Our Director Rachel Johnson turned her personal loss into a poignant celebration to mark her 40th birthday in July this year, resulting in more than £30,000 being donated to two local hospices.
Rachel transformed the 40th birthday plans for herself and her husband into a glittering, purple extravaganza to celebrate life and give something back to the charities which benefited their friends and people close to them.
When speaking about the reasoning behind the event Rachel had to say: “This event was very special to me because in 2010, my best friend passed away from breast cancer – she was 37 years old. It sparked two years of tragedy for people around us and we went to five funerals of people that never reached the age of 40. It made me want to hit 40 in a really positive way.”
With months of hard work and planning with her husband Scott, under the event name: ‘Team Dean’s Fundraising Dream’ (Dean is Rachel’s marital name) , she tapped into the business contacts she had made through running YPS, securing sponsorship, donations and prizes with monies raised going to Forget me Not Children’s Hospice in Huddersfield and Overgate Hospice in Halifax.
The event was held at The Venue with compere Neil Hurst and on the night almost 300 people attended. Sponsors on the evening included YPS and a selection of YPS business contacts, while Barclays bank kindly agreed to match fund parts of the event. Through ticket sales, ‘posh’ tombola prizes and the auction, more than £30,000 was raised, smashing the target of £15,000, ensuring both selected charities could benefit from a sizable donation.
Rachel said: “We are fortunate enough to never have needed the services of the hospices, but my friend did use a local hospice and felt that they really helped her – myself and my husband both feel so lucky for our health, the health of our children and the health of people close to us, so it was important to celebrate in a way that allowed us to give something back. It took me out of my comfort zone to ask for things for free but it was worth it. The event was a huge success and we are so delighted to present the monies raised to the two great causes we selected.”
Jason Costello from Forget me Not Hospice added: “What an amazing night we had celebrating Rachel and Scott’s 40th birthdays. The generosity shown by family and friends in raising £30,000 for Overgate and Forget Me Not Children’s Hospice is testament to how special Rachel and Scott are. I was asked on the night by a guest what the £15,000 donation means to Forget Me Not, not an easy question to answer but in simple terms the generous gift means that Team Deans 40th Birthday Dream will pay for the running of the hospice for two days and that is one unbelievable way to celebrate their BIG 40.”
Laura Whitham from Overgate Hospice said: “Our services are completely free of charge to our patients, which means that we rely on the local community to help us raise £2.5million per year. Without help from people like Rachel and Scott, organising their own events and raising thousands of pounds for us, we wouldn’t be able to keep our doors open. We are really proud that we manage to keep our running costs as low as possible and that 85p from every pound raised goes directly on patient care. Although we know we cannot add days to life, we can add life to the days people have left.”