Miss Nicola Jane Dady - Founder and Chair
In January 2010 I was diagnosed with late stage Transitional Cell Carcinoma (A rare form of Kidney Cancer). As a result of this I underwent an emergency nephro- ureterectomy (Removal of the left Kidney and Ureter), and a mixture of cancer killing drugs for the tumours which grew in my bladder. In that period I spent most of my time in the hospital. My two young children (7and 3) stayed with various family members. Being a single parent of two, as I’m sure you can imagine, our lives were turned upside down.
Though at this time I had the continued support of medical professionals, family and friends to help me to cope with the severity of the situation. There was one thing they could not help me with. The terrible guilt I felt as my children suffered as a result of my sudden illness.
The school the children attend were amazing, as they supported and were sensitive to the massive changes we were all facing. However there was very limited support available to us outside the school environment. I sought help from a number of well known agencies and to my surprise nobody could give my children the support they needed at this tragic time, as I had not been diagnosed ’Terminally ill!’
I just couldn’t believe there were NO support groups focusing on the children, or in fact, any support groups for Cancer patients in which their children were welcome to attend.
That is when I first came up with the idea ’Don’t Forget The Kids.’ I thought, “ There should be a place where families can come and have fun together allowing the children to realise they are not alone and that there are many, many children going through similar circumstance. At the time. I merely just thought I would suggest it to these well known organisations in hope that they would start some sort of support for the children of London.
Little did I know that with the help of an amazing team, I would be the one starting this organisation myself.
In 2012, funded by The Big Lottery Fund, we founded Don’t Forget The Kids. Creating support for Children 0-17 who have a parent or carer living with cancer. Based in North London, we hold weekly creative art and peer sessions . We facilitate meaningful arts and craft projects which encourage memory building and guilt free fun. Healthy snacks and refreshments are provided. The groups are very welcoming and fun. There is no emphasis on cancer or bereavement but allow a platform where families can talk as much or as little about their situations as suits them.
In 2014 we opened our doors to bereaved children and created a care package which we send to families all over the UK who cannot access our support groups. We also hold two annual fundays in our local community to raise funds and awareness for our cause, these are always very successful and enjoy bringing the community together.
I was awarded the ‘Unsung Hero’ award in 2014 and have been featured in well known publications; The Evening Standard, Marie Claire, Haringey People, The urology Newsletter, The Huffington Post, The Mail and most recently a small mention of our charity in Vogue.
In 2015 I was given the all clear, I had beat the odds, the cancer was gone. In celebration of this I published my first collection of poetry ‘Inspired By Life’ within three days it was a bestseller on Amazon in the poetry section.
2016 has been a pivotal year for Myself and Don’t Forget The Kids. We became a registered Charity, which is a massive achievement for us. Funded by Children In Need, we gained more recognition for the work we do in the community. Earlier this year, I was awarded a travelling fellowship from the Winston Churchill Memorial Trust. this enabled me to travel to the USA to research different ways of helping children through the bereavement process. I travelled to New York, California, and Florida and visited with organisations similar to mine. It was an enlightening experience which has opened many doors. I was awarded the ‘Points of Light Award from the prime minister David cameron and acknowledged for the work I have been doing. I also received The Precious Award for ’Social Enterprise of the Year’ and most recently the ‘Haringey Hero’ Award.
I also released my second book called ‘Our book of Love and Feelings.’ It encourages communication between all members of the family in a unique and artistic way.
2017 promises to be another amazing year. Expansion for the Charity is underway and I am working on a few other exciting projects.