Staff at Holiday Extras are raising funds to create “magical memories” for a colleague who has been diagnosed with stage-four cancer.
Travel consultant Natalie Havill, who has worked for the company for three years, has a rare form of cancer called adenoid cystic carcinoma (ACC) and has been given just 18 months to live.
Team leader Victoria Meakings – her manager and friend – is leading the fundraising push which aims to support Natalie, her husband Ricky and daughters, aged four and six.
The money also will help Natalie to explore a clinical trial in Germany, which could extend the time she has left, and help make the family’s last months together “as magical as possible”, said Meakings.
Fundraising at Holiday Extras’ head office in Hythe, Kent, started on December 14, which was the company’s day of Christmas celebrations.
In the first 24 hours they raised £1,125, and on December 21, company bosses said they would double what had been raised by 2pm that day. That meant the total of £3,517 was doubled and rounded up to £7,100.
The amount raised has now surpassed £8,500, and the goal is to reach £10,000 by the end of January.
A JustGiving page has been set up for donations and the Holiday Extras choir has been performing to collect further funds. The money will go towards the Havill family as well as a local charity, Pilgrims Hospices.
Holiday Extras also paid for the family to have a long weekend together before Christmas at Chessington World of Adventures Resort (pictured).
When she heard the fundraising had topped £1,000 within the first day, Natalie said: “I really am lost for words. I work with such amazing people.”
Victoria added: “I’m overwhelmed by the generosity of people and how everyone has jumped on this to help out.
“Natalie is a fantastic, positive person who has given so much to everyone around her and it’s an honour to do this for her in return.
“We’ll be continuing our fundraising efforts so if anyone else can show their support through our JustGiving page, or in other ways, please do get in touch. We really do appreciate it and would like to thank everyone who has helped us get to where we are today.”
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