A TEAM of travel agents from Heswall will put their best feet forward to raise money for a charity which was inspired by the kindness and bravery of a young woman who died from leukaemia.
The Candice Colley Foundation has been selected by staff at Hays Travel in Heswall to be their chosen charity for the second year running.
Candice died in 2010, aged 23, after a four-year battle with the disease – a cancer which affects the blood and bone marrow.
Her mother, Angela Marincowitz, 51, set up the Foundation in Candice’s memory to support blood cancer patients and their families during their time on Ward 30 at Arrowe Park Hospital and the Royal Liverpool Hospital’s Bone Marrow Transplant Unit which helped treat Candice.
It provides grants to help families cover the expenses of having a loved one in hospital as well as ‘feel-good’ treat bags to support inpatients as they go through their treatment.
Hays Travel Heswall’s assistant manager Gemma Townsend – whose daughter Lily is Candice’s cousin – originally suggested the charity to her work colleagues – said she was delighted that the team were able to carry on fundraising for the charity this year.
She said: “Seeing the work that Candice did to help others before she passed away is really inspiring and we want to help get the Foundation’s name out and about. It’s also personal for us too – my daughter is only five so never met her amazing cousin but talks about her all the time.
“She wants to do a cake sale this year to raise money for Candice!”
Every year, Hays Travel North West, which is the UK’s fastest growing independent travel agency, asks each of its stores to generate at least £500 for a chosen charity.
Hays Travel Heswall branch manager Louisa Brady said her five-strong team will be taking on the 15-mile Wirral Coastal Walk in June, with all money raised going to the charity.
Louisa said: “We decided to support the Candice Colley Foundation again as we really believe in the work that it does and it’s so important to put back into your own community.
“Candice was a local girl and many of our customers know of her or have a personal connection with the hospitals the Foundation works to support. Candice was an inspirational young woman and we are delighted to be able support such a special charity.”
Diagnosed with leukaemia at the age of 19, Candice endured two years of gruelling treatment before going into remission. For a year, the family felt they were getting back to normal and Candice had been accepted for nurse training at Chester University.
But just five months before she was due to start her course, Candice’s health deteriorated, and she was admitted to the Royal Liverpool Hospital for a bone marrow transplant. Although the transplant was a success, Candice contracted an infection and tragically died in December 2010.
Even when Candice was terminally ill, Angela, a charity worker who lives with her wife Sandra in Thingwall, said that their daughter had wanted to support others.
It was the unexpected costs of having a family member seriously ill – such as travel or lost income – that originally gave Candice the idea of ‘helping to make life a little easier’.
Angela said: “We were financially equipped to deal with our daughter being ill but as a family we recognised early on in Candice’s treatment that others weren’t necessarily as fortunate.
“Candice was really keen to do some fundraising to help others and this is where the inspiration for the Foundation came from – it came from her.”
Angela said she believed her ‘strong-willed, loyal and passionate’ daughter would have been proud of the Foundation they went on to set up in her name.
She said: “We have seen the number of people coming to us for help significantly increase over the last 12 months and that is worrying. We know what others are going through and if the Foundation can just make it a little bit easier, then the work we do and all the money we raise is worth it.”
Angela said all the money raised by Hays Travel Heswall would enable the Candice Colley Foundation to continue with her daughter’s legacy and support even more families across the Wirral.
She said: “The Foundation is about keeping Candice’s memory alive and to ensure that something good comes out of what happened to her. It has been really difficult at times but to be able to help other people is such an affirmation of Candice’s life.
“We are so grateful for what Hays Travel Heswall are doing, and the fact that Gemma is Lily’s mum makes it extra special. Through Gemma, I know the team well and they are busy, amazing women who are prepared to do something to help others and I can’t thank them enough.”
Hays Travel North West Managing Director Don Bircham congratulated the Heswall team on their fundraising efforts.
He said: “All our branches totally embrace the annual Hays Travel fundraising challenge and it is wonderful to hear that Heswall have chosen such a worthy charity for a second year which I know is close to their hearts. The team have totally thrown themselves in to supporting the Candice Colley Foundation and are on track to beat their £500 target, which will help the Foundation support even more families in need.”
You can support the Hays Travel Heswall Team and their fundraising by donating via their JustGiving Page www.justgiving.com/fundraising/heswall-hays-travel2
More information on the work of the Candice Colley Foundation www.candicecolley.co.uk