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Pixie's Happy Bags: raising money for Cancer Research
"I am a survivor of cancer, one day at a time. It's not always easy."
In January 2012, Juliana Matthews was diagnosed with breast cancer. She underwent surgery in February, completed chemotherapy in July and has now finished four weeks of daily radiotherapy. As she was about to begin chemotherapy, she decided to set up a monthly £50 standing order to Cancer Research. Before she managed to set it up, however, a "Bag of Joy" arrived in the post from a friend of her mother. It was a small sack containing various items and a paper scroll explaining what each bit represented:
"It just sort of hit a nerve and I realised that if I spent my £50 buying components, I may be able to raise £500."
She ordered everything she needed from Ebay and started selling the Happy Bags to other women with Breast Cancer. She contributes by buying all the contents and creating the bags, and 100% of the £2 cost goes direct to Cancer Research. She doesn't charge any postage and finds that at least once a week someone sends stamps or donates padded envelopes. Juliana has no marketing budget and so is reliant on word of mouth and social networking.
She has now raised over £4000 and is about to launch Pixie's Christmas Sacks: "I would like every tree in the country to have one, to remind us that Cancer never takes a day off and to raise lots of money as it is only through research that we will beat this."
The bags have a laminated tag to explain the contents, which are as follows:
A marble, for when you lose all of yours
A piece of string, for when you can no longer hold it together
An eraser, so you can rub out your mistakes and start your day over
A teddy bear, so you can always have a hug
A coin, so you will never be broke
A heart, so you always know someone loves you
A four leaf clover, to wish you all the luck in the world
When Juliana started chemotherapy in April, she started an online forum called "The Easter Chemo Bunnies". The 16 members, between the ages of 30 and 62, have never met face to face but have supported each other online as they have endured surgery, chemotherapy, radiotherapy and a host of other treatments. They are meeting for the first time on 27 October for a "Bunnyfeste" to celebrate.