A WOMAN with terminal cancer aiming to raise £1 million for a treatment centre has been nominated for two awards.
Jacqui Drake, 56, has raised £191,000 so far from a series of events, including a recent festive show she directed and choreographed, which brought in £7,815. She has a bumper 2020 fundraising programme lined up, starting on Saturday, February 8 with an 80s night at Guiseley Theatre, featuring live band Decade and a pie and pea supper. On Sunday, May 17 Jacqui will host her Mad Hatter’s PositiviTEA Party at Hollins Hall Hotel, Baildon, with swing music from Alan Beck’s tribute to the Rat Pack, and on Saturday, June 20 it’s the East Meets West ball at the Aagrah Midpoint in Thornbury. The events are in aid of Jacqui’s appeal to raise £1 million for Leeds Cancer Centre, where she has treatment. Jacqui, of Apperley Bridge, was diagnosed with malignant melanoma over 25 years ago, and had a mole removed from her leg. A decade ago a secondary cancer was discovered, spreading to her lungs, and Jacqui had a lung removed. She now has stage 4 skin cancer, and is helping other patients and their loved ones with her appeal, Jacqui’s Million, raising £1 million for Leeds Cancer Centre through Leeds Cares, the charity partner of Leeds Teaching Hospitals. “It funds things the NHS can’t, like home comforts which are so important when you’re spending a lot of time there, as a patient or relative,” said Jacqui.
So far Jacqui’s Million has funded a lead nurse in Systemic Anti Cancer Therapy, two venepuncture/cannulation arms, used to train doctors and nurses how to cannulate patients for scans and treatment, and 15 drip stands and caps and coolers, used to prevent hair loss as a side-effect of treatment. “People who donate can see exactly where their money goes,” said Jacqui. “This year’s plans include refurbishing the waiting area, providing comfortable and appropriate seating, and a coffee machine and lamps.” Now Jacqui has been nominated for the Yorkshire Choice Awards, in the Local Fundraiser of the Year and the Kate Granger Outstanding Achievement categories. A public vote is running and the awards ceremony takes place in March.
“It’s a great honour to be nominated in both categories,” said Jacqui. “The Local Fundraiser award is so important to my appeal, and the Kate Granger award is very special as she was a doctor at St James’s Hospital in Leeds and died of cancer in 2016 aged just 35. Her legacy is the ‘Hello My Name Is’ campaign, encouraging healthcare staff to introduce themselves to patients.” The former principal of Debut Theatre School in Shipley, Jacqui is well known on the local theatre scene, having choreographed shows for amateur societies across the district for many years. She worked tirelessly throughout 2019 organising a series of fundraising events such as a Greatest Showman-themed ball, an afternoon tea and a sponsored walk, and she is supported by local businesses and community organisations, including Chadwick Lawrence Solicitors which sponsored her Christmas show and is sponsoring her forthcoming 80s Night and East Meets West ball. Local Brownies raised over £500 from recent supermarket bag-packs, and Bradford Bronte Rotary Club chose Jacqui’s Million as its charity appeal this year.
“The support I continue to have takes my breath away,” said Jacqui. * To vote for Jacqui go to yorkshirechoicewards.co.uk/votehere. Voting closes on February 1.