Sunday 17 January 2016

More about why I am donating royalties from my books to 'Mama Shirls' hospice

In a nutshell, Shirley (the school nurse I call 'Sheila' in my book Please eat...: A mother's struggle to free her teenage son from anorexia), gave so much to Ben and me during his long battle with anorexia in terms of support, love and someone I could trust to take care of Ben when he was at school that I wanted to give something back.

And when I heard her speak on Friday about her voluntary work in Uganda I had a brainwave...

The good thing about book royalties (the profits I get from Please eat... and When anorexia came to visit after costs) is that once you've written and published the books you don't have to do anything to get them.

Apart from hoping that people buy the books, of course.

I'm not saying that I make a fortune from my books about teenagers with eating disorders. Far from it. But, with the support of people who generously purchase my books in 2016, I will hopefully make enough to sponsor a bed -  Bev's Bed - in the hospice which Shirley is busy setting up for children and young people with cancer near her village in Uganda.

A little bit of money goes a long, long way over there...

As Shirley explained on Friday, Northern Uganda (where she lives) has no access to cancer treatment. People have to go all the way to Kampala to get scanned and even then it's just one machine, and an antique one at that.

Cancer care, too, is pretty much non-existent, especially where she lives.

As a result, Shirley says, eight out of ten children die, often needlessly and in appalling agony.

So Shirley is busy setting up a small hospice for children with cancer. She has also undergone some further training to help her provide specialist nursing care to these children.

Everything Shirley does in Uganda is funded by donations from generous people in the UK. So in 2016 my books will be helping double the number of people: the families that purchase the books on eating disorders - and the children in that Ugandan hospice cared for by the wonderful, loving woman they call 'Mama Shirls'!

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