In May 2019 our youngest son Nolan was diagnosed with Kidney Cancer – Clear Cell Sarcoma of the Kidney. He was just 21 months old. CCSK is a very rare and aggressive cancer and has a higher rate of relapse most commonly spreading to the brain and bones.
As a family we were absolutely devastated and thrown into a world that we didn’t even know existed. Nolan was given a very intensive treatment plan; 6 rounds of pre surgery chemo, his kidney removed, 3 weeks of daily radiotherapy at Jimmys and a further 12 rounds of chemotherapy.
Nolan coped amazingly well throughout his treatment. Even at times when he picked up infections and required longer stays in hospital for blood transfusions etc he would also be smiling, he loved listening to music and making friends on the ward.
In March 2020 roughly a week after his last round of chemo. Covid hit. Initially I was absolutely fine with the idea of shielding him for 11 weeks. I thought at last we will all be together at home all the boys together, Jobe his eldest brother was 15 at the time and Arlo just 4 (13 months older). We did well as a family but I think this is what really hindered my recovery as once lockdown lifted I really struggled with going out and trying to do normal things. Even a trip to the supermarket was too much to cope with.
It’s taken a very long time but slowly and surely and with the support I have from my husband Paul and friends and family I have managed to think about what I want to do with myself and what I can do that will give me a new focus and allow me to feel like I’m making a difference.
We moved house, giving us a new project (a huge home renovation) and I began to put my idea of Winnie Dot into practise. I booked on the Indx Exhibition to meet with potential stockists and looked at premises in the only place I knew I would be happy setting up my premises; Hebden Bridge.
Hebden Bridge was our sanctuary when Nolan was ill. As he was at high risk of infection we couldn’t allow him to play indoors at playgyms or similar as the risk of infection was too high. Instead, we would often come down to the park or to feed the ducks and a wander around the market. It really does feel special.
I thought for a long time what direction I could go in once I was ready to return to work and I felt there was a huge gap in the market for lingerie. I knew I did not want to just open a shop. I wanted to create a space where customers felt at ease and almost a dressing room feel. I wanted it to be an experience and something where customers would enjoy their time so much they would want to return time and time again. I thought about what I would call the boutique and decided on Winnie Dot. Winnie is my mums nickname from my dad – he’s called her Winnie since I was a little girl and my Grandma was Dot. In the boutique you can see a beautiful feature wall of my Grandma Dot and Grandad Alec on their wedding day.
Winnie Dot is now up and running and it has given me the opportunity to regain my confidence and helps me to cope with my new-normal life. It’s a massive part of my recovery journey and hopefully in turn I will also be able to help others.
I am looking forward to being a part of the Hebden Bridge community and surrounding areas and I very much look forward to meeting you all in person.
Thank you for choosing Winnie Dot – it means a lot.