#rainbowsforresearch

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Today I’m excited to launch my new fundraising campaign #rainbowsforresearch, raising money for The Brain Tumour Charity: The Michael Barry Fund as part of Brain Tumour Awareness Month coming up in March. I’ve been working on this in secret for a little while so I’m very excited to tell you all about it!

As some of you may remember from last year, March is Brain Tumour Awareness month, and it all starts on Friday 2 March (just 3 weeks from now) when The Brain Tumour Charity are asking everyone to don a bandana and, this year, to also get baking to help raise funds and awareness and show your support for the charity. (You can read more about the charity’s Big Bandana Bake campaign for 2018 here)

This is a statistic I often quote – brain tumours are the biggest cancer killer of children and under 40s, but in the UK less than 2% of cancer research funding is spent on research into brain tumours. For the 10,600 people diagnosed each year, this isn’t good enough. You can help us change this. The Brain Tumour Charity aims to raise £150k throughout Brain Tumour Awareness Month in March, which could fund a life saving research project for over two years.

I decided to give my fundraising for The Michael Barry Fund a rainbow spin this year, so I’ve come up with products and ideas which all link in with the bandana campaign, but with lots of rainbow colours! And since the aim of the fundraising is to raise money for brain tumour research, I’ve decided to call it #rainbowsforresearch

Why rainbows?

So why choose a rainbow theme? Well, first and foremost, I love colour, as much of it as I can get, and Michael was just the same. You might also have noticed that rainbows are very “on trend” at the moment – over the past year or so the internet has been going wild for anything rainbow themed, and I think it’s such a great expression of colour, creativity and happiness.

Rainbows can also stand for many things, and I love that rainbows are a symbol of hope, which it’s a perfect theme for the fundraising campaign. Setting up The Michael Barry Fund and getting involved with The Brain Tumour Charity have been my beacons of hope since losing Michael. I recently read a quote on Pinterest which summed up exactly what I mean by this, which I have paraphrased slightly below:

When a rainbow appears, it doesn’t mean that the storm didn’t happen. What it means is that something beautiful has appeared in the midst of the darkness and clouds

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And if you’ve been reading my blog for a while, you’ll know that Michael was a truly colourful character, as you can see from these pictures! Both of which were taken while he was going through chemo. It makes me so proud to see how happy and full of life he was, and that never changed. So all in all, rainbows seemed to be the perfect theme for this year’s fundraising – full of happiness and colour. Just like my Michael.

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Fundraising Products

I’ve put together a new collection of rainbow inspired fundraising products to tie in with the campaign, which are all available to buy now in my pop up online rainbow shop! 100% of the profits from each item will go to Michael’s fund – I have donated all of my time and most of the materials in making these rainbow goodies! All of the items are limited edition and have been made in small runs, and I have priced them affordably to sell so that we can try and raise as much as possible during brain tumour awareness month. So please go and fill your baskets with rainbow goodies, and wear them with me on Friday 2 March!

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My favourite new product is the bandana necklace. I’m a big fan of novelty acrylic jewellery, and I had the idea of making a necklace version of a bandana as a fun new take on the concept. I came up with a simple design based on a bandana tied around your neck, and worked with the lovely folks at Yeah Laser to turn my idea into an amazing acrylic necklace! I’ve made the necklace in a range of colours, including this bright rainbow combo, plus a pastel rainbow version, and red and aqua colour ways to be in keeping with the colours of The Brain Tumour Charity. I’m so happy with how they turned out, and I think they look fab with stripey tops! You can buy the necklaces here.

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I’ve also made a range of wired bandanas (like last year) which you can twist in your hair, in a selection of fun rainbow and cloud themed fabrics! You can buy the bandanas here.

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I stitched up a range of rainbow hued cross stitch embroidery hoop necklaces too, including this slice of rainbow cake – yum! As I mentioned above, The Brain Tumour Charity’s theme for the bandana campaign this year is the Big Bandana Bake, and they are encouraging people to don a bandana and host a bake sale to raise money, so a rainbow cake necklace seemed like the perfect idea! There are a few other rainbow designs to choose from, plus pastel alternatives of each design, which you can buy here.

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I’ve also put together some craft kits so you can make your very own rainbow collar! I thought this might be a fun idea for those of you who love sewing and might want to make something yourself rather than buying a ready made product, and I think the collar is a fun alternative to the bandana. You can buy the craft kits here (and if you’re not much of a sewist, I have popped one ready made version of the collar in the shop here too).

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And to round off the rainbow collection, I whipped up some purses and zip pouches in rainbow themed fabrics, with super pretty iridescent cloud zip charms! I do love a good finishing detail! You can buy the purses here.

I’ll also be continuing to make donations from the rest of my Smile & Make product sales and adding these donations to the #rainbowsforresearch fundraising total. All of my pins and patches are all currently on sale here if you fancy a bargain, and £1 from the sale of each goes to Michael’s fund.

Rainbow Craft Day & Bake Sale

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To kick off brain tumour awareness month and to tie in with the charity’s Big Bandana Bake, Mum and I will be hosting a Rainbow Bake Sale and Craft Day at our workshop in Newcastle-under-Lyme, and we’d love to see you there!

There are two elements to the day. First up, we will be hosting a small rainbow themed bake sale at our workshop, and you can call in anytime from 12pm – 2pm for cake and a chat!

Following on from the bake sale, we’ve put together a rainbowtastic craft session which will run from 2pm to 5pm, and places must be booked in advance. You will have the opportunity to make three fabulous rainbow inspired projects: rainbow bunting embellished with all manner of pretty papercraft, a cloud hanger with colourful raindrops, and an embroidered pennant featuring a colourful house floating away on balloons (just like in the movie Up!). You can find out more details and book your place here.

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Rainbow Raffle

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And finally, I’ve also put together a raffle to win the ultimate handmade rainbow outfit – you could win a Smile & Make handmade rainbow dress and clutch bag, and entry is just £3!

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I’ve been thinking of holding a raffle to win a handmade dress for a while, and it seemed the perfect opportunity to offer the chance to win a rainbow dress as part of #rainbowsforresearch. I first came up with the rainbow dress design last year for a colour walk with In Colourful Company, and it was a big hit! I was asked if I would make the rainbow dress to sell, and I did for a short time, but the design is quite time consuming to sew as the skirt is made up of lots of rainbow panels, so I only ever made a few. But in honour of #rainbowsforresearch and Brain Tumour Awareness Month, for one last time I’m bringing back the rainbow dress, plus a super jazzy rainbow clutch bag to make it a complete rainbow outfit. You can find out more and enter the raffle on the Just Giving page I have set up here.

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That was a bit of an epic post as I wanted to document all of my different fundraising plans in one place, so thank you for reading and sticking with me if you’ve made it this far!!

I should also add that if you’d like to make your own bandana or bandana inspired project to wear on Friday 2 March and support Brain Tumour Awareness Month, you are very welcome to (and very much encouraged!). I shared a few tutorials on the blog as part of the campaign last year to give you some ideas which you can find here and here. And if none of these products take your fancy but you’d still like to make a donation to Michael’s fund, you can do so here, or through Just Giving here.

Lucy x

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The Michael Barry Fund

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I am incredibly proud to announce that I have set up a fund in Michael’s memory with The Brain Tumour Charity called The Michael Barry Fund, and I wanted to tell you a little more about why this is such an important cause and my plans to raise money for vital research.

Michael Barry Fund_portrait_rgbA few weeks after Michael died I received an email about a petition which was soon to be debated in the House of Commons on the issue of funding for brain tumour research. I was feeling brave that day so I clicked the link and started to read, and I couldn’t believe the statistics. Despite brain tumours being the biggest cancer killer of under 40s, less than 2% of the national spend on cancer research in the UK is allocated to brain tumour research, and there has been little change in prognosis over the last 40 years. I read so many stories of other bright young people just like my Michael whose lives were cut short by this cruel disease, and I felt desperately sad and incredibly angry. But as I began to research further, I saw stories of other families devastated by the loss of their loved ones who had gone on to set up funds in their honour through The Brain Tumour Charity to keep their memory alive and to keep fighting, and suddenly I felt less alone.

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I want there to be a future where no more lives are lost to this cruel disease, and so I am committing to fundraising for The Brain Tumour Charity through The Michael Barry Fund in the hope that there might one day be a cure. I have so many fundraising ideas in the pipeline, and I hope you might join me in raising as much as we can for this incredibly important cause. To start with, I am aiming to release a range of products soon which are based on Michael’s own designs and sketches, and I am also working on a number of fundraising events such as gigs, creative workshops and craft/vintage fairs. There is a lot to do and life has been so hectic lately, but I will share more when things are up and running.  If you have any fundraising ideas of your own please do let me know, whether it be taking part in a sponsored walk or run, organising your own event or designing a product we can sell – the more ideas the better!

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Creating The Michael Barry Fund is a huge part of my vow to live positively for my wonderful husband, who I miss every second of the day, and has given me a focus and purpose which I know will help me to keep going. It can be hard to know what to say or do in the midst of such tragedy and people often tell me they wish they could do something to help. I hope that The Michael Barry Fund will provide an opportunity to not only be part of the fight to defeat brain tumours, but also unite every one who knew and loved Michael in a positive way.

If you would like to know more about the fund and our story, we now have a dedicated page on The Brain Tumour Charity’s website – click here to read more. I have also set up a Facebook page and a Just Giving page for the fund, and will of course be using my own personal Instagram page and this blog to share news and updates.

Lucy x