Well, what a wonderful response to the competition I set last time! I'm not surprised though that so many of you wanted to win the Diamonique pendant, which is an exact copy of my own diamond one that Colin bought for me! And yes, you were ALL correct, it was a Christmas present – I'm wondering what I might get this year?!
Sadly there can only be one winner, so my lovely editor, Mark, has pulled a name out of the hat and I will announce who 'you' are at the end of this blog.
I do have to apologise though to all those of you who kindly tuned in last Sunday at 9pm hoping to see this gorgeous piece of jewellery in my Diamonique show. Unfortunately we had a glitch in the system and although the stock was in the warehouse, it wasn't on our system, so the computer said 'no'!
Good news is that we WILL have it for you, complete with chain, on Diamonique Day, which is coming October 8th! Can't wait – oh, and the TSV is the watch I chose when I was in Basal, so an exciting day ahead.
Talking of exciting days, probably our biggest in terms of audience, product, time, effort and fundraising will follow the week after, on October the 16th. 'Be Aware, Show you Care' is a three-hour fundraiser for Breast Cancer Care, and in this our 13th year, we hope to add even more money to the monumental amount already raised by you, our suppliers, and QVC.
I know many of you sponsored my friend (and original blog editor!) Bryony, when she ran the London Marathon this year. I am in awe of her for so many reasons, but I felt it was an incredible thing to do, and am very proud to be her friend Along with 'Pink Friday' last month, a cake sale, the Race for Life, and also the Pink Ribbon Walks, QVC have already added to the four and a half million pounds raised over the last 12 years.
Charlie and Debbie Flint will be hosting the event this year, but I will also be with them between 6pm and 9pm, so I very much hope you will be a part of it too… This year is going to be particularly difficult as we have lost Amica and Beulah – 12 months ago we all felt so positive and hopeful…they have been very much in my thoughts over the last few months.
However, it was much earlier this year that I was asked by our jewellery team to design a piece of jewellery for this very special night. It was to be something that would have meaning for those of us, our families, friends, colleagues, workmates, whose lives are affected by this cruel disease.
I have to be honest and say that, although it meant a great deal to be asked, the request carried with it a huge feeling of responsibility. In the two years since I was diagnosed, this blog has blossomed, Ali's Army has been created, and I think it's become an incredible support network for us all. Not only have you carried me through the darkest times, but cheered me endlessly with stories of your lives.
However, sometimes you write of your struggles – the sadness, loss, despair and fear – and reading and responding to you, has helped me to realise that although no two situations are the same, there is something fundamental we all share - we never give up hope. Whether caring for a poorly child, coping with disease, supporting a parent, missing a son, loving a daughter, losing the battle, fighting the fight, it's the one thing that keeps us going. And so I knew I wanted to design something simple yet beautiful, which would embody that sentiment.
As with most things in my life, I talked to Colin, and together we decided that a pendant would be the best choice. We were in Morrocco at the time and sitting underneath a huge lantern that was made up of hundreds of tiny metal tear-shaped elements, and so we decided that the design of the pendant should be a single silver tear drop, and that the words "I hope" would be inscribed on one side…
The thing is that when times are hard, people are struggling, it can be difficult to tell someone how you're really feeling: "I hope your treatment won't be so bad this week, that the scans will be clear. I hope you are coping without her. I hope each day you know how much I love you. I hope that you are feeling stronger. I hope you never have to go through this. I hope you know how brave I think you've been." Or, as my Lucy said to me "I hope you will get better forever…"
Sadly there are no promises and, although I have been given my best chance, there are still times when I am frightened that the cancer will come back and I will lose the fight, as too many of my friends already have. The money raised from selling this pendant will go to our chosen charity, Breast Cancer Care.
It will help them to provide essential emotional and practical support for women like me, like you, our families and friends. We will have the pendant on Advanced Order at the beginning of October, and it will be shipped out to you the week after. We'll have stock in our warehouse from the 7th October, and I will be bringing it to you on the big night itself – 16th October! – between 6pm and 9pm It's item number 609975.
Often the simplest of designs are the most complicated to create, but I couldn't be happier with the finished result…it is, quite simply, perfect. I hope very much that you will like it, and that you or someone you care about would wear it, so that between us we can go some way towards raising much needed cash to help the 500,000 women who are diagnosed each year with this awful disease.
You've all been incredibly generous over the last 12 years and it would be lovely to make this our biggest night yet – do join us if you can At least this year I'll have more hair to style (check out the picture at the top of this post from our Breast Cancer Care show in 2011)!
Well, all that remains for me to do this week, is to name the winner of my competition! Congratulations to Sue Wotton! We will post your beautiful Diamonique pendant to you once we have your address. Thanks again, though, to ALL those of you who took part and who wrote to me – I'll try and set another one again soon
Have a fabulous weekend. Oh, and don't forget our birthday on the 1st of October!
With my love, Ali xx