A florist who sold at least 25,000 rainbow-coloured bows to raise funds for a little girl to receive a clinical trial in America has been nominated for the Mirror’s Pride of Britain Awards.
Suzanne Edwards, 54, runs Suzanne’s Florist in Brecon Road in Merthyr Tydfil .
For the past few months she has been combining running her business full-time as usual with making thousands of rainbow-coloured bows.
That fundraising was all part of a rainbow-themed campaign for five-year-old Mia Chambers, from Merthyr, to be able to travel to America and receive a clinical trial to avoid a relapse after previously suffering from neuroblastoma, a rare form of cancer.
A rainbow-themed campaign to raise funds to give the youngster access to the clinical trial – known as DFMO – saw residents of Merthyr, and many parts of Wales, decorate their cars, businesses, and homes with rainbow-coloured ribbons.
In May it was announced that £170,000 had been raised for the little girl. Just three months later it was revealed the total stood at around £280,000.
The reached target meant Mia travelled to Michigan last week with parents Kirsty and Josh, where she was given the go-ahead to begin the trial.
At least £55,000 of that fund came from money raised from Suzanne’s bows. Her original target was to raise £1,000.
After making enough bows to decorate several schools for “Rainbow Day” the items soon became popular and Suzanne was receiving requests.
So she decided to charge £2 per bow so customers could decorate their homes, cars, and businesses with them to show their support for the little girl.
She even had to rope in the help of family, friends, and volunteers to help cope with demand and replenish stock.
Some days would even see Suzanne begin work at 4.30am.
To date Suzanne estimates the bows raised at least £55,000 – meaning at least 25,000 bows were sold, as some buyers donated more than £2. It took around two hours to make 70 bows.
Suzanne, from Gurnos but now living in Merthyr, said: “I’m excited about it. I’m so, so happy to see them out there in America – that’s what it was all about.
“To see her now she’s out in America, she’s started her treatment, having switch-off time from it all.
“It’s been lovely to be part of all that and see the relief on Josh and Kirsty’s face when they knew they had enough money to be able to take her.
“I’ve never ever seen anything like it – I don’t think we ever will again. We were literally making them as people were coming through the door. We couldn’t keep up with it.
“A massive thank you to everybody who bought the bows and for nominating me as well.
“It wasn’t all me. It was a team. I couldn’t have done it without everybody else involved with me.
“We couldn’t have raised all that without everybody buying them. Everybody was on board with it.”
When asked if she’d repeat the experience, she said: “Of course I’d do it again.”
On her nomination, she said: “For a change it’s good news about Merthyr. I was so shocked – I didn’t ask too many questions!
“It’s a nice experience, whatever comes of it, even if it does show what a town can do. If nothing goes further I’m still happy.”