This is a very personal post, I hope that you will be able to find time to read, share or donate. And if you fancy a treat .... read on to find out how to buy some homemade fudge made by a Norland student. Thank you xx
Back in 1989 I was working at Lex Vehicle Leasing and I met my friends Tracey and Tina and then one night after boyfriend troubles, we organised a girls night out and Tracey introduced us to Jo! The four of us have been friends for the past 31 years. We've supported each other through the ups and downs of life, having babies, menopause, older parents and along the way we have had lots of laughter and some fabulous nights out, girls weekends and weekends away with the husbands! Can't wait to see them again, damn you Covid!
But amongst the fun and friendship, there is also a really sad story that I'd like to share and I really hope that you will understand my decision to write about it on my blog and ultimately ask for some help.
Jo has two daughters, Jessica and Olivia. Jessica is now 24 and is 6 months older than my son Alex. Jo and her husband Steve along with Jessica were the only witnesses and guests at our wedding in 1998.
Ten years ago Jessica became quite unwell. It started after a virus infection and she also had some huge challenges with her mental health and it turned out it was all linked. Jessica is now 24 but when she was 14 she was diagnosed with Myalgic Encephalomyelitis or ME to keep it simple!
Her decline has been devastating to witness. Jessica is a beautiful and intelligent young woman who excelled at school and was looking forward to applying to university, her dream was to go to Cambridge. After a year struggling in sixth form, she had to accept she could no longer continue her studies and made a decision to put all her dreams on hold.
Jessica is now housebound and mostly bed bound. She has tried to commit suicide on numerous occasions because she simply cannot see a future.
When she was still able, Jessica worked hard within her limitations to lead an active a life as possible, She volunteered for a number of charity roles. She has been youth ambassador for a mental health charity, worked as helpline volunteer for another charity, learnt archery and became an archery coach, been a food bank volunteer and has even been a parish counsellor. She has also done some hair modelling for her friend - hence the stunning photo above! But her recent decline has made it impossible to continue with any of this.
Today, Jessica rarely leaves her bedroom and has been diagnosed with a number of additional health problems that cannot be treated under the NHS or even in the UK.
Her family needed to raise a massive £100,000 to fund her tests, treatments and rehabilitation. And this all happened during the 2020/21 pandemic. Amazingly though, and along with an exceptionally generous donation from a close friend and local businessman, they have almost reached their initial target and they can book her treatment in Barcelona. But ... there are a few buts!
The surgery she needs will not cure her. But it may well give her a quality of life that she can currently only dream of. Jessica would love to be able to go out and see her friends, she would love to resume her volunteer roles and go back to her archery. And ultimately she would love to go to university. She knows her life will never be completely normal - not the kind of life we all wish for our children - but with some hope she may be able to have the next best thing and she is determined she will achieve her dreams.
Below: Jessica is currently bed bound and very very sick, her mother Jo is one of my best friends and Jessica is the same age as my son Alex.
And another but .... the fundraising and large donation so far will pay for her surgery and accommodation costs in Barcelona where the surgeon is located. However, more fundraising is needed to cover the cost of additional tests, unexpected expenses and rehabilitation. Jessica also desperately needs a new electric wheelchair as her current one can no longer be repaired. Her wheelchair is her only means of living independently when she is able to venture out.
Can you help us?
Myself, Tracey and Tina are helping Jo and Jessica in their quest to raise the money Jessica so desperately needs. The urgency may be less now but it would be amazing if we could come together and help towards a new wheelchair.
Ways to help ....
Do you love FUDGE?
As many of you know my daughter Emily is at Norland College studying for an early years degree and the famous Norland diploma. Her housemate Kiera has recently set up a fundraising initiative and she is hand making a selection of different fudges which she sells locally in Bath and at college (her instagram is Fudge4Charity).
Kiera has agreed to donate the money she raises during the week of 26th April to Jessica's Fight for a Life fundraising.
And she has also agreed to make an extra batch so that readers of my blog can order some delicious fudge, help Jessica and enjoy a treat!
The fudge this week is Malteser Fudge!
Milk Chocolate Malteser Fudge with a White Chocolate and Malteser Topping
Original recipe and photo from @tamingtwins
How to order your homemade fudge
Email your order to me at email@example.com.
Please provide your address and how many bags you would like.
Each bag costs £3.00 (this includes a contribution to the postage cost).
I will reply with details of how to pay and full allergy information.
Orders need to be submitted by Sunday 25th April at 4 pm. ORDERS NOW CLOSED!
First come, first served, we are only able to make a limited number of bags.
Your fudge will be posted to you on or before Friday 30th April.
We'd so appreciate your support! Thank you xx
Other ways to help ...
Share Jessica's fundraising facebook page
Please please SHARE SHARE and SHARE again our fundraising facebook post! You can find it on Jessica's page Team Diamond: Jessica's Fight for a Life and it is the pinned post at the top! Or you can find it on my own Facebook page.
Make a donation
Please donate if you can. We totally recognise that 2020/21 has been a really difficult year for many financially but if you can spare any amount, however small - please make a donation and gift aid if you can to Jessica's Just Giving page.
Set up your own event or challenge
Would you like to do a fundraising event for Jessica? Jessica's assistant cycled to Koblenz in Germany and Jessica's sister Olivia has been using her spare time to crochet some amazing items she is selling on her Etsy shop Liv's Cosy Creations. So far Liv has raised nearly £1,000 for her sister.
Can you help Jessica fulfil her dream of living a near normal life? Every little helps - it can be a small donation, a bigger donation, buying some fudge, or just sharing our campaign but it will make a difference. And we will be so grateful.
FIND OUT MORE ABOUT THE CAMPAIGN Facebook
DONATE HERE JustGiving - Fudge4Charity event page
BUY HANDMADE KNITS Liv's Cosy Creations
FIND OUT MORE ABOUT Fudge4Charity
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It is a way to connect with other bloggers and share content and hopefully for me to be found by others and for my followers to discover new blogs!
Welcome to Fifty & Fab, a lifestyle blog to inspire you. I am a blogger with a passion for writing about health, menopause, fitness, beauty and style with a focus on the over 50's.
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Hi, I’m Michelle and my blog Fifty & Fab is all about my journey into and through my 50s. I started this blog in 2016 with the purpose of helping other women at this stage of life. I’m delighted that my blog has grown to over 13k visitors per month. Visit my Work with Me page and request my Media Kit for details of product reviews, blogging services and social media content creation.
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