A ball in memory of a “beautiful, lively, happy” five-year-old girl has raised thousands for the charities that helped her – including Derian House, the Chorley children’s hospice where she rested after she had passed away leading up to her funeral.
Holly Prince, from Hindley, Greater Manchester, had an extremely rare genetic condition called Bloom Syndrome, which affects less than 300 people worldwide.
Symptoms include a high risk of cancer, and Holly developed a tumour on her kidney called Wilms Tumour that spread around her body. After three years of battling the disease, Holly sadly passed away aged five on Friday, April 8 this year.
Derian House Children’s Hospice looked after Holly in the last few weeks of her life as well as her parents, her sister Evie, 10, and her brother Jack, eight. She laid at rest in one of the hospice’s Sunflower Rooms before her funeral, allowing her family extra time to say goodbye.
The ball, organised by Holly’s dad Mark, raised £21,801, which will be split between five charities that helped the family – Derian House, Bloom Syndrome Association, The Royal Manchester Children’s Hospital Charity, Milly’s Smiles, and Children with Cancer UK.
More than 200 people gathered to celebrate Holly’s life on June 3 at Leigh Sports Village Banqueting Suite in Manchester. They enjoyed a three-course dinner, live music and a huge raffle and auction.
Mark Prince, 38, a Construction Site Manager at Eric Wright Construction, said: “We had hoped the ball would be a celebration of Holly finishing treatment, but it wasn’t to be. The amount of love in the room for Holly really touched our hearts and we know she was there with us in spirit.
“Derian House gave our family so much support. We are so grateful for everything they did for us. We stayed in the family flats, used the hydrotherapy pool, watched films and ate hot dogs in the cinema. Holly was able to bring her cockapoo, Poppy, who she adored.
“When we lost our little girl, she laid in one of Derian’s Sunflower rooms. We brought her blankets and her favourite teddies – Soapy and an elephant called Nelly. It felt like we had been given a bit more time with her.
“When we first arrived, Holly’s favourite Disney songs were already playing. The staff had put them on, which was lovely. They greeted us so warmly and gave us a hug.
“Holly was such a beautiful, lively, happy little girl. Her brother and sister still find it difficult. They have a memory box in Holly’s room that they can use to send messages to her.
“We were fortunate to be able to visit the Bloom Syndrome Association Conference in Chicago this year where we met with other families and researchers who are working to capture tumours earlier in children with the condition. We hope that Holly’s Charity Ball has helped raise awareness of Bloom Syndrome and that the money raised will enable these charities to help more families like ours when they need it most. We intend on it becoming a two yearly event.
“Thank you to everyone who played a part at the ball – to all of our sponsors, to Tony Lewis and Joey Blower for entertaining us all, Matthew Chantler and Calvin Williams for helping us organise the night and auction. Everyone that donated prizes for the raffle and auction. Thank you to everyone that attended and made the night a huge success.”
Sarah Proctor, Community Fundraiser at Derian House, said: “Thank you so much to both Mark and Jenny for choosing us as one of their five charities. Care is free for families, but services cost £5.7 million to run every year with only a small amount of funding coming from the NHS.
“It’s only thanks to the kindness of people, like Mark, Jenny and their friends and family that we are able to do what we do.”
As well as £4,360 donated to Derian House from the ball, Holly’s parents presented a cheque for £7,670 made up of money raised at Holly’s funeral and by her school, Hindley Green Community Primary, in a special dress-up day fundraiser in Holly’s memory.
Derian House Children’s Hospice provides respite and end-of-life care to more than 450 children and young people from across the North West.
Find out more about Derian House here: https://www.derianhouse.co.uk/