s blog and letting us all know how you continue to make her live not only in your heart, but through this charity keeping her memory alive touching the lives of others. I wish you all the best.
    Happy Birthday Ellie, hope you’re dancing with the Angels.



  6. Bernadette
    Jan 08, 2013 @ 12:00:00

    Thanks Tom for updating the blog.Ellie was a great inspiration to everyone.and I still read her posts often.Happy Birthday Ellie xxxxx


  7. Deborah Morgan-Smith
    Jan 08, 2013 @ 12:09:33

    Happy Birthday Ellie, and a big hug for you Tom as you go through another difficult landmark day.You truly are a wonderful guy to be doing what you are doing in Ellie’s memory. She, of course, will be watching closely and will undoutedly be guiding you at every stage. Just when you think you’ve bitten off more than you can chew, or found yourself needing or wanting the impossible, she’ll create some incredible means and solutions to dig you out of the hole,with brass knobs on!!Good Luck to you and Ellie in this wonderful new venture.Who knows where it will lead you Tom?Your life is continuing, but my hunch is that it will be going in all kinds of new and exciting directions that would never have existed had you not met Elllie.So she is still very much a part of your future.
    I am an avid knitter, have been since I was a youngster. I knit coats for the dogs and cats at Battersea Dogs home. I’m not suggesting that I knit coats for cancer patients, but I can make bespoke chemo caps,bed socks, and anything else to give comfort and a bit of fun or glamour to those who need it.Please let me know if “knitters” fits into your support team.
    I look forward to watching the project develop and thrive Tom, and if anyone can make it ” happen” it sounds like you can! But be kind to yourself along the journey though,you need time to heal too.
    Bucket loads of luck
    Deborah xx


  8. Mrs Betty Harris
    Jan 08, 2013 @ 12:17:31

    Tom, Ellie will always live on in our memories of her. The Eleanor Rose Foundation Charity will be a fitting reminder also. I hope 2013 brings you, and her family lots more beautiful memories to cherish. Happy Birthday Ellie.


  9. Caroline
    Jan 08, 2013 @ 12:50:12

    Happy Birthday Ellie, I didn’t know you but that didn’t stop me from thinking of you over the Christmas period. Thank you Tom for updating the blog, best wishes to you for the future.


  10. Connie
    Jan 08, 2013 @ 12:57:08

    gosh what a lovely man you are Tom. Thanks for this update. Keep well.


  11. Lucas Green
    Jan 08, 2013 @ 13:29:51

    Happy Birthday Ellie. The Eleanor Rose Foundation will do you proud.


  12. Lucienne Smith
    Jan 08, 2013 @ 13:32:11

    Our thoughts are with Ellie in heaven and with you today Tom. The foundation will become a wonderful support to those suffering from cancer of that I am certain. Ellie’s spirit and her humour which I only knew via her blog showed us what richness love can bring when your heart is brave and your soul is gentle. Your foundtation mirrors this and I will be supporting you from the wings as much as I am able. X


  13. India
    Jan 08, 2013 @ 14:20:47

    I remember reading Ellie’s blog all those months ago and it broke my heart the day I heard she has passed away, I remember giving my children breakfast that morning and reading the email and crying for someone I did not know. I my self was diagnosed a few months later in October with breast cancer and during this time have often thought about Ellie and how brave she was. I have had my operation and have just had my 2nd Chemo on Friday last week, my hair has gone now it was all falling out and my husband shaved it all off last night. My children are 11, 9 and 7 years old and I am going to get through this cancer for them I have to, they are 3 very brave little girls, I am not brave at all, but when you are diagnosed with some thing like this you fight it, you have to you have no choice. I am a lot older than Ellie I am 43 years old I got married at 30 and had my children straight away, I have done a lot with my life travelled all over the world but I want to live and see them grow and I will. Thank you Tom for setting up this foundation in Ellie’s name. Love to you and Ellie’s family and she will live on xxxx


  14. Val Finnegan
    Jan 08, 2013 @ 14:26:05

    Tom, I am thinking about you and Ellie today, as I do, often. She will not be forgotten by any of us who read her blog especially those of us who have lost friends and family to cancer. I wish you every success with Ellie’s foundation.


  15. Monique
    Jan 08, 2013 @ 15:41:42

    Look up in the sky tonight Tom and you will see a bright star looking down on you. Wishing all the best for the Ellie Foundation in 2013 and thinking of Ellie on her birthday.


  16. Francis
    Jan 08, 2013 @ 15:52:38

    She would have been so very proud of you, man! Your action has been nothing but an inspiration, man!


  17. Erin Simons
    Jan 08, 2013 @ 16:48:28

    Thinking of you today Tom, it must be so hard for you and I know Ellie would be so proud of all of the work you have done. I went to school with Ellie and work as a social media consultant and I’m very happy to help you get the word out in any way possible or advise in promoting any charity work. Email is erinsimons2011@gmail.com – I’d love to help in anyway I can. Macmillian Nurses helped make my Dad more comfortable before he passed this year and I know how important their work is.

    Happy birthday Ellie darling xx


  18. Linda Turner
    Jan 08, 2013 @ 16:50:07

    God Bless You Tom,
    Ellie would be so proud of you for what you are doing, and I am sure the Charity will be a huge success. Be kind to yourself Tom, and I wish you a wonderful future. Be happy, that is what Ellie would want for you.
    You will carry Ellie safely in your heart for the rest of your life.
    Take Care Tom. Linda


  19. Ben Murphy
    Jan 08, 2013 @ 16:50:59

    Happy Birthday Ellie, I’ll be having a walk along Saltburn beach this evening with wonderful memories of you xx
    I wish http://www.eleanorrose.org every success.


  20. Carly
    Jan 08, 2013 @ 17:11:24

    Inspirational x


  21. Helen Foulds
    Jan 08, 2013 @ 17:57:43

    Hi I’d love to help in any way that I can. I’m good at organising things and on computers (not coding unfortunately). If you think you could use me drop me a line xxxxxx


  22. francespringle
    Jan 08, 2013 @ 19:11:56

    What a wonderful, wonderful charity to be part of her legacy! It’s just perfect. It captures the heart of this blog as well as Ellie’s endearing personality. Best wishes Tom..


  23. Mieka Smiles
    Jan 08, 2013 @ 19:44:02

    Tom I’d love to write a piece on the charity and new initiatives. My email is Mieka.smiles@ncjmedia.co.uk Please do get in touch – I write for The Sunday Sun in the North East. I will do anything I can to help.


  24. leanne
    Jan 08, 2013 @ 20:54:14

    Happy birthday Ellie – you are never far from my thoughts. Thank you to Tom for continuing to update this blog. I have shared the details of the Foundation with my family and friends xx


  25. Elizabeth
    Jan 08, 2013 @ 23:15:22

    Happy Birthday Ellie. Well done Tom, you’ve done a great job setting up Ellie’s Friends. Thinking of you often, as so many followers of Ellie’s blog must do. Good luck for the future.


  26. katy ditchfield
    Jan 08, 2013 @ 23:55:25

    Happy Birthday Ellie , you were a very brave lady , godbless you Tom.


  27. Trish
    Jan 09, 2013 @ 00:04:46

    Happy Birthday sweet Ellie


  28. Trish
    Jan 09, 2013 @ 05:41:28

    Dear Tom & family of Ellie, I have read the blog for some time & have thought of you all often despite never having met you, as many others have it seems.

    I have recently moved from London to Australia with my fiancé & spent some time at London’s UCH with a suspected bone marrow condition. Upon leaving our jobs for the move overseas my partner & I asked for money to be given towards the Cancer unit at the hospital in lieu of gifts.

    Like you say, it is the nurses & doctors who after some searching you can connect with & feel supported by that make such a huge difference. And I think you are amazing for putting this website together in order to help others – help & support in varied ways can really change your day to day life I’m sure when you are going through so much.

    I’m sorry I can’t help with any products or services unfortunately. I really wish I could. But I will certainly be donating, for sure. Please keep us all posted. I for one will never forget Ellie & it is lovely to hear from you.

    Sending a big hug from down under x T


  29. TxGal
    Jan 10, 2013 @ 01:19:31

    I’m a software engineer. I can donate services.


  30. Gina
    Jan 10, 2013 @ 12:55:37

    Hey Tom, you may remember me contacting you via FB last summer. After I got your reply, I read through all of Ellie’s blog and her journey is so similar to Paul’s that I cried buckets as I relived it all and immediately signed up as a follower.

    It will be 4 years in May since my husband died. I still miss him greatly but he will always be in my heart, he makes regular appearances in my conversation and ultimately I feel that somehow part of him is still with me on this journey. There are often times when all I want is a hug from him to make things feel right…I don’t think that will ever stop being the case, but I’m able to say with confidence that I am moving forwards.

    I think your new venture, the charity, sounds amazing. I wish I had been able to come up with a similar foundation for Paul. We got so much support from the regular emails we sent out, from friends, family and friends of friends; unknown well wishers that our messages had been forwarded on to, that it would have been nice to give something back. If it wasn’t for the birth of my son, 10 weeks after P passed away, I would have struggled to cope myself but B’s birth gave me something else to focus on. In some respects between that and having to go back to work full time when he was just 4 months old, meant my time was all taken up such that it stopped me pursuing those ideas. 😦

    I am now in a place that I would love to support such an organisation, so if there is anything at all I can do to help, as a volunteer or helper for anything, please don’t hesitate to give me a shout.

    Best wishes, and big hugs,

    Gina M


  31. Abi
    Jan 13, 2013 @ 23:48:57

    A brilliant charity for a brilliant lady.

    Very best wishes to you, Tom. One thing you can be certain of is that noone could ever forget Ellie – even those of us who were never lucky enough to meet her think of her often.


  32. pastewart06@gmail.com
    Jan 14, 2013 @ 03:45:48

    I never met you but wish you well in 2013 she must have been a special lady Alison Stewart
    Sent wirelessly from my BlackBerry device on the Bell network.
    Envoyé sans fil par mon terminal mobile BlackBerry sur le réseau de Bell.


  33. Caren
    Jan 14, 2013 @ 07:22:23

    Well done Tom and all the best for The Eleanor Rose Foundation. Thank you for keeping Ellie’s blog updated, she would be so, so proud of you !


  34. Heather
    Jan 14, 2013 @ 16:57:35

    Happy New Year Tom. I often think of you and Ellie after following her blog and am so impressed to see the work you’ve begun on The Eleanor Rose Foundation. I have no doubt it will be successful – she’d be so proud.


  35. Lynne Oakley
    Jan 16, 2013 @ 08:37:09

    What an amazing man you are Tom and what a great tribute to special Ellie. Followed the blogs with such admiration and sadness.


  36. Wendy Secker
    Jan 16, 2013 @ 20:58:35

    All the very best to you Tom and my thoughts and love to Ellie, my own emotions are raw having lost my best friend to cancer two years ago, I will follow your website and my love and best wishes are with you.


  37. Susie Kroon
    Jan 21, 2013 @ 17:41:37

    Wishing you a Happy New Year Tom. I do uphold you and your two families in my prayers. I do know it is very difficult to lose a loved one to cancer. My mum died of cancer many years ago. Good Luck with the Eleanor Rose Foundation. God Bless!


  38. Robyn
    Jan 21, 2013 @ 21:47:42

    I never Met Ellie, but being one of the many who read her blog, she will not leave my thoughts. I live my life better having read her words. Well done for working to spread her vitality and strength to even more people.


  39. Helen
    Jan 24, 2013 @ 02:21:22

    I think about Ellie now and then and feel sad that she is gone. Hope the pain eases and good luck with the charity!


  40. Anouska Bush
    Jan 27, 2013 @ 22:54:00

    It’s so good to hear from you!! I think of you & Ellie often… even though I never met you guys, through Ellie’s blog, I feel as though I knew her and I still miss her updates. I hope you are well Tom. The website looks great. As a young cancer patient myself I know how wonderfully valuable this charity will be. I hope to be able to offer some kind of help myself in the future and become one of “Ellie’s Friends” In the meantime I will ask my friends who are beauty therapists if they will consider registering with you.
    Lots of love & best wishes for 2013
    Anouska xx


  41. Catherine
    Feb 11, 2013 @ 19:09:01

    Ellie has stayed on my mind ever since I came across her blog. I hope you and the rest of Ellie’s family find comfort in the fact that you were hugely privileged to know Ellie and share time with her. Thoughts and best wishes xxx Happy Birthday Ellie!


  42. Philippa
    Feb 17, 2013 @ 08:07:50

    Thank you for updating us, I will look at your website and see if I can help in any way and wish you all the best for the charity’s success. It is a wonderful idea and I like the idea of people pulling together and helping others through their actions/services – a big community of kind people. Although I didn’t know Ellie personally I think of her often, miss her, and am so sad about her death.


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