Charity begins at home

Jean-Christophe Novelli
Celebrity Chef Jean-Christophe Novelli

Last Tuesday I received an email from Cancer Research UK asking for my support in their latest campaign. This email immediately struck a chord with me as I have been personally affected by cancer and I know first-hand what this destructive disease can do to the people who are unfortunate enough to fall victim to it and how it affects those close to them.

It was a warm Summer day in August 2009 when I received a phone call from my mum informing me that the results of her lumpectomy confirmed what we had all feared…breast cancer.

The months that followed were extremely difficult for my whole family, and amazingly my mum seemed to cope better than the rest of us. She took a very matter-of-fact approach to her treatment and put all her confidence in the doctors who were helping her to fight against this aggressive affliction.

During this time I was so proud of my mum and it made me see her in a completely different way. I never knew that she was so strong and to this day I have no idea from where she managed to summon this immense inner strength to fight so hard.

But unfortunately inner strength alone is not enough to help people beat cancer. Without the work of organisations like Cancer Research UK many of our loved ones may not have been able to overcome cancer and that is why it is so important that we support them in their dedication to saving lives through research. And we can all support the new campaign.

Fronted by celebrity chef Jean-Christophe Novelli, the new campaign aims to encourage everyone to have a Michelin star clearout this spring, and donate unwanted, high-quality homeware to their local Cancer Research UK shop.

Cancer Research UK is looking for all sorts of homeware, not just kitchen items but also good quality soft furnishings such as cushions, ornaments, picture frames and vases. The campaign will run throughout April 2011, but homeware can be donated throughout the year.

Simon Ledsham, Cancer Research UK’s trading director, said: “Cancer survival rates have doubled in the past 40 years and Cancer Research UK has been at the heart of that progress.  Our work is entirely funded by the public, we receive no government funding for our research, and without items to sell, our shops can’t raise any money.  So please – spring clean your home this April and donate to your local Cancer Research UK shop.”

As readers of my blog, I know that you all love interiors and homewares as much as I do. So that means that you probably have some lovely things at home that you don’t need and that you could actually do without. That’s why I’m asking you to have a look at home and find something that you could take to your local Cancer Research shop and donate. If you make homewares for a living, why not make an extra product and donate that.

It’s important that together we do as much as we can to fight cancer. Afterall, every year nearly 46,000 people receive the devastating news that they have breast cancer. In 2009, it was my mum, but it could equally be your mum, your aunty, your sister, your wife or even you. And that’s just breast cancer, but there are 200 different kinds of cancer and I don’t even want to think about how many people they affect.

The  groundbreaking work that Cancer Research UK has done into the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of cancer has helped save millions of lives. One day you might need it to save your life or the life of someone you love. So think carefully…and give generously!

For further information about Cancer Research UK’s work or to find out how to support the charity, please call 020 3469 6699 or visit

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  • What an amazing story! I wish you all the very best. Did you know you can also support Cancer Research UK by buying charity Christmas cards from (Minimum order is 50 cards, as they are printed to order with your personalised greeting, address, etc. They can also print a signature, company logo, etc inside the card if needed.)