Stacey Henson, 35, from Leeds explains how she put the fun into fundraising...
As a kid doing dance classes, I adored wearing glitzy outfits on-stage. And now, grown-up, my fun-loving spirit has never left me.
It’s been my dream to become a makeup artist for TV and film one day. So, three years back, travelling in Australia, I enrolled on a one-year Certificate for Make-up and Special Effects Diploma course.
Then, that December in 2014, I received sad news from my mum Bev, 57.
‘Grandad Brian’s passed away,’ she said tearfully.
No! I was devastated.
At 82, just three months before, he’d been diagnosed with liver cancer.
Back in the UK in March last year, I got a job as a data analyst for Macmillan Cancer Support. It felt good to be working for a cancer charity, and I wanted to do more.
Then, last Christmas, I’d an idea… Every year, I set myself a challenge to do better than a standard Christmas jumper. So, in December, I turned up to work rocking a green-and-red Christmas elf costume.
‘Did you make that?’ asked my colleague Dave Rawlings, 25.
‘No, I had a few bits in my fancy-dress box!’ I chuckled.
Weeks earlier, I’d been telling Dave how I wanted to fundraise in a fun way. And now…
‘I could wear a different outfit every day for a month!’ I declared.
Allowing time to prepare, I set my sights on March this year.
‘Great idea, love,’ Mum smiled.
I set some rules – I couldn’t use an outfit I’d worn before, and I had to stay in character all day.
I trawled charity shops and asked pals for clothes donations.
In February, I set to work… And, on 1 March, I went out as Marge Simpson, with hair made out of cotton-wool balls sprayed blue, and a bargain eBay dress.
Yellow-faced and giggling, shopping was the funniest thing, with people being very British, staring but not saying a word!
Armed with business cards explaining how to donate, over the 31 days, I dressed up as the Queen of Hearts, Elliott from E.T., Ginger Spice, and more!
But, hitting a nightclub one night, I got chucked out.
‘No fancy dress,’ the manager said sternly.
Explaining the next day, though, the bar made a £100 donation, taking me over my £2,000 target!
Now my granddad Jack, 84, and Mum’s sister Gail, 59, are fighting cancer, and their bravery’s spurred me on.
I’ve raised £3,465 in total. And I’m so glad that, in a world full of sad news, my crazy outfits have spread a little cheer.