Hair for Hospices 2013 starts tomorrow and it is hard to believe just how much it has developed since it was held last year. I have spoken many times of how this event seemed to develop a life and grew beyond anything I could have imagined. This has continued and over the coming month hospices around the UK and as far away as Brazil, Canada, Israel and the USA will benefit from activities held to support them.
When I attended a recent UN based meeting in the USA in August I was told many delegates would be following the initiative in some way in their own countries. I feel very humbled that I have so many good friends and colleagues around the world who think this is important to them and their countires and I hope to hear that many hospices have benefited from this simple idea in 2013. What started as a simple thanks on my part to our local hospice really has taken root and become important to many others.
One of my colleagues in the UK contacted me to tell me that he was approached to complete a questionnaire at work. In return for completing this, the company asking for his time offered to make a donation of £70 to a charity of his choice. He selected his local hospice to support Hair for Hospices and suggested that others approached in this way might like to think of their local hospice as the recipient for these donations – many thanks, Paul. This is a simple way of making donations to a hospice at no cost to you and I hope others take this opportunity if they can.
East Lancashire Hospice has covered Hair for Hospices in the current edition of their newsletter (pages 4 and 5). It seems that some people started hair related events early and I wish them luck with the campaign this month.
I am writing this as I return from a UN-based meeting in the USA following up on the meeting at which I was invited to talk about the first Hair for Hospices in 2012. Many remembered my presentation and had participated last year and plan to do so again this year. However, I was very touched by a small number of colleagues who spoke to me privately to tell me of serious and terminal illness that had been diagnosed in their family members since last year.
It is very difficult to know what to say at such times. Having experienced this I can only pray they continue to have the strength they need to love, support and bring peace of mind to their loved ones, showing them the dignity they deserve at this difficult time. As Carol said to me in her last month, “Now is not the time for wailing and crying – that will come later for you. For now, I need you to be strong for me to help me through to the end.”.
It is important to add life to their hours and to make this precious time as meaningful for all concerned as possible in the time you have left together. In this, hospices help wonderfully, the only problem being that there are too few hospices to help all those who need their services.
With the help of those reading this, perhaps hospices will gain wider acknowledgement and support through Hair for Hospices. Anything you can do for your local hospice would be a wonderful gesture – and if you have no local hospice, perhaps you might speak with others to see if something might be arranged to fill this need in your area.
Thank you for reading this and for all your continued support.
I am really encouraged to see how support for Hair for Hospices 2013 is growing and it is particularly good to see children becoming involved to help their local hospice. Pupils at Woodthorpe Primary School in Yorkshire are holding a bad day to support St Leonards Hospice in York . Please read the article at this link and if you are in the area please support them and encourage other schools to join them in the event.
Just in case you need to be convinced of how much fun can be had holding an event, please follow this link () to see me and colleagues doing wacky hair related things last year – can you better this?!!!
I’ve also seen events for this year being advertised by Peace Hospice in Watford () and St Mary’s Hospice in Ulverston ().
It would be wonderful to see this spread far and wide so please let me know what you are planning – and apologies to anyone I’ve missed out so far. Please give me another nudge to make sure I include you soon.
I know that Hair for Hospices is popular with many individuals and hospices because it is so simple in concept and inclusive. However, even now there is still the opportunity to leave me almost speechless when I learn how much it means to others supporting it.
Yesterday I received a message from a friend and colleague who is responsible for managing Microbioticos, a large analytical testing laboratory in Brazil. Rodrigo personally supported the Hair for Hospices day last year and this year he has gone one better. All employees in the company have been given a day of paid leave so that they can use the time to volunteer in a local hospice. The scale and generosity of this offer is truly humbling and means so much more to me than a financial donation. Thank you Rodrigo, your managers and all your colleagues. Is it possible that in doing this you might be setting an example for other businesses to follow?
As I’m dealing with an international theme, I should mention that I’ve received a reminder about Hospice Care Week from Help the Hospices. More details on this can be found on Twitter at @HelptheHospices.
Please put 7-13 October 2013 into your diary and consider holding an event during this period for both this and Hair for Hospices. You can find out more about Hospice Care Week at http://bit.ly/17DpZQc
From here I will bring the blog to a closer and more personal connection. My late wife Carol spent many years in Southport before moving to university and then leaving home. Indeed, Carol’s mother still lives in Southport so I was pleased to hear that Queenscourt Hospice in Southport is keen to be involved in Hair for Hospices 2013. They have produced the poster below and also featured the event on their website at http://www.queenscourt.org.uk/index.php?option=com_k2&view=item&id=55:hair-for-hospices-2013&Itemid=86. Please visit this site and if you are local to the area please join in!
Thank you all again for your continued support and encouragement. It would be wonderful if Hair for Hospices could continue to grow and become something very special for all hospices around the world. With your help it could become just that.
When I woke up this morning I was suddenly struck by two things. The first is that today would have been our 30th wedding anniversary had Carol been spared. This is a very sobering thought and brings floods of thoughts of how we had planned to celebrate this special day. This was closely followed by remembering that one year ago today was the first Hair for Hospices day which was such a wonderful and fitting memorial for someone who was so passionate about supporting hospices and charity.
I have been incredibly supported by so many who want to see Hair for Hospices continue to grow to become a cause to support hospices all around the world. The support last year year far exceeded anything I could have possibly imagined when I innocently said I’d shave off my beard to raise support for the hospices in which Carol died.
It is now less than two months until Hair for Hospices 2014 from 1 – 28 October and I am delighted to know that many hospices both in the UK and abroad will benefit from the cause. It is particularly gratifying to know that some hospices are now working collaboratively in groups to use this theme to raise public awareness of the need for the service and care they offer.
Please let me know what you are planning and send me copies of any publicity and I will show it to others on this site. Thank you all again so much for making this event such a fitting and practical memorial.
The end of July is rapidly approaching so it is now only just over two months from Hair for Hospices 2013 which will be from 1 -28 October. This blog now has readers in 64 countries, from Aizerbaijan to the USA and from the Maldives to Mongolia! Thanks to everyone reading this for your support and I’d like to think that in some way this will help local hospices around the world in October.
I am having some very interesting discussions with hospices and individuals who would like to be associated with this cause and I’m more than happy to give you as much time as I can to help local hospices benefit from Hair for Hospices.
Some organisations have already launched their publicity campaigns and sent me the posters they are using for this. Two posters for the event are shown below and I’d be more than happy to publish YOUR publicity material on my blog as I found last year that everyone takes a different approach and we can all learn from others and the effect is synergistic.
As you can see from the above, some interesting ideas have been launched. Please don’t forget the logo at the top of this blog is available in a range of qualities and can be freely used in publicity material. I also have a good source of T-shirts and other materials using the logos – the larger the quantity we order collectively, the lower the unit cost. What about providing Hair for Hospices “kits” for participants with a T-shirt or some other publicity material?
Thanks for reading this and I look forward to hearing from you if you’d like to do something for your local hospice.
This weekend I had the pleasure of accepting an invitation to deliver a workshop on Hair for Hospices to the National Association of Hospice Fundraisers annual meeting in Derry – Londonderry. I was asked to talk about the journey our family had undertaken since we lost Carol in December 2011 and our charitable work for hospices.
I’m delighted to report that the workshop was well attended. There was real interest in what we’ve done and what we are now planning for 2013. In addition, it was really heartening to speak to other attendees who had not attended the workshop but still wanted to know more of our plans and adopt the event.
We are now well on our way to holding a major event from 1 – 28 October 2013 and it is particularly encouraging to see that hospices are beginning to form groups to mutually promote this event in their own individual ways. As many said to me, the idea behind Hair for Hospices is so deceptively simple but completely inclusive, regardless of age, gender or background – everyone can do something to help their local hospice in a hair related way and the benefits are immediately apparent in the help given to local hospices.
Hard though it may be to believe, hospices in the UK must raise over £500m every year just to provide their invaluable support to patients and their families. You can help by joining in and supporting your local hospice. If you would like to help but don’t know how to do this please feel free to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I’ll be happy to discuss this further with you and put you in touch with your local hospice.
As the workshop was held in Northern Ireland, it is appropriate to mention that Sam Mitchell, a colleague and friend here raised over £900 including Gift Aid for his local children’s hospice in Northern Ireland for shaving of his venerable moustache as part of Hair for Hospices 2012. Sam recently received a certificate for this and I’ve included this below. It is a sobering thought that a relatively small number of individuals participated last year, each raising from hundreds to thousands of pounds for their local hospices. Just imagine the difference we could all make to hospice funding with hundereds of individuals involved – and you don’t have to be in the UK to participate because Hair for Hospices is now spreading around the world!