The Wedding Wishing Well Foundation • The Founder Naomi
I have felt completely inspired by their work, helping fund and organise weddings for terminally ill people.
Then a couple of weeks ago I had an email conversation with their founder Naomi. You can read about Naomi here, but I wanted to meet her in person, to really understand her story and motivation for setting up the charity and we started discussing a potential series of posts going behind the scenes!
Last Friday I scooted down the motorway to their office in Taunton, a girly paradise in a warehouse type building. Naomi and her right hand woman Keri (with the help of their husbands) have created a peaceful and calm oasis on a little industrial estate, 5 minutes off the motorway.
Beautiful duck egg print wallpaper, wooden LOVE letters along a faux fireplace, twinkling jewellery under crystal chandeliers and dresses, lots and lots of dresses. It feels like you have stepped into a bridal boutique, until you see the certificates, awards and thank you cards pinned to the walls by their desks.
Sometimes you meet someone and you just click. Within a few minutes I knew Naomi and I are out of the same mould.
Naomi talks about her cancer, yes she has battled cancer and yes it came back. She openly speaks about her movie script last few years from movie type love with her husband and the story of their engagement which made my heart fill with love, to awful experiences in hospital with broken backs, treatment and the days she was told each piece of horrible news, which made me feel how life can be so unfair.
I actually said it's like she has lived many lives in one. That she has been given so much to deal with but at that moment looks, to the outsider like a healthy happy mother of one.
She describes their son Devon as a miracle, a baby conceived during radiotherapy who came into the world as a perfectly healthy baby boy.
Naomi has stage 5 cancer, the worst stage to have, the stage that means it cannot be cured. There were a few moments where I could have burst into tears but that seemed like a selfish thing to do. So I listened. When I said goodbye I actually had a strange sense of determination come over me, rather than feeling sad. Of course I felt desperately sorry for Naomi and her family but I feel even more inspired than before.
Fired up to help.
Naomi is one of those people who is extremely effective. Quite frankly she has to be, because her time is very precious.
I loved that about her, that in a day she can make a tremendous difference to someone. She is creating an incredible legacy, and one that I want everyone to support.
£5 makes a huge difference. It could mean covering the petrol cost for a cake maker to deliver a £300 wedding cake they have donated for free.
Naomi is bursting with ideas for fundraising events and initiatives. She has a contact list any wedding professional would be envious of but as one person (2 with her wonder woman Keri) it takes time to get through to everyone, takes time to send each email, return each phone call. Naomi speaks at lots of events, helps raise awareness of breast cancer in schools and so every penny that is donated is greatly appreciated.
I will go out on a limb and say that everyone who reads this post today can afford to donate £1. Less than the cost of a 99 ice cream that I am sure everyone will enjoy at least one of this summer.
It only takes a minute to donate your £1 so CLICK HERE.
Over the next few months I am going to be incredibly lucky and cover what the foundation really does. Weddings. They have started planning for a couple who will get married in Bristol and I am going to take you on the journey too. So you can really see where your £1 goes.
Last month Naomi renewed her vows. To the man who is standing by her through everything. They had the wedding of her dreams (it helps Naomi was a wedding planner in her career) and that is where the idea for The Wedding Wishing Foundation was born.
I hope you will follow this journey with a special couple and feel as inspired as I do to help.