Selena Ryan-Vig

Raising money for the Hummingbird Centre - in memory of Soph

Fundraising for The Hummingbird Centre
raised of £10,000 target
In memory of Sophie Paulden
We support those affected by cancer to let our guests know they are not alone


We are beyond heartbroken to have lost Sophie.

On the 25th of August, Soph was diagnosed with an acute type of leukemia. No one could believe it. We'd thought that maybe Soph had glandular fever, after struggling with tonsillitis that wasn't getting better with treatment. We were so wrong.

It was an aggressive type of leukemia, needing aggressive treatment. Sophie faced her first few weeks in hospital with such bravery, before having some respite at home with me and her mum. Such precious days.

In mid-October, after an anxious wait for the results of a bone marrow biopsy, we were elated to learn that the 1st round of treatment had put Soph into remission. However, she needed further chemotherapy to keep it that way and to aim for cure - and Sophie began her 2nd round of treatment shortly afterwards.

Just as she had completed the 2nd round and was supposed to be coming home again, things took a very bad turn, extremely quickly.

Sophie developed extreme complications from the chemotherapy. She deteriorated very quickly and was admitted to intensive care with severe sepsis and a host of other problems, and was quickly put on life support. 

The team were dedicated and caring, and Sophie herself was truly fighting so hard. But, after just over 2 nightmarish weeks later, the doctors told us there was no more they could do. Sophie was just so desperately poorly, with such complex complications that were only getting worse.

Soph passed away on the afternoon of Thursday 17th November. She was holding her mum's hand, and holding my hand, with her dad and my parents there too. The team assured us that she wouldn't have felt any pain. We told her how deeply loved she is by us all, and by the many, many people whose lives she's impacted - I hope she felt that somehow.

Life without Sophie is incomprehensible.

The speed at which everything happened only adds to our heartache - it meant that we couldn't have final, meaningful conversations with Sophie. We know we'll share that pain with many people who love her.

Sophie was an incredibly generous, caring and thoughtful soul. As we struggle to come to terms with losing Soph, her parents and I would like to honour her memory by raising money for the Hummingbird Centre, which is based near our home in Bicester.

During her time at home in-between her 1st and 2nd rounds of treatment, Soph, her mum and I visited the Hummingbird for an initial chat and introductions.

The centre offers counselling and a range of other therapies and services for people affected by cancer in a setting which is instantly calming and welcoming. 

I'm so sad to think that was the first and only time Soph visited the centre. Even though the visit was brief, Sophie came away saying she felt like it would offer her a "lifeline" at a time when she was struggling so much with what she was facing.

The centre seemed to offer something Sophie so desperately needed. An escape. A space to talk and be heard. To feel understood. To feel held.

The impact even from that brief visit was huge. It lifted Sophie up. It lifted us all up and made things feel a little brighter that day. I can only imagine that countless others who visit there feel the same. We know Sophie would love the thought that we could support the centre in her honour. 

Thank you so much for anything you can donate.

- Selena, Lesley & Lionel.


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About the charity

The Hummingbird Centre provides Complementary Therapy, Counselling support and Friendship for people affected by cancer in the Bicester and surrounding areas. Please donate to support our cause. Sadly there are many people affected by cancer, the growing town of Bicester in Oxfordshire has, until now, had no local place for guests and their families to meet, that is why we formed The Hummingbird Centre. We offer a friendly and welcoming centre, somewhere for people to relax, meet others in a similar situation, use the various complementary therapy treatments available or simply to have a break and a cup of tea. Counselling support and guidance is available together with arts and craft activities and much more. We provide the opportunity to escape daily life pressures, talk to people who can help and support practically and emotionally. As with many charities we are reliant on the goodwill of volunteers and supporters . Please help us raise funds for this extremely worthwhile centre, all donations are very gratefully received and wisely spent to provide the support to our guests and their loved ones, helping them cope and live well.

Donation summary

Total raised
+ £2,047.50 Gift Aid
Online donations
Offline donations

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