I'm a great believer in 'charity starts at home'. I'm also a supporter (as and when) to various animal charities. Prior to moving to the Netherlands I had a direct debit set up to the R.S.P.C.A, but now I support local animal charities here instead. BUT, my roots are very much English and always will be, so this one cause really hit a soft spot for me. I was just checking the BBC News site late one evening before going to bed. I have a look from time to time just to keep up with what's going on in the world (I have difficulties understand Dutch news!), and I saw a headline about a Teenager wanting to raise money for charity. I'm ashamed to say I didn't click the article as I immediately thought it was a scammer who'd been caught. How bad is that, and it just shows what the world is coming to that we even think that way. However, the next morning I was watching breakfast TV on BBC, not really paying much attention, but then Stephen Sutton came on. By the end of it, I was in tears. That is very unlike me. I felt compelled to make a donation then, but it wouldn't accept my card, so I sent Theo a message at work asking him to do it for me. He did, and even doubled the amount as he wished to donate too. So, Stephen, a young man I've never met, truly touched my heart, and that of a Dutchie too. We both followed his story from then on, but sadly it was short as he passed away a few weeks later :( For those who don't know, Stephen had a 'bucket list' and was one by one accomplishing all the things on it.....in doing so, raising money for Teenage Cancer Trust. Words are not enough, but what a star he was. One of the many things he did, was a very simple gather as many people as he could to do a thumbs up. I don't know the exact numbers, but thousands took part. That thumbs up symbol with your hands, became Stephens trademark. His initial goal was to raise £10,000, but when he achieved that, he increased it to £1 million. To date, he has raised over £4 million, much of which was donated since he passed away. A young man, who touched the heart of an entire nation (and beyond!). I don't have children myself, but I do have friends who do, and I'd be devastated if any of them ever has to go through what Stephen did. We can't all give to everything, and there are so many worthy causes out there. Teenage Cancer, although rare, is often overlooked. and sadly because of it's rarity, the symptoms in teens are often overlooked until it becomes too late. We all know about the various cancer/baby/animal charities but this is just as deserving. In my case, out of sight, out of mind was the case. But now it is high up on the list of causes I support. Although only a small token, I shall carry my keyring on my handbag as an awareness thing. If the opportunity arises for me to explain what it's for, I'll gladly do so.
Anyway, Dave Gibbons (the keyring maker) does this entirely for charity. He doesn't have a web shop as he'd be inundated with orders. They are very popular at shows though, so I'd ask you if you see him to consider buying one. He only asks £2 each - which is a bargain, and all goes to Teenage Cancer Trust. For people like me who live too far away, I've included some links below for you to check out Stephen Sutton. (If you don't want to click on the links, just type them in your address/search bar).
http://www.ferrershousehold.co.uk/ Medieval renactment group (keyring maker)
https://www.facebook.com/TheFerrersHousehold Medieval renactment group (keyring maker) Facebook page
https://www.justgiving.com/Stephen-sutton-TCT/ Stephen Suttons fundraising page
http://www.stephensstory.co.uk/ about Stephen Sutton, his story
https://www.teenagecancertrust.org/ Teenage Cancer Trust UK
Last but not least, I'd like to say a big thank you to Dave for the actual keyrings, which I might add, not only did he do them entirely for charity, but was also out of pocket in postage and packaging costs. Normally he does only sell them at medieval events, so a big thank you from both Theo and I. I'd like to add here, that other than a very short virtual friendship on a craft forum, we don't know each other at all. It's truly refreshing to see that kind of trust in a person nowadays.