COMMUNITY spirit and goodwill shone through as thousands of pounds were raised to make a family’s festive period even more special.
A huge £12,000 was raised in order to send Hayley Evans, who has terminal cancer, and her three children – twins Skye and Blake, six, and Vince, nine – to Lapland.
Hayley, from Lee-on-the-Solent, was diagnosed with breast cancer just weeks before her 34th birthday two years ago, and she underwent six months of chemotherapy and three weeks of radiotherapy.
But the cancer returned, and in October she was told that it has affected her ribs, pelvis, lungs and the lymph nodes in her chest.
And she received the worst possible news – that it is terminal.
Her friends set up a fundraising campaign called ‘Hayley’s Helping Hands’, to raise cash so that she can create some memories with her children.
The fundraising campaign had gathered about £2,000 of donations, when friend Kirsty Aksoy-Gell spotted the dream holiday to Lapland.
A big push on donations followed, with the community digging deep to raise the cash needed to book the surprise break.
Last week, a limo collected the family from their home, even picking up Hayley’s mum Bernice Farley, and they jetted off to Lapland.
Kirsty said: ‘The children told me they were going to have a snowball fight and they were going to make sure they did some snow angels.
‘As a community, it’s been a real realisation that it could be any one of us.
‘Hayley’s always smiling even when she’s been given the worst news. She’s a really happy, friendly person.’
The family enjoyed a host of winter activities such as a husky sled ride, reindeer sleigh ride, meeting Father Christmas and going on a snow mobile before they returned.
Although they are home, the fundraising has not stopped, and people are being urged to help.
Friend Lynne Bennett said: ‘It’s over to us. We have all got to pull together.
‘We all need to help by raising money so that Hayley can enjoy special times with her children.
‘We don’t know how long she has but she has some time to be able to make memories for, and with, her children.
‘Please give generously, please help this beautiful lady and her children. Let’s make sure they smile a whole lot more.’