All about Butterfly Giving

About Us:

Butterfly Giving is a charity founded by Hannah Larkin, now 17 years old. The charity is dedicated to fighting teenage cancer.

Many people think that cancer only affects older people, but 6 young people are diagnosed with cancer every day in the UK. Per week, that’s 42, per month, 186 – per year: 2190. With this in mind, Butterfly Giving aims to improve the quality of
life of teenagers (and friends and family) who are fighting cancer or those who are in remission. Butterfly Giving also aims to educate young people about cancer – how to prevent it, early signs and symptoms and what to do.

Butterfly Giving is based on one simple phrase:

‘It has been said that something as small as the flutter of a butterfly’s wing can ultimately cause a typhoon half-way around the world.’

Butterfly Giving wants to encourage more people to become involved in fundraising and to make a difference, especially the younger generation where fundraising can be considered ‘uncool’.

Butterfly Giving naturally follows the Butterfly effect. It happens in fashion all the time. We see somebody wear something completely outrageous and preposterous yet before they’ve walked the length of the catwalk, a style ‘inspired’ by such a look is becoming the next fashion sensation on the highstreet.

Why can’t fundraising be like this? Butterfly Giving is ran by young people, aiming to benefit young people. Working together, we can make a difference.

What is the inspiration behind the charity:

The charity was set up after Hannah met George Soars, an incredible young man who was diagnosed with cancer at a very young age and was forced to make a choice no young person should ever have to make; life or limb. George is thankfully well now but was forced to have a leg amputated. She was inspired by George’s positive attitude and how he overcame cancer at such a young age. George’s fighting mentality has been carried forward in the work he does for Butterfly Giving.

'George and Hannah at Youth Enterprise Live '12'

George and Hannah at Youth Enterprise Live '12

Hannah and George are now very close friends and George has taken the position of trustee within the charity.

Aims:

Butterfly Giving has 3 main aims. We couldn’t choose just one!

1) The first is to be able to afford and maintain a holiday retreat for young people with cancer. Many people with cancer cannot get insurance to go abroad on holiday and this is no different for teenagers with cancer. A fluctuating condition and  a potential requirement for treatment whilst abroad often make family holidays a no go for young people with cancer. This time to relax and to just be a young person can be very precious. To add to this, there are very limited respite facilities in the UK that are specifically designed for teenagers – many young people often find themselves sharing respite facilities that are more representative of very young children’s needs and requirements. We aim to purchase a holiday retreat just for teenagers as we strongly believe that a positive mental attitude is the first step on the road to recovery. We want young people can escape to a loving, cosy, age appropriate environment with their friends and family away from the harsh bleakness of life on a hospital ward.

2) Our second aim is to launch ‘Boobs&Boxers’ nationally.

‘Boobs&Boxers’ is a youth-led initiative to dispell the taboo of cancers such as breast and testicular. We want young people to know it’s okay to talk about this and the more it is openly talked about, the more awareness can be raised. Testicular cancer is often treated very easily and with great success, if caught early enough. We aim to teach teenagers how to self check and when and how to approach somebody if they think something’s not quite right. The project aims to teach skills that can be carried throughout life and so protecting young people as they reach maturity and throughout adulthood. Keep checking back to see when our official national launch of Boobs&Boxers will be and how you can get involved!

3) A close friend of Hannah’s was recently diagnosed with thyroid cancer. Treatment involved surgery and radio iodine to ensure all of the tumour had been removed or killed. As with any radiotherapy, the treatment carries risk, especially to those who come into contact with the patient. This being said, it meant that the friend was confined to a white-washed led lined room and her parents were permitted to stand in a small yellow box, twice a day for about 10 minutes at a time. She had only very limited contact with the nurses the time she was in isolation.

Hannah and a couple of friends decided to put together a ‘favourite things (and essentials)’ hamper. This was a little gift to try to make treatment that little bit more bearable. We are proud to announce that the cancer has hopefully gone for good! …But the project is here to stay!

If you know a teenager with cancer who deserves a little treat, please get in touch with us. Requests can be made by friends and family and medical or healthcare professionals. Please contact hannah.larkin@butterflygiving.org.uk.

 

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