Each year the RGU students studying for the degree of ‘Events Management’ hold an event to show their taught skills and to celebrate the end of their degree with family and friends, and all this for a good cause.
Last year’s students raised money for Drug’s Action but this year’s students decided to raise money for something greater, CLAN, and so the Cherry Blossom Picnic was born!
The students not only put their skills in action but they also gather a respectable amount of money through selling tickets and gathering donations and this year all this money went towards cancer research and support!
Every story I hear about cancer, CLAN support is on the spotlight, with cancer patients and members thanking the people involved for their endless support. As a researcher I strongly believe more money should be invested towards cancer research and so if there is anything I can do at all to help for a cause like this I am all about it! Explains why I accepted the invitation the second the girls asked me to give them a hand with the event promotion…
…So follow me for a tour around the Cherry Blossom Picnic afternoon tea!
The afternoon tea was held at the Hazlehead Park Cafe in Aberdeen. I got Vasileia and Irene with me and after a short drive we all stepped into Spring! Quite literally…
There were Cherry Blossom trees, tullips in vases, a floral photo booth and pink baskets containing instructions on how to do your own paper flowers everywhere! The tables were lined with purple tablecloths (to match with the coloured theme) and there were beautiful tea sets nicely arranged on each table. The organisers were very smiley, full of energy and they paid attention to every detail.
This wasn’t your average afternoon tea. The event included live music, reflexology hand massages, reiki sessions to get all the bad energy away your body, shiatsu back and head massages and even hand painting, all this topped with fresh raspberry macarons, mini chocolate eclairs, finger sandwiches and salty pastries. We sat in a table among family members of the students and poured ourselves some tea just when the singer started his live performance.
The food was delicious and as ever the Hazlehead Park staff didn’t disappoint bringing endless rounds of tea and coffee per table and trays of food the one after another.
Everything was timed in a way that you would have your chance to talk to your friends and enjoy yourself, but not get bored as there were so many activities to do! I did the reflexology session where ladies from the CITISPA Aberdeen took care of my hands and chronic tendinitis followed by a relaxing Shiatsu back & head massage with Dee, who quickly became my new idol after listening to her story…
This lady on the right is Dee, waiting to get on the stage and share her inspiring story…
When it was Dee’s turn to speak everyone stopped talking. She started by saying:
‘I am on your side as I have been a cancer survivor‘…
Dee is an American lady now living in Aberdeen whose story touched me so much I couldn’t stop crying. Let me start by saying that Dee is overly educated holding four academic degrees, including a PhD in protein engineering from the University of Aberdeen, so she had all the qualifications to be successful in life! A few years back she used to be a researcher, working in laboratories being part of complex research projects, until she was diagnosed with an unresolved form of Chemo-Brain aggresive, late-stage three cancer! And then her battle to win this nasty cancer began!
To her advantage Dee is strong and you can tell this even by looking at her for a minute. She is full of life and will to live to the fullest, and thankfully she managed to win the battle with cancer and get another degree (!) this time in Shiatsu from the Aberdeen School of Shiatsu (it’s a three years degree so by no means Dee went for something easy even after all this!). Just when she was about to open her own Shiatsu studio, her partner got diagnosed with cancer and Dee nursed him all along the way, but sadly he passed away 11 months after his diagnosis. But Dee didn’t give up! Fully determined to do what she loves and to live a life of happiness and peace she made her dream come true and is now practicing Shiatsu for people in need of body and soul relief.
I know this is getting longer than it should and I don’t want to dedicate this post to Dee (even though she would totally deserve a post ob her own) but listening to her speech it made me realise that life is short and you never know what might happen next. So make sure to do everyday something that makes you happy, and never take anyone or anything for granted, as per Dee’s advice!
People got moved by her speech and life pathway and the cancer patients, survivors, students, parents, teachers and everyone else in the room applauded her for the incredible strength and courage she has showed in life!
After the speeches, guests were left to enjoy the delicious desserts and to write their feedback on pink leaves that they could then hang on the Cherry Blossom trees placed around the tables.
What I loved about the day is that the guests were a mixture of family members, friends and people who are involved with CLAN, and we all became friends by the end of it. It’s the kind of bonding people create after they had some lovely time together and when they fight together towards the greater good. We were all there to support CLAN and be part against the cancer battle, but we were also there to admire the girls organising the event and also to have fun with our friends. It doesn’t take much for people to bond, give them some cake and let them chat away and you got the magic recipe! As we were around ten people sat per table it made sense that passing the cake trays and milk jugs around would make us start some sort of conversation and share a bit about our lives. I am telling you these kind of afternoon teas are the best kind of places to meet people. And sometimes you’ll be surprised how many similarities you might have with them!
By the end we exchanged Instagram accounts (isn’t this the modern way of keeping in touch with someone?), got pictures together and left with happy tummies and uplifted spirits.
At this point I’d like to thank the organisers who held such a lovely afternoon tea, the lecturers who helped the students throughout the event and everyone who attended and supported the cause.
More of them please, Aberdeen needs them!