Why choose to love something we know we will lose?

Growing up in the hospital environment, I have come to know many ‘sick’ children & adults, some I have met whilst in my hospital bed and others I have met on my journey or have been close friends or family.

Other times, I have sat and admired parents as they watch their child suffer – attached to tubes and trying to fight with everything they have. I have known of people lose their children in their arms – how unfair the world can be. – I would often wonder how, how parents do that, how they can cling onto that love, when they already know that there is little or no hope.

On more than once occasion, I have watched friends become frail and sadly slip away and my heart has been broken! – In those moments I would often ask myself why!? Why I had let myself become so attached and why I loved something I knew I would lose.

The truth is, during that time they need that support, there is no way we can not love – it’s not something we have control over. Even if we know that they only have a month or so to live, how can we leave them or not love.

As sad as it is, death is part of life! I don’t think it’s something anyone will ever get used to, it is not something that will ever not be painful but it is something we will all have to face at some point in our lives.

We all have to leave at some point, but some of us just leave a lot quicker than others,

What I know though is that we will never stop loving these people, there will always be a place for them in our hearts.

It is so hard to prepare your heart for that sort of thing, it is almost impossible but over time I have understood that whether they are here or not our hearts never stop loving – these situations just become a part of our lives and who we are.

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Hannah x

Hope you have a good weekend

H x

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A Ray of Sunshine

“The best moments in life come when you least expect them”

I try not to write very long posts but I don’t know that I can help myself for this particular update …

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I was born three months premature with a rare, incurable, congenital heart disease called Complicated Ebsteins Anomaly. I would need surgery to fix all the complications and would be monitored regularly… At the age of 9 I had open heart surgery and have since had 8 more operations to tweek and fix things. My most recent surgery being a pacemaker implant in 2012.

In that year, artist Jessie J came on the scene, & I was quickly made aware that she also lived with some sort of heart condition. I found that so cool! She had been through similar situations but was still doing amazing things, & on top of that she wrote part of her 1st album about being in hospital – which is something I could of course relate to!

Having just been told I needed more surgery, her songs “Big White Room” & “Who You Are” became a big part of my therapy and I spent many of my stays in hospital reading about her or listening to her music. Music is a great power for someone who is ill and it helped me immensely, always took me to another world! A place where I felt safe and disconnected from the sadness and pain that was going on around me.

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That’s when it hit me, I wanted to personally thank Jessie for the songs that had helped me most … So, at the age of 15 I put in a wish application to the Rays of Sunshine Children’s Charity to meet Jessie J.

The charity and I struggled to make this happen, to the point that we decided it wasn’t meant to be …

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Until last Saturday Night! … Saturday 14th November, for me, was absolutely insane. I’m still waiting for someone to come and pinch me, wake me up from the dream.

I was helping out at the charity’s annual ball and it was arranged (as a complete surprise) for Jessie J to fulfil my wish there, that’s exactly what happened, in front of 300 people… I was taken by the hand to the front of the room where Jessie walked on stage (accompanied by her incredible guitarist) and began to sing … I honestly had no idea what on earth was going on & my body & mind went into complete shock!!! I cried & cried and my body was shaking something crazy! – I was mentally not ready for that to happen … Ever!!

I always used to tell myself that if it was to ever happen, I would be so calm and composed and really tell her everything that I wanted, in a ‘normal’ way – that is the biggest lie I have ever told myself! – But what I love most, is that my reaction could not have been more honest and real. click here for a little peak … So you can see that it blew my mind!

Rather than just a quick Hi & Bye or embarrassing encounter at one of her concerts, it all happened in the most intimate setting, in front of people I know and with the charity there to witness it all, which was just ‘wow’ – I really couldn’t have asked for more, what an incredible moment.

We had a little sing along to her number 1 hit ‘Price Tag’ and then she sang her new single ‘Bang Bang’. After all that commotion, she did ask whether I had any questions, but to be honest I was completely out of it that I couldn’t think, however, I knew that this was my moment to say THANK YOU! For the music that helped through the scariest times of being ill, that’s exactly what I did … To see her response click here.

I was lucky enough to be surrounded by people I love very much, one of these people being one of my closest friends Cissy (another wish child) and the other being Olivia – someone I’ve spoken about many times before and even blogged about before. It made it so special and meaningful for me. It’s friends like this that help me be who I am and always see the positive in what is going on around me. I consider myself to be the luckiest girl in the world to have a friend like this … & this next picture captures it beautifully!

"Sometimes pictures speak 1,000 words"

“Sometimes pictures speak 1,000 words”

Olivia, you have no idea how very close to my heart you are & my experience would not have been the same, had you not be there.

During this insane moment, any worry, pain or fear that I have ever had to deal with flew out of the window and I was trapped in the best ‘happy’ bubble in the world, which I had never really experienced before. Rays of Sunshine give a true gift and wonderful memories to so many children and there is no way to fully describe the effect it has on us.

"A dream is a wish your heart makes"

“A dream is a wish your heart makes”

we must surround ourselves with the people that matter to us most in the world, because they are those who will always help and be there for you! They are the people that were with me to experience a truly magical moment and I would never change that … I could have had so many wonderful things that night but if the people that were there hadn’t been there, it would have been a completely different story! I can not put into words how I felt, because there is no word that will ever be able to truly describe the gift this charity gave me.IMG_1985

I never in a million years thought this would happen! … However, if it hadn’t taken this long to organise I may not have become so involved with the charity or become such good friends with people like Olivia. If there is one thing it has taught me, it’s to be patient with the things that you want but whilst you wait, make time for others, help others and appreciate all the moments (big or small) that come before it.

Jessie & I

Jessie & I

“Good things come to those who wait”

Not even a million thank you’s would be enough for the charity and I will never be able to repay them for what they did for me, so please go and check out the Rays of Sunshine website to see more of the amazing work that they do for many other children across the country!

Lots of Love,

xxxx

Tell them you love them

I went home this week for a night and in the morning my little sister walked into my room. I thought she was coming to ask if I could take her to school, instead, she sat on my bed and placed a piece of paper next to my head.

This is what she gave me…

sisters

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It made me think that we should always show people how much we care for and love them – we don’t do it enough & it receiving this card was the cutest thing!! – Sometimes I forget how important family is, they will always be there before everyone else and have you when you need it most.

We never know what could happen, So today,take a minute to tell someone you love them, show them you care! Who knows maybe you’ll be the first to put a smile on their face today.

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Pips x

My Story / Their Story

I have been meaning to post this for ages and always forget! So I thought this Saturday evening would be the perfect time to share…

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Back in February I mentioned that I was working with the British Heart Foundation, to make two short films creating awareness of what it’s like to be diagnosed with a heart condition during your life, rather than at birth.

Having been diagnosed with a heart condition at birth and lived with it all my life, it was interesting to step into someone else’s shoes to represent another side to it.

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Today we premièred the films in one of London’s most amazing venues, in the heart of Southbank, at the BFI. It was a great experience and so lovely to meet up with the cast and crew again. After a long wait, I was so excited to see the final result!

It was an extremely weird sensation seeing myself on the big screen! As an aspiring actress it was a fab experience and not something I thought I would ever see, but what was even more rewarding is the cause behind it. Having been through it all myself, I know how important awareness is, and although these films may not be able to take away the fact that they have a heart condition, I hope it can be some sort of comfort for them. No one should have to face their condition alone and for me that was my motivation to really bring this character, Jamie, to life.

Young heart patients were involved with the whole process. I think that’s the best thing the British Heart Foundation did, because it makes the films truthful and realistic but also proves that, despite our conditions, we are capable of doing amazing things, having fun and doing what we love! – The films portray this brilliantly, showing great energy, good friendship and fun, especially in the behind the scenes video. What I find so great about the films is that they show the situation from everyone’s perspective. Expressing the worries and difficulties some people may face, views that perhaps as a patient, family member or friend we may not have thought about before.

The British Heart Foundation took a serious situation and turned it into something fun & informative. The films wouldn’t be as good as they are if there was no element of hope and humour, reminding everyone involved and affected by the situation, that some things may change but that your life doesn’t have to stop there. Having a heart condition, or any illness for that matter, shouldn’t affect who you are or what you do!

The films ended and I couldn’t help but smile, thinking about all the time and effort that went in to making them. The amazing people that were involved and that brought the whole thing to life. It’s a great feeling knowing that these films are going to help so many people for so many different reasons.

The comments after were positive and encouraging and during the question and answer session, I was asked what it was like to have a scar, how realistic the films were and if the shoot was a challenge for me, plus lots more. It felt so good to be able to tell the audience that I have been there, answering their questions from my personal experience and saying that yes, at times it can be a little scary and hard but that there is so much support out there for everyone affected and that often there are many more positives than negatives.

I would like to thank the British Heart Foundation for giving me this opportunity, to share Jamie’s story and raise awareness in a creative way. I know that if I had been in this situation a video like this would have definitely helped me and those around me! I am just so glad that I am able to provide that for someone else. To reassure them that it will all be OK and to encourage loved ones to see that everything can and will go back to normal, reminding everyone that we are not our illness!

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Click on the following links to see both short films, plus the behind the scenes!

My Story

Their Story

Behind the Scene

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10615583_624717947627065_885541198564087857_nPips x


A dream come true

“A dream is a wish your heart makes”

About a week ago, I helped Rays of Sunshine Children’s Charity fulfil a little girls wish to meet Hello Kitty!

The wish took place in Harrods where this little girl met her idol, Hello Kitty, and spent time shopping with her. I played the role of Hello Kitty as we spent the day shopping & having fun!

The day started with a meet & meet greet from Hello Kitty, after having said hello to the whole family and having posed for pictures, we then headed up to the toy kingdom where Hello Kitty helped her shop! – She knew exactly what she wanted and we definitely “shopped until we dropped” The family then headed to the Disney Cafe for lunch and we met them again in the beauty salon, where Kitty watched her have her hair and nails done.

The wish child was incredibly sweet and clearly a huge fan of Hello Kitty, she had trouble with her sight, which meant that I had to be in close contact with her throughout the day so that she could see Kitty. She spent a lot of time holding Kitty’s hand and asked a lot of questions. The wish family were ever so lovely and all very overwhelmed by the whole event and experience.

Harrods were absolutely amazing, giving her star treatment and many gifts, including a Hello Kitty suitcase! Seeing the staff come together and make the day so special for her was lovely to see and what better place to shop with Hello Kitty than in Harrods aye!

Having had a wish myself it was so special & exciting to be a part of someone else’s and watch the whole family benefit from the work that Rays of Sunshine do – It’s a real honour to be an ambassador for them.

Giving up a little of my time to be a part of a really unique wish, that meant so much to the child and her family was a truly humbling experience and something I would definitely do again!!

“Throw kindness around like confetti”

Hello Kitty

Hello Kitty

Hannah x

I’m back!

I will admit that I totally suck at updating! 

 

I have been very busy over the past few months, working on various projects, catching up with family and friends that I missed whilst I was away and getting ready for University! – scary times.

I move away from home next week and will be going to study drama & events management at the university of Winchester. Time is flying by but I am so ready for the change and it’s time to meet some new people and start a new adventure.

I will do my best to blog at least once a week (if I have something interesting to blog about!) and if not definitely once a month… I’m sure I can find something to talk about within a four week period.

I use my blog to capture all that’s important to me and everything that I do 🙂 It’s a way of keeping the memories too! 

Speak soon! 

Pips x

Fiesta!

I have been really bad at updating lately! So thought I would get a blog in this morning, about something I experienced last night…

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Yesterday evening was a tad crazy, it was the start of the Easter holidays for everyone here in Spain and all the ‘youngsters’ go out to get absolutely smashed… I understand that they may want to celebrate the end of school and beginning of  easter etc, it just seemed a little weird to me that getting absolutely smashed, is the tradition here.

What shocked me was that these ‘Fiesta’s’ started from around 5.30, which I thought was the time people would start to get ready, I was so wrong! People were already in the fields by that time downing drinks and popping open bottle after bottle elf booze! Many of them already very drunk and some quite unwell, which I found hard to understand, why would you want to let yourself get into that state? … Enjoy the alcohol, don’t let it destroy you.

By around 6.30, the main club in the town and the streets were packed with celebrating teenagers and this would presumably be an ongoing until late evening. It was an absolute mess and totally insane, a real eye opener for me.

I find it quite sad that teens as young as 13 go out to ‘get smashed’, that it’s not about being together, having a laugh, checking out a club or actually celebrating the start of the holidays, it’s purely to go and get as drunk as possible… It’s almost like a crazy competition.

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I’m not a massive fan of drinking if i’m honest, that doesn’t mean to say that I won’t drink! I would just rather have a glass of wine at dinner or when out for a meal, rather than drink my body weight in it and not remember anything the next morning!

There’s nothing wrong with it I guess, it’s their culture and their way of celebrating but I just find it upsetting that alcohol is the drive of people’s togetherness. Alcohol has become the centre of ‘having a good time’. What happened to just chilling, going out for a meal… etc?

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I’ve been lucky enough to make some nice friends out here, although I did go along to see what all the buzz was about, I ended up having dinner with a friend and watching the football, which is more up my street. Something nice and relaxed, where we can enjoy a glass of wine or beer but our evening didn’t resolve around it.

 

Alcohol

 Hannah

xxx

You Got This

Take care of your body. It’s the only place you have to live.

I’m not one to talk about exercise much, I am without a doubt the laziest person I know! Okay, maybe not that lazy, but i’m not crazy about excercise in general, but still wish for a tonned stomach etc… obviously I can’t just dream it and it happen over night, that would be far too easy!

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In all honesty, due to more than one health problem, I have a bit of a fear of exercising, always worried that i’ll push myself that little too far & seeing as I my heart can’t actually go any higher than 150,bpm, I always get frustrated because I want to try and do more but just can’t! In some cases I’ve also not seen the point in building my muscles very much, 1) because of my muscle disease it just kills straight after & 2) because as soon as I have surgery my muscles just cave in again and I’d have to start over – It wouldn’t take too long as I’d still have a ‘foundation’ if you like but it’s always been an initial fear & therefore, I’ve always found an excuse not to do it.

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Anyway, that’s not really the point, the point is, I have recently had the pleasure of getting to know and watch an amazing, going to say it ‘fitness freak’ but in the best of ways! It’s amazing to see what you can in fact achieve with hard work, determination and most of all passion. She certainly has all of those things and has come so far! Her ultimate goal is to become a personal trainer full time, which would be absolutely amazing, would love to see that happen for her.

it’s so inspiring to watch how she excercies, I don’t understand how she does it at all but what I love is that she’s not the type to not touch a piece of cake or sneak in a bit of chocolate every now and then and I appreciate that, very much! I have met and seen so many other people who love fitness and training but are just overly strict, all the time. – Ain’t nobody got time for that!

What’s more, having had the chance to get to know her a little, I can honestly say that anyone would be lucky to train and work with her. Her determination and willingness to help and watch others succeed is truly inspiring. I can’t say that I have worked with her on that front, so maybe she becomes a tad stricter, however, knowing how passionate and encouraging she is towards other peoples success, I’m sure she wouldn’t let any one of her clients down!

It’s been so lovely to watch and be a part of over the last year, in a very small way. I’ve enjoyed learning from the things that she does but it has made me want to do a little more and had quite a strong impact on how i’ve viewed the whole aspect of fitness and health. That there’s nothing really scary about it, you go at your own pace and in my case it may take a little longer but it is not impossible! That has become very clear to me. All that has come to me simply from being a very small part of her life… Imagine what it would be like to work with her! 🙂

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I love it when people have such an impact on other people’s lives without knowing it. Wanted to take this time to thank her for all she does and wish her all the luck in the world with the incredible career path she wants to embark on. Anyone would honestly be so lucky to work with you! Never give up to get to where you really want to be, because you really deserve it, use every path possible to get there and keep going because ‘You never know who you are inspiring’.

She will be taking part in an Abseil this Saturday for a charity called, Rays of Sunshine, should you wish to sponsor her, please do so using the following link… http://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/fundraiser-web/fundraiser/showFundraiserProfilePage.action?userUrl=FranksAndSchoggsAbseil

Should you wish to get more information or simply be inspired – Follow her on twitter @FrankieHolah

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It’s important to look after your body and exercise, even if it’s only a little bit by bit, due to my own unfortunate health, I have come to learn that your health is the most important and precious gift you will ever be given, at the end of your day – that’s your life.

The human body is the best picture of the human soul.

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“Your mind will always give up before your body will… Stay focused, stay strong, push through.”

LEGGO!

Hannah x

What’s Meant To Be…

“The best things come when you least expect them”

I’ve wanted to blog about this for a little while but was never really sure how to go about it and then tonight, it just kind of came to me bit by bit.

I’ve always been quiet a strong believer that ‘everything happens for a reason’ & that often we will ‘fall before we fly‘… I’m also aware that those reasons may not be clear from the start but could become clear later on…

What’s more, sometimes we meet people by chance and those people then become friends but most importantly, in my case anyway, people that I can’t imagine not being in my life now.

This has happened to me a few times but I’ve wanted to write a out a particular time for a long while now, so here it is…

I met two people, both girls, in 2012 at a show, both extremely lovely, supportive and caring. As weird as this may sound, it was one of those times where it just felt right, like that’s what I needed at the time.

I was in quite a bad place during that time, with a lot going on at school, surgery just finished and my health being up & down, I can’t tell you how nice it was to meet two fresh faces, two girls who had and still have so much going for them, it’s so nice to see and be part of, in a very small way of course.

I love hearing what they’re up too and all they do and achieve, at the time I think that’s exactly what I needed, I needed to see people who had a lot going for them, it was like my light at the end of the tunnel… That when i was better, with some hard work and two incredibly caring and talented girls around, I would be able to get back on track.

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I’ve seen and met up with one of the girls a lot more than other, not by choice! but just because we’ve bumped into each other at various events. It’s a nice surprise every time though and always a good (quick) catch up … I’ll just say I really admire what you do and what you want to get into, you’ll change so many lives… & although I haven’t actually seen the other girl since that night in 2012, I love to know how she is and to see what she achieves. I try my best to stay in touch, even if it’s just a little.

‘Friendship isn’t just about how long you’ve known someone…’

What I love most though and something I had never really experienced before is their constant support and love, that no one could really replace if I’m honest. They’ve always supported all I do and always made sure to tell me so & they’ve always made it clear that they were there if ever I needed, even if it was a hospital visit. I’ve never known anyone to be so supportive and loving so quickly, makes such a difference to have you around.

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They’ve since become people I can very much look up to, very much like role models for me, I’ll often tell them this too! – Honesty is the best policy … I can never truly explain why though, it’s just one of those things. They’ve done a lot for me, in ways they’re probably not even aware of and, even though I may hardly ever speak to them or see them, they’ve become very close tOo my little heart. It’s almost like having two older sister figures to look up to 🙂

Perhaps it was how we met, why we met or at the time we met that helped, all I know is that now, after two years I can’t imagine not having met them. I always feel very lucky that we crossed paths, in the most random of ways!

Wishing them all the best in everything they do, knowing that they’ll shine in all they do anyway. I’d also like to say thank you to them both, just in case I don’t thank them enough!

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I wanted this post to be very honest, hope you don’t mind that I’ve shared this and that even though I may hardly ever see or talk to you, I think about you lots and that you’ve both had a real positive impact on my journey.

Thank you, Olivia & Katie…

You never know who you’re inspiring

“We don’t meet people by accident, we’re meant to cross our path for a reason”

Olivia & I

Olivia & I

Lots of love and hugs,

 Hannah x

Little Things…

This week has been quite a special one for me but also made me realise that sometimes we should be grateful for all the little things & that we should appreciate it all. 

From being ill and having met, and lost some of my closest friends through illness, I’ve always known that life and time is precious but I felt it a lot more this past week and just wanted to share some of my own ‘little things’. This week I’ve really appreciated most moments and spent time with the people I love most.

Just wanted to write about a few of those moments… 

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I spent Friday morning collecting a cheque for £7,000 for Rays of Sunshine, which my old school had raised by doing a sponsored walk and then I had such a nice chilled day in the sun, doing fun things and spending time with people I love. – Please see the link at the bottom of the page to see all the amazing work that Rays of Sunshine do. 

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Friday morning… sun, fun & selfies 🙂

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Saturday I spent the day with the two girls I shaved my hair off with and it was the best time I have had in a long while, due to treatment and not being well, Cissy hadn’t been out properly in ages and it was so nice to have such a laugh and to see the smile on her face all day long. It was weird to see how we were treated, as Cissy is in a wheelchair and now has no hair but can I just say that it has it’s perks! … It’s not often that you get escorted around M&M world and have your bags and coats carried for you! – amazing day and all because I spent it with people I love dearly… We just went with it and had such a lovely day with lots of photos and big smiles. They are often the most precious moments – we all know that anything could happen at anytime, so we know how to have the best of times! 

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M&M World and personalized M&M’s

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Today was probably the most important for me though and was what really made me think of how precious our time is. Today marks 6 months since I lost my ‘little best friend’ to Cancer (I spoke about Bella in my last blog) & although I woke up feeling quite sad at that fact, I also remembered the amazing times I had with her and thought about all these selfies that people are taking for cancer awareness… Bella was a photo kind of girl and it makes me so happy to share this beautiful selfie of her! with no make, looking her best with the biggest smile on her cute little face! Yes, I wish she was still here of course but today I share this photo to remember her, how proud I was and still am of her and to remind myself to cherish every moment of everyday.

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“Be your own kind of beautiful”

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Even though I felt a bit odd today, I still had a lot of reasons to celebrate, as it was my little sisters 8th Birthday, very sweet! As I am living in Spain and only back for a week, this week, I thought I would surprise her! it was the best… I told her that I was going home yesterday (Tuesday 18th), so said my goodbye’s yesterday morning and then spent the whole day making her a cake and organizing a surprise party for today! I then stayed at Cissys house for the night, so that it looked like I had really gone back to Spain. 

I came home this morning to an empty house, planned her party, got the house ready and finished off her cake and at 3.30 when she came home with all her friends, I hid behind my living room door until she walked in and I screamed ‘Happy Birthday’ at the top of my lungs, popping two massive party poppers at the same time. She was so confused but the reaction on her face was priceless and one I will never forget. I know that is something she will cherish and appreciate forever.

We spent the evening with her friends and family and it was so nice to watch her have such a blast and really be a part of her growing up. 

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Birthday Celebrations

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This week I also published the video of the shave & to finish my night I was sent this lovely message, from a member of the band Lumintes, who I have met before and stayed in touch with, about the video … very chuffed! So nice to have so much support but also to have someone so ‘out there’ say it, so lovely. – Please use the link at the end of the blog to see the video! 

 

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So lovely

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I’ve had a lot of time to think this week, about how precious everyday is and how we should never wish time away, even if it’s a bad moment. Those bad times come for specific reasons, perhaps for something better to come along or for us to grow and become better people, & that reason may not be clear at the time, but It becomes clear at some point.

I hope some of you can take something from this blog post, I just felt like I had to share and also take the opportunity to remind everyone to just have fun, live life and remember that every moment is precious! 

Sometimes we look forward to all the big things in life and we forget to stop and enjoy all the little things along the way. 

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Just because 🙂

 

“At the end of the day, let there be no excuses, no explanations, no regrets.”

 

 

https://www.raysofsunshine.org.uk/

https://www.facebook.com/HannahsHeartBeat?ref=hl

 

Hannah x