Today we are sitting down for a chat with actress and voice artist Natalie Husdan, who has recently raised over £14,000 for a small pancreatic cancer charity by throwing a ball! No, not that kind of ball, silly! You’d need to wear a frock!
What is it about the charity that particularly resonates with you?
PCRF is a small charity set up by a widow Maggie Banks whose husband died of Pan Can. They focus on raising funds exclusively to support research into improve the diagnosis and treatment of pancreatic cancer, survival outcomes have improved little in 40 yrs which is why I think this focus of the charity is so important. My healthy super energetic beautiful 63 yr old mum was diagnosed with pan can last November and died 7 months later. It’s a dreadfully aggressive painful cancer that is terrible to watch loved ones suffer from and terrible to suffer with and awareness of this silent cancer and funding of research/treatment has been hugely lacking in the UK.
What made you decide to organise a ball?
Sue’s Summer Soiree was organised for June and Mum had a ticket and her dress bought. It was due to be a special & fun night to celebrate my Mum, her life, her fighting hard against Pan Can, and to raise money for PCRF, kickstarting the summer and giving my Mum a boost. Tragically, Mum died suddenly of sepsis caused by the cancer, the day before the Do, on the 14th June – so we postponed the event for 3 months – it was finally held on Fri 7th Sep.
What is involved in organising a ball?
Getting numbers in! Selling tickets. Picking the menu, decor, we had a cigar and sweetie table, so buying all these things and then decorating the venue – which sat 182 people. Hardest part was getting prizes in for the raffle and silent and live auctions, persuading companies to donate to these, and we did a cool A6 Glossy booklet for every guest with adverts in for every business that donated prizes so graphic designing and organising that took a lot of work. Our tagline was “Pancreatic Cancer’s Good at Spoling Things, But Not This Party”. Thankfully my step-brother Rob Jenkins is a brilliant graphic designer who did the design work.
What would you say was the most difficult/rewarding part?
Most difficult was the moving of the date a few days before when we knew we had to postpone, telling all the guests, sorting with the venue Hilltop Country House who were amazing, thankfully family and friends really kicked in here and took over doing this for me personally when my head wasn’t really functioning – that was really touching seeing that, so many people offering their help, and over the summer nearly everyone committing to the new date and those who couldn’t make the new date so kindly donating their ticket money instead of asking for a refund. The kindness and generosity of people – friends but also friends of friends that I don’t even know so well, and businesses in East Cheshire & Manchester. People buying raffle tickets and putting in auction bids even if they couldn’t attend.
Obviously this is a very serious cause, but it was a ball, were there any funny moments?
Making two grown men wear bejewelled crowns so they were noticeable in the marquee during the raffle & auction, that was a nice surprise we organised for Tony & Rick! Everyone had a good few hours on the dance floor, Hilltop have a proper boogie room and wicked DJ and kept the venue open late for us so there were plenty of violent shapes being thrown, dance offs as the drink flowed and ridiculous behaviour that was very amusing.