When Lee Reynolds turns 50 next week, she doesn’t want any presents or cards.
She has invited friends and family to a big party to mark the occasion – but they will have to pay an entry fee!
It’s all because the St Annes mum is raising money for a cause very close to her heart.
This year marks five years since Lee was diagnosed with breast cancer.
Although she is now doing OK, she can still vividly remember the moment she was given the bad news.
And she knows what charity Hug in a Bag would have meant to her at the time.
So she is now determined to support the organisation, which hands out special bags to patients at Blackpool Victoria Hospital diagnosed with breast cancer. Designed to be a virtual ‘hug’ in a bag, it contains a pashmina, teddy bear, cosmetic products and other gifts, to help provide comfort to patients and let them know someone has thought about them.
Lee said: “I work with Jacqueline Rhodes, who set up Hug in A Bag in this area. She told me about the charity and the work they’re doing.
“It’s fantastic and I just fell in love with the idea. It’s such a wonderful thing to do and the bags are lovely. I remember when I was given my diagnosis and my breast care nurse was brilliant, but I just remember being handed some leaflets about prosthetics.
“It’s just devastating when you are given that news.
“So I think it is so wonderful to give those patients a bag of gifts, just to let them know they are not alone and to show people care.
“I love the fact Hug In A Bag also provides a bag for men, as we have high rates of male breast cancer in the area.
“I’ve now been five years free from breast cancer.
“With it being five years this year, it’s a big milestone – I wanted to do all I could to help the charity.
“I’ve set myself the goal of raising £5,000. It’s not just about raising funds, it’s also about having fun, socialising and raising the profile of Hug In A Bag.
“I’m really enjoying doing all the fund-raising so far.”
Lee has already organised a Clothes and Cocktails event in April, which saw more than 40 people bring an item of stylish, good-quality unwanted clothing and buy other guests’ items – while enjoying a cocktail in the sunshine.
She also held 50 Cakes and Company, where guests paid an entry fee to enjoy cakes and a chat. There was also a tombola and raffle and as so many guests brought cakes, there was actually far more than 50! There was entertainment and the charity’s patron, former The Nolan Sisters singer, Linda Nolan, was among those who attended.
Now Lee is planning her birthday party – which will include live entertainment and afternoon tea, a cocktail-making masterclass and auction – to raise funds again.
And later this month, she is organising a fund-raising dog walk in St Annes.
Lee added: “It’s going to be called the Beanie Balboa Beach Walk – named after my dog, who is a boxer. We will meet at 10am on August 31, at St Annes Pier and make our way to the boat club.
“Anyone is welcome, whether or not they have a dog. The entry fee will be £5. And it should be a fun event.”
If any businesses have items they could offer to Lee for her auction, contact Hug In A Bag, Jacqueline on 0776 1071650 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
The charity is also seeking a singer, or singing duo or trio for the event, who can provide entertainment at a discounted rate for guests and get them up to dance, between 9pm and midnight, on August 9.