Seven-year-old Seren Mawson, who lives near Tamworth, was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukaemia in December 2018.
She has since undergone a series of gruelling treatments and faces a two to three-year battle against the disease.
Seren’s courage captured the imagination – and the heart - of Katie Evers who was determined to do what she could to raise money for Birmingham Children’s Hospital and Children’s Cancer and Leukaemia Group (CCLG).
Katie invited African Food specialists the Scotch Kitchen and performing artist Denise Pitter to her beauty therapy business, the Kianna Treatment Centre in North Warwickshire, to participate in an event aimed at raising money and strengthening ties in the community.
All three businesses, which are based in the north of Warwickshire, recently received support from the Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce through the CW Business: Start, Grow and Scale Programme, which is funded by the European Regional Development Fund, Warwickshire County Council and all five of Warwickshire’s District & Borough councils.
Katie said: “Like many in the community, Seren’s story touched me deeply and I was determined to do what I could to raise money and awareness.
“Seren is a remarkable little girl – her courage and determination through such adversity is truly inspirational.
“It was great to bring three local businesses together and draw so many people to what was a really lovely community event. We’ve all only started very recently with the help of the local Chamber, which is great at bringing businesses together in this way.”
Since learning of the diagnosis last year, Katie has developed a close relationship with Seren and her mother Kate.
Frequent hospital visits – often at the drop of a hat – leave Kate, and other mothers in a similar position, spending lengthy periods at Birmingham Children’s Hospital’s cancer ward without access to essentials such as toothbrushes, shower gels and sanitary products.
“No mother wants to leave their child at hospital but unfortunately this often means having to spend hours – and in some cases nights – on the ward at short notice.
“In addition to supporting Seren, we wanted to use the event to encourage people to donate toiletry products for mothers to feel more refreshed at what is often a tiring and stressful time.”
Katie wants to make these toiletry bags available to the cancer ward at Birmingham Children’s Hospital.
Katie said: “I have written to some of the bigger retailers to see if they can donate toiletries but they are unable to deal direct with me as I am not a registered charity.
“I understand that there are rules and procedures to follow so I would like to ask any businesses in North Warwickshire – and beyond – who wish to donate to get in touch.”
In addition to spreading the toiletry bag message, Katie was also able to share some of her beauty tips – all with an emphasis on well-being.
Katie said: “I strongly believe that businesses have a responsibility to help their local community and since starting Kianna Treatment Centre I have been determined to play an active role.
“The event has been a great opportunity to meet people in the area and introduce them to some of the therapies and treatments that can help to improve physical and mental wellness.”
Katie first contacted the Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce in 2018 to find out how it could assist her with setting up a business and was pleasantly surprised at the level of support she received.
As part of Warwickshire’s Business Start up programme which is delivered by the Chamber of Commerce, Katie participated in free workshops on business planning, finance and marketing as part of the CW Business: Start, Grow and Scale Programme, which is funded by ERDF and Warwickshire County Council and all five of Warwickshire’s District & Borough councils.
Hardeep Sandhu, of the Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce, said: “Businesses play a huge part in their community and this is a fantastic example of that.
“We supported all three firms in getting themselves established and it’s great to see them working together in this way for a great cause.”
There are a range of workshops and masterclasses on offer in North Warwickshire to support start-up businesses including:
North Warwickshire Borough Council - Atherstone
22nd October - How Facebook can Support your Business - (Masterclass)
North Warwickshire & Hinckley College - Nuneaton
8th October - Business Vision & Strategy
15th October - What you need to consider for your website (Masterclass)
23rd October - Winning & Keeping Customers
5th November - Business Planning
For more information on these and the support available, go to www.cw-chamber.co.uk or call 024 7665 4321.
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