Just last week, Anna got in touch with me to share the below heartfelt and uplifting story which can only be described as “the ultimate teddy bear’s picnic”. Anna’s mum sadly passed away with cancer quite recently, and given the family’s rather creative history, the picnic served as the perfect tribute to Anna’s mum...

A teddy bear’s picnic

Recently my mum passed away from cancer after only finding out about it 5 months ago. It was a very tough journey and opened our eyes to the suffering of what sick people go through, especially with cancer. We were strong all the way through but sadly lost the fight.

A brief history of the family - we are all creatives, and my mum and dad loved teddy bears. For 50 odd years or so my dad has been designing our Christmas cards with teddy bears hand-drawn on them. As the family grew, so did the number of teddies on the Christmas cards. First by adding the family dog, then my brother (first-born), then my twin sister and I, all represented by teddy bears. Because of this and my parents love of teddies, dad wanted to hold a holistic service for mum which is what she wanted, but asked that it be a celebration of life! And what else did my mum love, but always a cup of tea!

So, we held the service in a beautiful hotel suite, and kindly asked everyone to buy a teddy which represented their relationship with mum, followed by afternoon tea - creating the ultimate teddy bear’s picnic!

Later, we then donated all 60 teddy bears to Great Ormond Street Hospital, to the children who suffer from cancer, each labelled with ‘Enjoy your new teddy…With love from Sue to you'.

This story is a story about giving. A story about humanity. A story about charity. What a beautiful way my dad decided to celebrate my mum’s life through afternoon tea, teddy bears and giving to the poor sick children at Great Ormond Street. I wanted to write to you, to hopefully touch the souls of the people out there in the world, that something good can come out of something so terribly sad. That giving isn’t always about donating money, but to donate a smile on a little boy or girls face. That there is love in the world when sometimes nothing makes sense, whilst you are desperately grieving the loss of your mother. Hopefully this story has put a smile on your face, and has reminded you to celebrate YOUR life, whilst you are still blessed to be living in the joys of your friends and family’s hearts.

If you've been moved and inspired by Anna's story, and would like to donate a bear to Great Ormand Street in honour of Anna's mum, Sue, then please contact the Community team at community@macmillan.org.uk. We'll put you in touch with Anna, who'll arrange for the bears to be sent to GOSH.

If you’ve recently lost a loved one to cancer, in our Bereaved family and friends and Bereaved spouses and partners groups you’ll be able to find and talk to people who understand what you’re going through.