“Sometimes in life things, or people, inspire you and you want to get involved, says Lesley. Such a person is Natasha Jones. Calendar Girls is about a group of extraordinary women who have raised millions for leukemia research by appearing in a rather near the knuckle calendar.
Out of a tragedy came something so positive. Natasha handed me a letter at the luncheon, which told me her story and quite simply I wanted to get involved.
Natasha found she had leukaemia just three weeks after giving birth to her second son, Alfie. She was 28 years old. That was five years ago and now that she has been given the all clear she is concentrating even more of her time on Leaf and its campaign to help others with a blood cancer.
I am so very happy to have been asked to be a patron for the charity that Natasha set up, says Lesley. Like the Calendar Girls, she turned her isolating and frightening experience into a force for good. Leaf is about helping people with blood cancer, helping them and their families come to terms with what is happening, being there for them and raising as much money as they can to find a cure for this horrible disease.
Leaf provides holidays for patients and their families as well as practical help at home. They also provide support for local nurses and the Dorset Cancer Center as well as donating to Leukaemia & Lymphoma Research. Concentrating on raising money for Leaf helped Natasha fight the disease and now she is determined to help others and I for one am going to be right behind her.
Natasha is delighted to have Lesley on board.
She has been amazing already, she says. We have been looking for a patron for Leaf for sometime so we were thrilled when we knew Lesley was going to be at the lunch. I wanted to ask her in a way that was non intrusive so I wrote her a letter which I hand decorated to hopefully attract her attention. The letter told her of my experience with Leukaemia and what inspired me to start Leaf. At the lunch all of the cast were so friendly Sara and I spent some time speaking to Ruth Madoc and Kathryn Rooney, from Calendar Girls, and Ruth kindly passed my letter on to Lesley. During the lunch Lesley came over and told us there and then she wanted to get involved.
Since then we’ve spoken on the phone a few times and swapped loads of emails. She has already been talking about Leaf in recent interviews. At the moment Lesley is busy rehearsing a stage version of Birds of a Feather with Linda Robson and Pauline Quirke, but I know she is looking forward to coming down. It will be wonderful to see her.
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Leaf ~ Leukaemia Educating & Fundraising is a Dorset based charity raising funds to help adults in Dorset and Hampshire affected by a blood cancer who are receiving treatment or who have needs since being discharged from hospital.