Category Archives: donation

Hair today, gone…

Today! 

It was always our aim that our 60th Random Act of Kindness would be this one: LJM1 donating her hair to the Little Princess Trust where they make real-hair wigs for children sufferering from hair loss. Today was the day! 

Right at the start of this project, LJM1 decided that she would grow her hair for donation. Added to her already long hair, there was a lot of growth in the last 12 months! Last week we set up a justgiving page for sponsorship with all money going to the trust. We had a measly target of £30 as we honestly didn’t believe people would sponsor LJM1 just to have her hair chopped off! 

That target was smashed in minutes! In 24 hours nearly £250 had been raised. Today, that total is over £425! We’re astonished and it keeps going up. 

Today was the day LJM1 was booked in for the chop. Arriving at the salon, the hairdresser asked what was wanted. “Can you please braid it and then cut off the braids?” was not what she was expecting to hear! LJM1 had been a little nervous but that soon changed to excitement once sitting in the chair. Soon, it was all plaited and the first three were chopped off! LJM2 actually cut off the last plait: a most satisfying moment.

Now, LJM1 has very short chin-length hair (no pictures of our faces today though!) and a cold neck! It looks amazing and she is so chuffed with it! 

Furthermore, she has had almost 16 inches/200 grams of hair cut off. 


We hope that this will make a Little Princess (or Little Prince) smile. When she lost her hair she was given an amazing synthetic wig on the NHS. It really helped her look and feel like her old self.  The Little Princess Trust will combine LJM1’s hair with others of a similar colour and type. Up to five different donations go into making a wig. Twelve inches is needed for a long wig as up to four inches is lost in the knotting process. LJM1 has donated almost 16 inches! 


Finally a note from LJM1 to her hair’s recipient:

To whomever receives my hair, I am sure that you will be better at styling it than I have ever been! Let’s face it, that won’t be hard! My styles consist of ‘Let it flop’ and ‘oh, a hair bobble on my wrist, handy!’

However, here are a couple of tips: 

1. it’s not great with humidity, so I apologise if you end up looking a bit like Monica in that Barbados Friends episode. 

2. I’ve only got two grey hairs, which I’m sure they’ll have removed for you. 

3. Umberto Gianni Curl Friends works well if you want to embrace the curl and tame the frizz. 

4. Be thankful that you’re in an age of straighteners – growing up without GHDs with hair like your new hair meant I was very much surrounded by frizz.

5. Don’t use a crimper. Ever. Even if they come back in ‘fashion’. Not cool! 

In all seriousness, it’s yours. Take it! I’m glad that I had it to give away. I hope that your own hair returns one day but until then, embrace the frizz in humidity, the thickness, the curls and the wave (depending on how long your wig ends up!). Enjoy.

I’ve enjoyed growing it for you! 

Peace Blanket for RAK 59

It was a while ago when we contacted Justice First after seeing a tweet of theirs asking for fabric donations for their Peace Blanket project. As we are both crafty people we have accumulated a vast amount of fabric over the years. So, we decided to donate our unused fabric to Justice First, a Stockton-on-Tees based charity who help those seeking refugee status in the Tees Valley. 

As Charlotte from the charity explained to us, the Peace Blanket will be made up of individual squares, made by the refugee community on Teesside, and supporters of the project. The squares will say what ‘peace’ means to that person. When complete it will be displayed in various places across Teesside. 


Supporting refugees is something that we feel strongly about and we hope that we are able to support Justice First at their workshops once they have enough fabric to begin. 


Our fabric is all ready to go and will be posted first thing Monday!

Milk 


Browsing the internet one day I came across a story about a baby who had received donor breastmilk while in special care. I wasn’t aware such a practice existed so I researched further. Now, here I am, a few weeks down the line expressing my own breast milk into bottles and storing them in my freezer ready to be collected in a few weeks. 

I’ve always had a pretty good milk supply (my record is 10 ounces expressed in 20 minutes) so I knew it was something I would be able to do. 

There are a few rules to follow – hygiene of course being extremely important – but basically I sterilise my equipment (I use a manual hand pump), express milk, put the expressed milk in a bottle, write my name & date on it, pop it in a bag & store it in my freezer. I also keep a record of my freezer temperature on a daily basis. 

When the time comes to collect, a volunteer courier will come from Chester to my house, collect my milk and take it back to Chester.  When the courier picks up my first batch of milk I will get a form to have a blood screening test from my doctor to make sure I’m free of infectious diseases. 

When the milk is received it is pasteurised and tested for its macronutrient content (its composition of fat, carbohydrate, total solids and calories per 100ml). It is then refrozen and issued to hospitals. 

This is probably one of the most time-consuming RAKs for me as it is something I really have to do every day to ensure I can keep providing enough milk (the body’s production of milk works on a supply and demand basis). It’s not a chore though – bizarrely I enjoy watching it collect in the little bottle knowing it will help a sick or premature baby in the future. Also, I see it as a way of giving something back to the NHS. I’m looking forward to my first batch being collected and processed.

http://www.northwesthmb.org.uk 

Baby clothes for Marie Curie – 220! 

Between us LJM 1 & I have 4 little LJMs and many friends with little ones too. Having the youngest baby has meant that a lot of friends & family have passed on baby clothes to me. When my son outgrew the smallest sizes I decided I needed to donate some as he hadn’t worn so much of it. I kept enough back should I or LJM1 have any more children in the future but I still managed to get together 220 items of clothing in the smallest sizes! 

Yesterday I took the huge haul to our local Marie Curie shop to donate. 

She never needed Marie Curie nurses but I know there are many who rely on this wonderful charity. I hope these items help raise some money for the great work it does. 

Close To You


Yesterday was World Blood Donor day (I happened to stumble upon this on Twitter). It just so happens that today, I was booked into to give blood.

Giving blood is an Act of Kindness that hundreds of people do every day. I have done it twice myself before aged 17/18 but it has been a long time since then. During the 14ish years since my last donation, a lot has changed.

All that time ago, she regularly donated blood. It was one of the things that she was passionate about. I remember her telling us she was proud of us for doing it and proud when we signed up to be on the Bone Marrow register.  So, when she was no longer able to donate blood after her illness, she was incredibly upset that she could not continue to help others. It was her turn for the help. During her treatment she had a few blood transfusions. They were never going to save her life, not in her case. But the difference in her after a transfusion was incredible. She went from breathless and pale to relatively normal-looking (and breathing!) straight away. It improved her quality of life.
I have always intended to get back into giving blood. I lapsed due to moving to university and then abroad and I never started again despite meaning to. I wanted to do it for her, to repay the blood she used and more. Maybe I will help someone like her? Maybe if I’d still been donating all those years ago she could have had my blood, the blood she created, the very same type. Tonight I did it.

Walking into the donation room was familiar; I had been in the church hall many times before, a lot of them with her. When I walked in and sat down the song on the radio was one by The Carpenters: Close to You.

Just like me, they long to be, 

Close to you.

And I felt it. I was doing something she was proud of, listening to a song that reminded me intensely of her.

So they sprinkled moon dust in your hair and starlight in your eyes of blue. 

A memory came to me whilst in the toilet, of all places. I had been there before, with her. Only not just her, she was helping a small child. They girl was perhaps five. We had been watching a pantomime there and the girl was desperate for the toilet but the people she was with would not accompany her. She took her. I remember it clearly because the girl was covered in severe eczema and was uncomfortable. I remembered watching the kindness she showed, the poor sweet girl’s silent gratitude as she helped her and took her back to her seat. A small and almost forgotten memory but another showing her character.

Just like me, they long to be, 

Close to you. 

As I lay there, needle in arm watching interestedly as my blood was collected, my progress measured by the blood being weighed, I thought about all the others in the room. There were loads of people. What was their motivation? Where had mine been for all these missed years? I saw some familiar faces, a father I recognised whose daughter had had leukaemia. Was she his motivation? Everyone has some inspiration, some motivation, a reason for being there. I had mine. This project spurred me into action but I wish I had gone back sooner.

It was painless and easy and I’m already booked in again for next time. If you’re reading this and you’ve lapsed from giving blood or have never given it then please let this spur you on. You never know who you might help. You may save a live, prolong a life or improve a life. What a gift!