Today we are focussing on our very own woman of inspiration on this International Women’s Day.
It is a mother’s worse nightmare.
Your intuition is niggling away.
You know something is not quite right and you are pretty damn sure it is not just growing pains.
Your precious boy, your first born is in pain.
It is Cancer
The next few years were a blur of treatments as Di supported her son Daniel throughout. Taking him to hospital appointments, Sheffield, Children’s Hospital, Western Park and Leeds Hospitals.
Di is resilient and was determined to help Daniel lead a life of normality even though undergoing the gruelling treatment. Arranging once in a lifetime experiences for him and making memories for the whole family. Di supported and encouraging Daniel as he continued with his desire to complete his education and develop his skills and natural talent in the arts.
Sadly Daniel passed away 2010 aged 19 years. But that did not see the end of Di’s resilience and fighting spirit.
Determined to ensure her son’s memory could live on through his passion for art and creativity.
Inspired by how Daniels love for the arts and her own love of music had helped Daniel escape the reality of treatment after treatment Di founded The Daniel Barnett Arts Foundation in memory of her precious son. Throughout Daniel’s life, he was very driven by his creative self. It allowed him to lose himself inside his being, it helped him enormously. As a mother seeing your child escape from the reality of an illness, even if it was just for a short time, was a real comfort and joy. Being with him and experiencing the importance of creative expression, gave Di the courage to set up the charity, to give this opportunity to others so that hopefully they can experience the same feelings of escapism and fulfilment as the family did.
Di brings that release to others now – Her charity offers art workshops in hospitals for children in Sheffield and Leeds. Providing art tuition to children who are home schooled and the wonderful Gifted Memories photo shoot for individuals and families. A supportive bereaved parents group for parents who like Di have lost a child. Di understands and can help so many others because she is such a determined, caring and empathetic woman.
Ten Years On
Over the last decade Di has worked tirelessly, fundraising to gain Charity Status. Raising her family of boys with John her husband and constant support, grieving and working too. With a small team of close friends and family the last 10 years have seen this woman inspire and grow beyond all expectation. The hard work is paying off as a recent award from The National Lottery Awards for All is helping to put the charity on the map.
With a determination to continue building the charity to help others with The Arts Di has the dream of not only continuing with the services already provided and expanding them throughout the UK she also has a goal of creating Art Therapy and Treatment Hubs that will host art provisions for patients and their families to retreat to whilst undertaking gruelling treatment. An escape, a release and a way of returning to normality when they walk through the doors of the Hub.
What is Next?
Di is working hard to ensure the growth of the Charity, recruiting new members of the team to help with Administration, Fundraising and Social Media.
She will continue to be the driving force behind Daniel Barnett Arts Foundation focussing on spreading the word of the charity, speaking at local and national events and of course continuing in the support of patients and their loved ones.
Although Di finds speaking in public a challenge and obviously emotional her challenge will be overcome as she steps out of her comfort zone to spread the word of her charity further afield and to bigger audiences to enable the growth that the charity and Di deserve.
Di has spoken at a number of events from her own fundraisers to women’s groups such as Girlie Gatherings, Mums in Business Association and recently to a packed house at Inspiring Women Network.
Words for Di.
Di you are an inspiration, a guiding light and support to parents and patients who need you. A much loved wife and mum, a hard worker, a strong character and a friend of many. Daniel would be so proud of his beautiful Mum and all the work she has carried out in his name.