I love fancy dress. And I do my best to give to charity. I’ve even dressed up for charity, raising pennies. But never – never – have I considered going to the lengths one woman has.
Eve Hazelton lives in Devon, working as a Director of Photography for Realm Pictures. I know her through a friend, and in the last few months I’ve been following her adventures and activities.
Because Eve did something amazing. Something brave. Something absolutely ridiculous!
On the 1st July 2014, Eve gave away all of her clothes – ALL of her clothes – in aid of the breast cancer awareness charity Coppafeel. And since then, she’s been living her life in donated fancy dress costumes from Smiffys.
It started in May 2014, when she was asked to film the “Hilly Hundred” charity bike ride, spending a weekend with Kris, Maren, the Coppafeel team and their volunteer cyclists. Returning home, she watched a BBC documentary about founder Kris entitled “Kris: Dying To Live”. That was enough. She hadn’t simply watched something which made her donate a tenner; she’d met the people, seen the work they did and experienced the drive to improve the lives of others.
We all know someone is affected by cancer. I’ve lost two elderly relatives to cancer, and I’ve witnessed the devastation of sons losing a mother and even the desperate need to ensure a mother doesn’t lose a son. I’ve done what I could, donating to the cause and supporting the individual as best I could.
This wasn’t enough for Eve. She set her targets high, and she wanted to do something which not only raised money but awareness.
I was amazed at how she seemed to just get on with her life in fancy dress. Posting daily photographs and regular videos, she’s kept people updated with every moment.
I assumed that, working with people in the film and media industry, they’d probably accept her outfits rather quickly. But she works outside of the country too, having to travel via airlines. Now, imagine walking through the airport dressed as Wonder Woman! “Getting through airports has been both the most fun and the most nerve-racking experience,” Eve explained. “The cabin crew seemed perplexed as I boarded, but simply joked that ‘I shouldn’t need to board the plane, as surely I could fly there’ – which I thought was quite nice.”
Not every experience has been so positive however. In her hometown, people are getting used to seeing her dressed in her various costumes – some much more extreme than others – but in other places they have been less inquisitive and more insulting. They’ve crossed the street to avoid her, shouting such things as “Go back to the loony house, you freak”, even suggesting that what she is doing is self-centred and not charitable at all.
Her husband, housemates, family and friends have kept her strong, reminding her of the reasons she is doing this. She even went to family funeral in costume. Selecting an angel, she admitted the fear in people taking it the wrong way. But the sister of the deceased was a survivor of breast cancer and gave her full support, alongside the rest of the family. It was this situation, Eve said was the most uncomfortable, followed by a Hannibal Lector costume which she wore around London.
And every day, Eve is in contact with those who have donated through her website. She is told stories of those living with cancer, those who have survived cancer, and those who have lost family and friends because of cancer. 1 in 8 women will be diagnosed with breast cancer: that’s a harrowing statistic. Coppafeel reminds women that you have to know your own breasts in order to be able to prevent late detection. Copping a feel of yourself could save your life. And the money Eve has raised, and continues to raise, will support those who do find that lump or bump which requires treatment. Put simply, Eve stated that “as long as they need money, I need to wear fancy dress.”
A few days ago, I saw another video pop up on Facebook, via a mutual friend. The video informed me that there were 100 days left of her Fancy Year. She’d raised over £9000, less than half of her target amount, and she was upping her game.
With three months to go, she needed to raise a further £10’500 in order to make that target amount. It was going to take more than simply dressing up.
Every day for the final 100 days, Eve and her husband are going to run 10k. That’s 10k for 100 days; one million metres. That’s incredible.
She’s going to face more weird looks as well as the risk of physical injuries. They are not trained marathon runners. They are two people who believe in this charity. And, although she is counting down the days until she can wear a pair of jeans, she is going to do this.
What she needs is your support. She’s stayed positive even though that cash-meter hasn’t been rising as quickly as she’d have liked. She’s had days where taking the photograph to share with those following and supporting her has felt like the worst thing in the world. But she’s driven and determined by this good cause.
I, myself, have vowed to donate from money I make writing feature articles for publications such as Yorkshire Gig Guide, giving the additional income I will make over the next 93 days, as the campaign clock ticks away to finality. It isn’t a lot, but it’s what I can do.
Fact is, charity can’t be a one man race. It can’t be down to one person having a crazy idea and making it a reality. Donate what you can – little or large – via the website. Do your part. In helping Eve, you help so many women.
And men, don’t forget that the same rules apply to you: you too can cop a feel to check for testicular cancer.