Tumflower Festival • 19th July 2014 • St Ethelburga's Centre, EC2
Due to capacity limitations I'm afraid this is an invitation only fundraising event, but if you want to request an invitation do get in touch, we might still have space!
OK, so what's all this 'tumflower' business?
In June 2013 I was diagnosed with stage 2 colon cancer. As I write, nearly 9 months later, I am lucky enough to have joined the exclusive remission club, for now at least. The journey has been rough but often beautiful. I have shed many tears, not just in fear or pain, but in gratitude and wonder for all the love, care and support I have received.
I have had to make some difficult choices to get here. The hardest was to have an operation to remove my rectum and replace it with with a new poo-hole on my belly, known as a stoma, or (you guessed it) my tumflower! I am now making friends with my tumflower, and I honestly would not change any part of this journey. I know that many do not even have the luxury of choosing risky and debilitating medical treatment. But I believe it doesn’t have to be like this.
Cancer is a systemic illness that requires an integrated approach to healing. There is a great deal of powerful anecdotal evidence for alternative and systemic cancer treatments. But at the moment the research is not strong enough to overcome the institutional biases in medicine, or to convince the majority of patients who, like me, are forced to gamble their lives on one treatment over another - often against their intuitions or beliefs about health. [ For more rambling on this topic - click here ]
A cause for celebration for a cause...
So I invite you to join me in July to tip the scales a bit and raise some money for alternative medical research, and to help me celebrate not only my own remission, and my postponed 40th birthday, but your own compassion and generosity. And no, don’t worry about narcissism, just bring a narcissus! Dress flowery and bring flowers, to thank *** for our health, love and life while we have them. And don’t forget to pick up your temporary hippy permit on the door.
Our home for the event will be St Ethelburga's Centre for Reconciliation & Peace near Liverpool Street Station (78 Bishopsgate). It's a beautiful spiritual oasis in the City - a flower on the tummy of the beast you might say! I used to volunteer on their narratives project - you can find more about their work at www.stethelburgas.org
As for the festival itself, I want to leave some surprises for the day but it will include:
- A lovely vegetarian spread (no not vegemite).
- Pampering and healing sessions in St Ethelburga’s famous Tent
- Face painting and kids activities with Mama Root
- Pub games at Europe’s hippest pop-up bar ‘Tequila Mockingbird’ with JK
- Music and mingling
- A combined open mic and karaoke mash-up featuring performances from…you!
From 9pm till late…
(These timings are approximate, but full details will be forthcoming!)
Making it happen...
Although we aim to raise some money, I don’t want anyone not to be able to attend because they can't afford it. The event is meant to be a thank you after all! So I decided to crowdfund instead of charging a ticket price. Donate what you can, if you can. Also, the crowdfunding model means that if we don’t reach the target, the event doesn’t happen, and no one loses any money. But we can always raise more!
I have estimated the costs of the event at about £1650 (very approximately). Once the costs have been met, all the rest will go to support alternative medical research and care. I have set a low initial target at £1800 to make sure the event goes ahead. But our real target is to raise at least £500 for charity so we aim to crowdfund about £2200.
We expect about 100 people (not including kids) to attend, so would need on average £22 per head to reach our target. But I’m inviting more than 200 people, so if you can’t make it to the event - don’t let this stop you contributing if you want to! I’ll send you an adequate tumflower painting in compensation if you do!
Other ways of contributing...
But we don't just want your money...oh no...
We want your labour! Calling all storytellers, musicians, singers, magicians, face painters, healers etc.; get in touch to book your slot at the open mic, help out in the pampering tent or entertain the kids.
And your stuff! We will be holding a Tumbola during the day and need donations of unwanted - but nice(!) - gifts and nick-nacks to offer as prizes. We will also need some toys on loan for the kids' area.