686. Tom Thostrup
Tom Thostrup, from London, set up ‘Ellie’s Friends’ after losing his fiancée, Ellie, to breast cancer.
Having spent Ellie’s time in treatment focused on making sure she enjoyed life as much as possible, Tom decided he wanted to do the same for others across the UK in Ellie’s memory.
Ellie’s Friends is an online platform that allows local businesses to advertise free and discounted products and services to adults living with cancer. These ‘pick-me-ups’ include free tickets to musicals, concerts, sports matches and tourist attractions, as well as free hotel stays, massages and book bundles.
In the time since Tom founded Ellie’s Friends, the charity has awarded more than 2,000 gifts and experiences to cancer patients across the UK and also acts as a signposting service for cancer charities and support groups.
In a personal letter to Tom, Prime Minister Theresa May said:
“Through your fantastic ‘Ellie’s Friends’ initiative you are giving people undergoing cancer treatment the opportunity to enjoy themselves with their family and friends in the midst of an incredibly challenging time. Your dedication to the project is a wonderful tribute to Ellie’s life.”
“I’m very honoured to have been chosen for this award and I’d like to thank my fellow volunteers and team for making Ellie’s Friends a success.
I hope this award will raise the profile of Ellie’s Friends and help us to improve the lives of people living with cancer. There are so many opportunities for businesses to offer spare tickets, empty hotel rooms and other treats at little cost to them that will make the day of someone going through a very difficult time, so we hope to continue to connect kind organisations with people who will greatly benefit from their generosity.
As Ellie wrote in her blog (writtenoff.net) she wanted to ‘make the big C smaller’ and she continues to inspire and motivate us.”