Guest blog - NICK’S STORY by CARINA TALMEY

 

We recently donated a weekend away at the Wiremill as a prize for a fundraising event which was held in honour and support of Nick Stanley on Sunday 11th September. This is the story that encouraged us to help Team Stanley, told by his good friend and former colleague, Carina Talmey. 

After years of hard work at school and university, I was loving my new job as an Occupational Therapist (OT) at Chelsea and Westminster Hospital in London, but after a long illness which saw me out of action for nearly eight months, the thought of returning to work was pretty daunting. That’s when I met Nick Stanley.

Nick was a Locum OT at the hospital (meaning he covered shifts across a range of specialties – an incredibly competitive sector) and worked in the Trauma Unit, to which I was returning. Not only was he a fantastic colleague and OT, he also quickly became a great friend. He held my hand as I made a tentative return to a crazy world, stood by my side when I needed him and encouraged me to stand alone.

In the six short months we worked together, I learned more from Nick than I ever had from anyone. He rebuilt my confidence and left me believing in myself. He also helped develop my love for the Trauma Unit –  I am now the lead OT at my local hospital and am training to become a specialist in spinal cord injury.

You can imagine my horror when a few months ago, news reached me that Nick had been involved in a serious accident. He’d been knocked off of his bike whilst cycling to work and was left fighting for his life in intensive care. 

Against the odds, Nick bravely fought back from the brink. Tragically, he had sustained life-changing injuries. A severe spinal cord injury had left him paralysed from the waist down and further injuries resulted in him losing the use of his left arm. As a friend, I was devastated by his life had changed and as an OT, I understood exactly just how much.

But Nick had so many reasons to get better. His wife of nearly 3 years, Nicole. His little girl, Rylee-May. The unborn baby his wife was carrying at the time of the accident. An entire family and friends who loved him. And his patients of the future.

Having had such an impact on my life, I knew I had to do something to support Nick and his family in their time of need. They are always the ones that help others – now it was our turn. A close friend of the family set up a fundraising page and friends, family, colleagues and former patients flocked to offer their support. I wanted to offer something to help but I knew that if I put my mind to it, I could turn my donation into something more.

Cue the Team Stanley Fundraiser.

I hired a community centre, invited some friends along and wrote to local businesses, asking if they would be able to support the event in any way. I envisaged a raffle with maybe one or two nice prizes, a little cake sale in the corner and hoped to perhaps raise a few hundred pounds for my friend and his family.

It’s now three months later and I feel like I’ve taken on a second job as an events planner! With the support of my own incredible family and friends (particularly my loyal sidekicks Emma and Sam), we’ve created an event which we hope will be really special.

There’ll be a buffet, alongside the cake sale, a whole section for kiddies with a tombola, lucky dip, guessing games and face-painting (I offered to have them try a few faces on me – I now look as if I’ve had a bit of a dodgy tan!). There’s also a raffle so phenomenal I can still barely believe it. For even in a time when money is tight and business is tough, unbelievable generosity from local businesses has seen us create a raffle with over £1,000 worth of prizes! We’ve had so much support; we’ve had to put some of the prizes in a silent auction! With generous donations from people who can’t be there (and also monetary donations from some local businesses too), we also have a healthy fund – before the day has even arrived.

It’s schemes like the Random Acts Of Kindness project that make it possible for people like me to do things like this. They have helped me turn a little idea into a huge fundraiser. That in turn is going to make the most amazing difference for Nick and his family. The money can be used to help make their property accessible. It can take off the financial strain (neither Nick nor Nicole have been able to work for many months now, being stuck miles away from home with Nick in a spinal rehab unit). It can take away some unnecessary worries and it can allow Nick to focus on his rehab to regain as much independence as his injuries will allow. It will quite literally help change their lives for the better, at a time when they have had to face so many difficult challenges.

So thank you – family, friends, businesses. Thank you to projects like The Random Acts Of Kindness. Thank you for helping me help my friend.

Written by: Carina Talmey

 

HEY BIDDER, BIDDER, BIDDER

By now, you'll have probably gotten the gist of how RAOK works. Today's good deed? We donated a weekend away at our beaut' of a country escape, the Wiremill, to Macmillan Cancer Support.

It was sold off in an auction during their On Track for Summer event and even included the private gazebo, bubbly and brekkie (or bubbly for brekkie perhaps, we don't judge!). It felt like a great way to celebrate our recent title win of Best Boutique Stay in Surrey and also, an excellent opportunity to support Macmillan for all the work that they do.

We've yet to hear who the auction winner is but we'll be sure to keep you updated (and to hopefully get a snazzy photo)..

RAOK FROM THE LEAST EXPECTED

Any random act of kindness is pretty incredible but this woman? She's something else.

Fiona Munro gave two strangers in a diner a £20 note to pay for their lunch. Yes, that's pretty great all on its own but what makes this experience all the more amazing is that those £20 came from money that she received from family and friends as a gift, for her and her husband to treat themselves while Fiona recuperates from her cancer.

But wait, it gets better. One RAOK motivates another, as it turns out the women Fiona gave the money to have pledged to do a RAOK of their own with a charity bungee-jump! Talk about inspiring! We've contacted Fiona so we can make her smile like she made those two women smile. If we don't hear from her that's OK, too (she has the right to her privacy, of course). Stay tuned!

ICE, ICE (COFFEE) BABY

Yeah ok, the headline gives it away...but it's Monday, so cut us some slack! Some of you are probably still recovering from hardcore partying at Lovebox. We too love a festival, which was why we decided to join in on the fun during Somers Town Festival (we are Somers Town Coffee House, after all). And what better way than to give away some free iced coffee, chips and sandwiches? #RAOK

BLOOD, SWEAT AND HAIR (HELP SAVE A LIFE TODAY)

One of our lovely chefs, Gina Simmonds, has decided she'd like to do something special to support Team Margot and Live Your Life Day (in honour of Franca Knowles), and we couldn't be more proud.

On Thursday 28th July, Gina will be parting ways with her blue head of hair (which she's also dyed for the occasion). If you want to see the event in action, make sure you DONATE and then pop into Somers Town Coffee House on the day (around 1pm).

Now, although we want you to shower Gina with donations (HAVE YOU CLICKED DONATE YET?!) so that we can pass these on to Team Margot, what we want more than anything is to raise awareness about how YOU can help save a life. Register to become a blood stem cell / bone marrow donor today. 

#RandomActsofKindness
#LiveYourLifeDay
#TeamMargot

LIVE YOUR LIFE DAY

Friday's are generally great days but last Friday was extra special. Not only was it the night before Anthony's wedding (Owner / Dark Lord at Yummy) but it was also LIVE YOUR LIFE DAY in honour of Franca Knowles and in support of Team Margot.

So, what did we do? We shaved Gina's head. Ah, yes - remember how we badgered you about donating money to her fundraising page so we could give her a snazzy buzz cut? Well, the day arrived and if anyone can rock a hair-less head, it's our Gina. The customers at Somers Town also got in on the fun (check out the man who decided to WEAR Gina's hair...).

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She'll still raising money for Team Margot, so keep donating! Most importantly though, sign up to become a donor. You could save a life.

#LiveYourLifeDay

CRONUT

Let's highlight a business that we came across during the weekend. Ever heard of a CRONUT? Yeah, we thought so. Well, we ventured into hipsterville (also known as Brick Lane) and came across DUM DUM. Two cronuts and a mini-chat with their charming waitress later, we discovered that the cafe folk actually donate leftover baked goods to homeless people when they can. When we asked if there was a particular reason why, the reply was simple - why not? Ain't nothing DUM about that.