Annabel’s Angels and Shelley Mason have a bit of history; our Chair Simon Hancox takes us back to early 2013…
The passing of Annabel Hancox on 28 December 2012 opened up many new friendships and connections. I decided to make contact with several of Annabel’s online friends who were all going through their own Cancer journey. Dorothee, Denise, Yvonne, Nicola, Ali and Shelley were names new to me, but, in time, they would become regular contacts, new friends bought together in the most difficult of circumstances.
Chatter online became chatter over the phone. Conversation swung to and from different topics, as conversation often does, and it wasn’t too long before the subject of support for people living with Cancer came up. We all shared our own experiences of hospital support, peer support and we shared ideas about how we could encourage others living with Cancer to ‘challenge’ their condition and to live life as fully as possible. As a result, several sponsored Race 4 Life events came and went all under the moniker of local Annabel’s Angels running groups running throughout the country. The groups performed amazingly well, securing over £30,000 in sponsorship for Cancer Research UK, mainly by people living with Cancer walking and running to prove to themselves and others that they could do it.
Conversations moved on to the idea of what next. Setting something up to support local families was a topic that seemed to stay in the air. Shelley, Ali, Dorothee and I carried out our research to see what existed and what was missing from Annabel’s own city of Derby. The idea of peer support and a support fund to help Cancer families deal to reduce some of the ‘daily life pressures’ started to grow.
Shelley helped to grow an idea into an actual thing; an incredibly useful thing. Shelley offered her skills, ideas and insights to others while also living with Secondary Breast Cancer. Shelley used her skills as a trainer to bring a team of people together, she used her professionalism and patience to help wade through the necessaries associated with the Charity Commission. She used her warmth and wit to challenge people in a way only she could do.
Shelley continued to support others by writing a blog detailing her every day life experiences while also detailing her own Cancer journey. Shelley’s warm and witty writing style bought new fans and new friends. Stories resonated with many, particularly those with an experience of living with a life threatening illness.
Shelley passed away peacefully on 30 September 2016 surrounded by her family.
Annabel’s Angels would not exist today if it wasn’t for Shelley Mason.
I would not be the person I am today if it wasn’t for Shelley Mason.
Shelley offered me support at the darkest time of my life. Shelley listened to me and she offered ideas about how I could support myself well and how I could raise my two young boys while dealing with this unexpected life chapter.
My thoughts and the thoughts of all Annabel’s Angels Trustees go out to Shelley’s family. Shelley was a wonderful human being; warm and witty with a wicked sense of humour.
Shine on, Shelley x