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United By Festivities: Dickies Christmas Gift Back Initiative
MEET THE MAKERS | 18.12.2020
The festive season is almost upon us, and over at Dickies we’re getting ready to embrace it fully! We could think of no better way to mark the occasion than to revisit the makers who’ve helped to bring our campaigns to life over the last year and shine a light on the great stuff they’re doing within their communities.
We sat down with barber Paul Hewitt from our Meet The Makers campaign back in February to discuss a charity very close to his heart. To help him in his hard work and good deeds Dickies have provided a product donation which will go to The Grand Appeal. Read on to find out more and how you can get involved.
First of all, thanks so much for bringing to our attention an excellent charity for Dickies to get behind as part of the Meet The Makers Christmas Gift Back initiative. Are you able to bring us up to speed on the charity you’ve selected?
Thank you so much for asking us to be a part of this amazing initiative! The charity we have chosen is THE GRAND APPEAL; they are the Bristol Children’s hospital charity. They provide specialist treatment for many brave young patients and are at the heart of children’s healthcare in the South West of England.
We can see that they do super important work, we are delighted to be able to help out in any way we can! Are you able to share with us why you have selected this charity and why it is important to you?
In October 2018, our son, Franck was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukaemia; he was four years old. The Grand Appeal works closely with the children’s Cancer Unit at The Bristol Royal Children’s Hospital and has supported Franck and us as a family since the day he was diagnosed. Franck spent the first year of his treatment on the Starlight Ward of the Bristol Royal Children’s Hospital having multiple surgeries, chemo every day, steroid treatment, blood and platelet transfusions. He had 14 of his baby teeth removed. He would be put to sleep and have bone marrow, lumbar puncture and chemo injected into his spine to stop the spread of leukaemia up into his neck and brain every few weeks. Franck is now 2.5 years into his cancer treatment and has one year left; his fight continues with daily chemo administered at home, weekend medication and a team of nurses who visit him weekly at school to take blood from his chest internal port (an intrusive procedure with a needle into his chest port) and once a month he has an intensive chemo/steroid course which leaves Franck struggling for 10 days. Franck’s now back at school and around his friends which has helped with his mental health (a new part of his fight we weren’t prepared for) and with the help of the hospital and charity he’s getting through it. For over 15 years the charity has provided funding for equipment, play staff, artworks and medical facilities. They’ve made Franck and his sister Ruby feel like normal children with days out to the cinema and other activities with other families that are going through similar treatments. They are all amazing!
For anyone reading this who’d like to get involved with this particular charity are there any ways they may be able to support?
Their website is full of information on how you can support this amazing charity, check out https://www.grandappeal.org.uk for ways to get involved. You can contact them directly via the website too.
We last saw you in the Meet The Makers campaign earlier this year, how have you been staying creative over the last few months?
The barbering industry has had two lockdowns in the U.K., so I’ve had plenty of downtime to think! I run the barbershops with my wife Anna, so we’ve been working on changing the business structure of our shops, adding new additions in 2021, making the shops safer for our customers and staff. We’ve also been working on new content which we can’t wait to start shooting in 2021!
The big day is almost upon us, how will you be spending Christmas this year?
Each Christmas at home is a huge blessing since Franck was diagnosed, in 2018 he was in hospital over all of Christmas and New Years and we had to split the family up, so every Christmas is about family and fun, with grandparents and siblings. Francks last treatment date is 18.12.2021, so we are counting down the days/weeks/months now!!! Both kids have also asked for some good presents this year, so they are on their best behaviour!
Lastly, any positive words or resolutions for 2021?
We have been under the direction of Francks Consultants since October 2018, the kids are used to being isolated and having to forego a lot of normal activities, but they both understand the dangers for Franck. This year especially has taught me to slow down in life. Over the last two years, our family has appreciated the smaller things, and it’s brought us even closer. So slow down and appreciate the smaller things! Thanks so much & stay safe everyone.
Check out The Grand Appeal’s website to see how you can help this Christmas!