My name is Julie Smith. In 1992 I was diagnosed with Cancer and transferred to Velindre Cancer Centre for radiotherapy treatment and Lumba Punctures of Chemotherapy to my spine.
Following my treatment I wanted to give something back to Velindre and started raising much needed funds. A few months later I joined Velindre full time working in their fundraising department. I love every minute of my role as the gift shop manageress and appeals officer.
During 1996 my cancer returned. This time I requried twelve months of chemotherapy followed by a stem cell bone marrow transplant. To take my mind off the months of treatment that lay ahead, I suddenly had a fundraising idea.
If we could get lots of people to knit little chicks and then buy chocolate eggs to put inside, we could box them up and sell them.
At £1 each, this would help bring in valuable funds. My story went into the local press and we asked people to pledge how many chicks they could manage to knit in the 8 months before Easter.
A pattern was put together by one of our gift shop volunteers (Joyce Davies). Much to my amazement, over a quarter million chicks were knitted in that first year alone. In total, we raised over a quarter of a million pounds.
Chicks were mainly sold in local schools but the idea proved so successful, we have kept the idea going each year. To date, we have raised over one million pounds for Velindre Cancer Centre.
In 1997, I was awarded an MBE from the Queen, mainly through the chick knit idea. Receiving the award was wonderful, I felt that this was a reflection on the hundreds of people that have worked so hard for the Chick Knit appeal. Without their help, none of this would ever have been possible.
As the appeal continues to grow, our biggest challenge still remains trying to identify how many chicks, snowmen etc will be knitted. Eggs are ordered months in advance and getting the balance right can be challenging. Where possible we ask people if they can give us a pledge of how many chicks
etc they think they can knit. This then allows us to order what we think will be enough eggs. We have included a pledge form (see
link on this page) that would be useful if you think you can help. Or, you can email Julie