Founder, Ellie's Friends
At age 27, dedicated broadcast journalist Ellie was diagnosed with an aggressive form of cancer. Her blog 'Written Off' attracted thousands of followers from the UK and around the globe, many of whom wanted to help make her life just a little bit more comfortable and enjoyable whilst she underwent treatment. When Ellie passed away two years later, her fiancé Tom decided to harness the goodwill of the people who had generously offered their services and support to Ellie. In 2012, Ellie's Friends was born; a charity that works to connect individuals undergoing cancer treatment and their caregivers with people who want to offer their services or products for free or at a reduced cost.
To seed fund Ellie's Friends, Tom had to recover a substantial amount of money which had been misappropriated. Tom sought legal advice through iProbono and was connected with a leading litigation team at Fieldfisher who ran the case for over a year, allowing him to focus on building the charity. Tom said: "It is incredibly difficult to obtain pro bono help on individual litigation matters. I was immensely pleased with the assistance I received from a top law firm who made it as easy as possible for me to go through this process. iProbono and the lawyers drove things forward and provided a very personal service. I was going through a huge amount of stress and they took this litigation matter off my plate. The assistance offered by the firm was outstanding. I cannot be more thankful for their contribution, which was significant at this early stage of setting up the charity."
Since then, Ellie's Friends has taken off and brought joy into the life of numerous people in treatment for cancer who often have to limit their expenses when unable to work. From concert tickets to pampering treatments and holidays, Ellie's Friends provides a brief escape for people suffering through the hardest time of their lives.
A mother in treatment for cancer was given tickets for her and her son to watch their favourite comedian, Russell Brand, perform live: "I was recently diagnosed with a secondary brain tumour, for which I'd had surgery to remove and had just finished a course of whole brain radiotherapy. A good laugh was something I was definitely in need of. We were part of a handful of people invited into the bar after the show to meet Russell Brand! It was great for my son and I to have an evening together, doing something fun; away from cancer, hospital and treatment. The last few months have just been about me being ill so a fun night out together was exactly what we needed. I cannot thank Ellie's Friends enough for such a great evening, full of laughter (and a cuddle from the man himself)."
As it continues to achieve its mission of making the Big "C" Smaller, the charity has now begun connecting like-minded people who are facing similar circumstances. Establishing an online network to bring people together has brought Ellie's Friends back to iProbono for other projects that include:
Bringing experienced lawyers on board to take care of their operational needs has enabled Tom to focus his energies on expanding the network of service providers and reaching out to more people going through cancer treatment.
To learn more about Ellie's Friends, click here.