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Fabulous fashion show spectacular

Thursday night was a fun filled night of fashion and fundraising for Southampton Hospital Charity. 
The Grand Café hosted our annual L K Bennett fashion show, which offered a three course meal, raffle, auction, and Michael Bublé tribute act.
Suzie Simmons, fundraising manager, said: “Thank you to everyone who came along on the night, we hope you all had a good time watching the girls strut their stuff, show off the dresses and then dance the night away. 
The night was a huge success, and raised £3,285.38! 
We want to say a special thank you to Greenhouse Printing Ltd for sponsoring the programmes; Damian Head (furniture maker) and Wayne Vincent (Utility Warehouse representative) for sponsoring the tables. Thank you to all the companies who donated prizes for our auction, raffles, and goodie bags.
Everyone was very moved by our guest speaker, Larissa Hirst, aka Miss Hampshire, who gave a very moving speech, explaining why she got involved with Southampton Hospital Charity.”
Please contact Alanna Lee on 023 8120 4713 to register your interest for our 2016 fashion show.
Here is Larissa’s speech from the event:
“Hello ladies and gentlemen, I hope you’re having a good evening. I’m Larissa Hirst, I’m the current Miss Hampshire and this year’s county representative for the Miss England final in August. More importantly, I am passionate fundraiser for Southampton Hospital Charity, and a keen supporter of the NHS.
“Let’s be honest here. For most people, it takes someone close to you, or even yourself, to get sick before you really think about the NHS. For me, I used to take the NHS for granted, in fact I didn’t even really think about it much.
“Something else I hadn’t considered was my boyfriend getting really sick. But he did, and I’m here tonight to tell you our story…
“My boyfriend Ian thought he had a sports injury and popped to his local GP just to be cautious about this weird lump that had appeared. When someone finds a lump, it is a thought that crosses the mind, but the probability that you’re jumping to conclusions is higher so you never think, and I never thought that at age 26, he’d have cancer.
“But exactly one week after visiting his GP, Ian was in hospital being diagnosed with testicular cancer.  
“The next few weeks were a blur of hospital visits, and family and friends popping over to lend their support. This was then followed by Ian’s surgery. Having moaned all day about not being able to eat, and posing in ridiculous positions in his surgery stockings, Ian went under at 4pm and was home in time for X-Factor, but not before squeezing in a quick flirt with the nurses.
“It really was only in December, six-seven weeks after surgery and just after he’d had chemotherapy, that we both took a step back and looked at what he’d been through. The diagnosis, surgery and after care was so quick, yet done with the utmost care and consideration. The speed and quality of care the hospital gave us, in particular the Hamwic Ward, demonstrated that the hospital didn’t want this illness to define Ian’s life – they wanted him home and getting on with things.
“It was a difficult period for all of us. I had in the back of my head the fact that my Granddad was also treated on the exact same ward, and didn’t beat cancer. Statistically though, more people survive cancer than die of it. Think about it – we all know someone that has passed away from the disease, but we also know survivors, and Ian kicked its butt. So did my step mum – she beat breast cancer and she’s such an inspirational woman having ran the London marathon and supported me in all my endeavours.
“We need to stop being afraid of the word cancer, and stop thinking it’s a death sentence because the NHS and all of us are putting it in its place and telling it to jog on. The NHS is, in my opinion, one of the greatest creations of our country. And this opinion has been formed because of Southampton General Hospital.
“Southampton Hospital Charity fundraises for wards and department charity projects across Southampton General Hospital, and the Princess Anne Maternity Hospital. Every ward or department has its own fund where money can be used, for new equipment for example, or whatever need the ward has.
“Ian was treated in Southampton’s oncology unit – there are only 12 regional cancer centres in the whole of the UK, serving approximately 1.7 million people. The oncology unit is a leader in cancer research and treatment development.
“Cancer is one of the Trust’s key services, and they are developing as a global centre for excellence, and treating more and more people from outside the Wessex area.
“I’m happy to say that Ian was told he was in remission in February this year, and has just completed the 13.1mile Southampton half-marathon alongside me. His fitness, his health, and his appetite for life is there because of the amazing care Southampton General Hospital gave him.
“I would do anything for him to have never been sick. But, here’s something I can take from my role as Miss Hampshire. When I entered the competition, I was told the contest would give me the opportunity to be the best version of myself. And you know what, that is so true, and it is truer still for what we have gone through. I am a much better person, and so is Ian. We appreciate everything a lot more now, and while we never argued much before anyway, we turn around now midway through a heated debate and say: “Hey, we beat cancer! We are so much better than this!”
“I’ve learnt to be a better person through this ordeal, and through working with Southampton Hospital Charity. The charity has allowed me to meet so many amazing people, and has helped me raise thousands for the ward that saved him.
“I hope you all have a fantastic time tonight and keep fundraising – you’re making a massive difference and I can’t thank you enough.
“Thank you!” 

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