When I was a little girl, I remember sitting on our front lawn with my best friend who lived about two blocks away and telling her with conviction that it was possible for us to build a tunnel underneath our suburb, linking our houses, a la the Famous Five.
She said it wasn’t.
‘Anything is possible!’ I sang, like I was in the Sound of Music.
She said, ‘Not this.’
Fast forward about thirty-five years and I was floundering in a soup of helplessness after my daughter’s best friend Neala was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukaemia.
Neala was admitted immediately for a two-month stay in hospital ahead of a three year treatment program and first things first. Posters of Harry Styles in the oncology ward:
I was desperately trying to think of ways to help. Practical things. Casseroles etc.
‘You know what Neala needs?’ I said to my kids. ‘One of Harry Styles’ bandanas for when her hair falls out.’
Entire Tumblr blogs are dedicated to Harry’s bandana collection. Surely he can spare one?
How hard could it possibly be to convince the most popular boy in the world to strip off a bandana and mail it to us here in Jerra, unwashed and reeking of pop-star… (and yes, maybe I was slightly high at the time on the buzz of writing my novel, Unrequited, in which an ordinary girl catches the eye of the world’s biggest pop star).
My kids looked at me the way my best friend did when we were five.
They said, ‘Niall Horan’s half-eaten piece of toast was auctioned for one hundred thousand dollars.’
I didn’t understand what that had to do with anything.
‘Mum – Neala would love that. It would be the coolest thing ever. But it’s never going to happen. One Direction is flooded with requests like this for cancer patients. Harry has 23 million followers on Twitter. They make $75 million a year…’
Neala would love that.
‘Does anyone know Harry Styles?’ I typed into Facebook, knowing it was simply a matter of digging around and uncovering six degrees of separation.
PING! Private message from a friend whose husband works with someone in the entertainment industry who had met them. Two minutes into the quest and only two degrees of separation to go!
So I wrote very compelling email…
Fast forward seven months.
Dream big. Assume the best of people. xx