Oa Hackett, founder of the Little Lifts breast cancer charity, has two reasons to celebrate of late. Not only was she awarded with the Points of Light Award from the Prime Minister, but the charity has also just celebrated its 10,000th box delivery to people with breast cancer in the UK
Little Lifts, the breast cancer charity, is celebrating two remarkable achievements this week on the heels of its fifth birthday at the end of last year. On Friday, Little Lifts based in East Anglia delivered its 10,000th box, to the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital (NNUH), one of its nine participating hospitals in East Anglia. The charity is also celebrating the recognition of its Founder, Oa Hackett, after she was awarded with the PM’s prestigious Points of Light award.
Little Lifts provides thoughtfully crafted boxes containing specially selected items to help alleviate some of the physical side effects that some may experience, and to emotionally support those facing chemotherapy or radiotherapy treatment. Since Little Lifts began in 2017, the charity has grown by leaps and bounds. It started providing its services to the NNUH, and five years later, the charity not only supports all the nine major hospitals in East Anglia but its service is now available nation-wide.
Commenting on the 10,000th milestone, Founder of Little Lifts, Oa Hackett says; ‘This is a momentous milestone for us at Little Lifts. The idea for our charity was inspired by kindness I received during my own breast cancer treatment seven years ago. It all started with a group of people around my kitchen table and the delivery of our first box at the end of 2017. During those early days, knowing that someone who was about to start their chemotherapy treatment had received our box sparked a lot of emotions. In many ways, it still does. Each box is more than the sum of its contents and we’re super proud to have distributed 10,000 boxes to women and men in our region, and beyond.
Oa adds: ‘Our Little Lifts Community is something so unique and we couldn’t do any of this without our volunteers, supporters, corporate partnerships, hospital partners and fundraisers; the list is endless, but it’s the feedback from our beneficiaries (and their families) that motivate us every day.’
In addition to supporting people in East Anglia, the charity also set up the Little Kindness Fund in response to the pandemic so that anyone living in the UK going through radiotherapy or chemotherapy treatment for breast cancer can apply for a Little Lifts Box, free of charge, via the charity’s website. The Little Kindness Fund is a discretionary fund for women and men undergoing chemotherapy or radiotherapy treatment for primary or secondary breast cancer, living in the UK. The charity now receives over 150 applications per week. This has grown by 1150% since June 2022.
Receiving the milestone box were members of the radiotherapy team at the NNUH. Professor Erika Denton, Medical Director at the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital, says: ‘Our teams understand what a difference the Little Lifts boxes make to our patients as they move through their cancer journey. Just knowing that someone else is thinking about you is a real boost and we were delighted to be the first hospital chosen by Little Lifts. The charity has gone from strength to strength on its mission to support patients across the region and we offer our congratulations on reaching such a worthwhile milestone.’
In addition to celebrating its 10,000th box, the charity is also celebrating its Founder Oa Hackett who, last month, received an out-of-the-blue letter from the PM Rishi Sunak’s office announcing that Oa was being recognised for her work ‘providing a tremendous dedication to providing welfare support’. The award recognises an outstanding individual volunteer, charity leader or community champion for the positive change they are making for their community.
In a personal letter to Oa, the PM said: ‘I wanted to write personally to thank you for the wonderful way you are supporting others with breast cancer with your ‘Little Lifts’. From your own experience, you know the difference that small acts of kindness can make. So I was inspired to learn how you have partnered with hospitals across the East of England to provide hundreds of giftboxes with specially selected items to relieve the side effects of treatment and boost wellbeing. I know you are also working to extend this support more broadly to breast cancer patients across the whole UK through your Little Kindness Fund.’
Commenting on the award win, Oa says: ‘I feel incredibly proud of what Little Lifts has achieved so far and I would like to say an enormous thank you to our Little Lifts Community, who inspire me every day – my team, Trustees, volunteers, beneficiaries, fundraisers, hospital partnerships and supporters. I would also like to give thanks to my family and friends – after all, it was their kindness that inspired me to start the charity. To receive a Points of Light Award alongside so many other community champions, and for the Prime Minister to recognise our hard work and impact, is an honour. I would like to accept this Award on behalf of everyone who helps makes ‘Little Lifts’ possible.’
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