A Consett-based cancer survivor, who was inspired to fundraise after her sister was diagnosed with the same rare disease, has raised more than £5000 for charities close to her heart.
Julia Gailes, a TV demonstration coordinator for Crafter’s Companion, was inspired to organise the Pink Sisters Party Nite at the Castleside Club in Consett by her sister Wendy.
The money raised at the event will be donated to Macmillan Cancer Support, Butterwick Hospice and will pay for ‘End of Treatment Bell’ for a chemotherapy unit. Julia’s husband’s employer, Frankland Prison, is also donating a sum of money from its charitable fund to Breast Cancer Care.
In June 2017, six weeks after Julia started chemotherapy for extremely rare Triple Negative Breast cancer, her sister Wendy called to say that she had been diagnosed with the same condition.
Julia underwent 18 months of aggressive treatments including a left mastectomy, radiotherapy and two lots of chemotherapy, and is now in remission. Wendy also had a mastectomy but due to complications, was unable to undergo the gruelling treatments her sister had been through.
When Wendy suggested that the pair throw a huge party to raise money for cancer charities, Julia jumped into action, booking venues and securing a band before Christmas. However, Wendy was then told that her cancer was incurable and, in February this year, after the disease had spread to her lungs, Wendy was told that she had 12 months to live.
Following Wendy’s diagnosis, Julia reached out to local businesses to throw her sister the party of a lifetime, and received an overwhelming response.
Sarah Kay, who works at Crafter’s Companion’s Newton Aycliffe store, donated two hand-drawn original prints to be auctioned online. Both pieces featured the breast cancer logo and raised £110, with Wendy’s daughter gifting one of the pieces to her mam.
Prizes donated by both local businesses and large corporations included a portrait session from Richard Neal Photography, who also contributed his services at the event, a Dermaplaning treatment from Head To Toe Aesthetics, a Twilight Spa experience from Seaham Hall, an Afternoon Tea for two from The Dairy Barn, a round of golf for four, 25-minute back massage and leisure club pass for two from Hall Garth, a cupcake bouquet from the Fresh Cupcake, a £300 beauty voucher from Cecilia Monroe Beauty and many more. Julia’s employer, Crafter’s Companion, also donated an afternoon tea for four at The Crafty Cuppa in Newton Aycliffe.
The fundraiser, which completely sold out, included entertainment from North East band SkaMania, who performed free of charge, a DJ set from Colonel Kilgore’s Soul Team, food donated by Tesco Consett, in addition to the main raffle.
Julia said: “My sister Wendy is nine years older than me and she became my mam when we lost our own almost 25 years ago. I can go to her for anything and I know she’s always there for me.
“When Wendy said that we should throw a huge party to raise some money for charity, I knew I couldn’t let her down. It was so important to make this event a night to remember for her and I couldn’t have asked for a better turnout.
“I would like to say a huge thank you to everyone who bought a raffle ticket, those who came to the event, the businesses who donated prizes and people who gave up their free time and services to help us. We have managed to raise a fantastic amount for cancer charities that carry out invaluable work and everyone should be very proud.”