Dragonfly Cancer Trust supports young palliative patients under the age of twenty-five. The charity provide memory-making experiences, special keepsakes and creative therapy to help make each day matter with those who matter most.
Our "This is Me" memory project is a new initiative that will give young palliative patients across the UK the tools to be remembered in the way that they choose.
Each "This is Me" box will be unique and lovingly crafted with the young person in mind, containing special items that can be personalised and left behind for loved ones to treasure. The items will be carefully chosen to enable each young person to capture the essence of who they are and provide a positive focus when time is limited.
Following consultation with the young person or their carer, their personalised "This is Me" box will be sent directly to their home or hospital ward, with memory projects that can be completed from their bed if needed.
How your donation will be used
Dragonfly Cancer Trust work with hospital teams across the UK and already have the necessary contacts and infrastructure in place to deliver this exciting new project. Your donation will go directly towards funding the contents and administration of rolling out "This is Me" boxes for young palliative patients across the country.
Memory projects inside a "This is Me" box may include...
- An instant camera and scrapbook.
- Hand casting kit.
- Talking teddy bear where a young person can record their own message to play.
- Talking photo album with a recordable message for each page.
- Book of sealed letters for their loved ones to open on certain dates in the future, providing a time capsule of meaningful words at times when they are needed most.
- Name a star gift.
- "Things I Love About You" book to complete.
- Perfume or candle of their favourite scent.
- Hand and fingerprint craft activities.
- Recordable storybook.
- Instructions for a handwritten message to be lasored onto a glass heart.
The difference you can make
The impact of your donation goes way beyond purchasing the contents of each box. Young patients eligible for a "This is Me" box often have very limited time and each item is carefully selected to provide them with a positive aim to focus on their life and loved ones.
Many young palliative patients feel as though they are no longer in control of their life and the personalised items give back a sense of control over how they wish to be remembered.
The young person may become overwhelmed after being given such devastating news that their cancer cannot be cured. Each box is sensitively put together, helping to reduce the stress and anxiety associated with missed opportunities to create lasting memories by providing the tools needed for a creative and emotional outlet.
In some cases the young patient may not know the full extent of their prognosis and "This is Me" boxes can provide subtle prompts to create very personal items that will later become priceless for those who are left behind.
It's not just a box of stuff, it's moments of that young person's life that can remain with their loved ones forever.
Our first box
Just before lockdown, we put together our very first "This is Me" box for a young mum preparing to leave her children behind. She wanted to spend what time she had left putting together individual boxes for her three little ones so they each had something to remind them of her and have keepsakes to treasure as they grew older.
We included three bottles of her favourite perfume inside the box, a scent that would remind them of her. She also slept with the three soft toy comforters in her final weeks so that they would also have her scent on for each of her children.
The letter books gave her a positive focus as she prepared letters for every one of their future birthdays so she remains a part of their special day as they grow up. She recorded loving messages to offer comfort which were inserted into individual talking teddy bears, as well as an instant camera so photo albums could be put together from her hospital bed.
The feedback from this brave young mum and her carers was overwhelming and it became clear what an incredibly positive impact a "This is Me" box can have on young palliative patients. The box helped her focus on how she wanted to be remembered as her children grew older and find peace of mind that she was able to leave these very special keepsakes behind.