My Selection Box
I get asked a lot of the time, what did you do before you started My Selection Box ? Why Afternoon Tea ?
Well, it’s like this. I was the Practice Manager of a Birmingham inner city GP practice for 28 years and I gave up my job in 2016 when my husband needed a kidney transplant.
I wasn’t a direct match for him but I was determined to see if I could do anything to prevent him having to spend the rest of his life on dialysis.
So we got talking to the Living Kidney Donor Coordinator at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital and she suggested we considered the Paired Kidney Exchange which meant that I could donate my kidney to a compatible recipient and my husband would then get a compatible kidney in return through this amazing scheme.
I had to undergo loads of tests to ensure that I was healthy enough to donate and that my kidney was in perfect condition (I like to describe mine as an M&S kidney !!) Once I had the all clear, it was then a case of waiting for the three monthly draw (yes it’s like a lottery) to see if there was anyone compatible with me and anyone compatible with my husband.
We hit the jackpot on the first round in January 2016 just as my husband’s health was really starting to decline but unfortunately he acquired a nasty infection and so we had to postpone the transplant.
This was really devastating as not only had the scheme found one compatible donor and recipient – the scheme had found us two.
Yes, two other people in need of a transplant and two other relatives willing to donate a kidney.
Would they wait for my husband to get better ? Was there time ? How long could they wait ?
Well, it was a tough couple of weeks but yes, there was time and as soon as our surgeon at the QE gave the all clear for us to be able to go back into the next draw, we hit the jackpot !
The date was set for April 4th 2016 and a lot of pre op checks and pscychological assessments were carried out on all six of us – three donors and three recipients.
We never got to know who each other was – that is a very strict part of the paired donor exchange scheme and to this day we have never met the recipient of my kidney nor the wonderful person who donated a kidney to my husband.
On 4th April,we were all operated on in our various hospitals – my kidney was removed in the morning and transplanted into my recipient within hours, my recipient’s grandmother’s kidney was removed at the same time as mine and transplanted into another recipient, whose partner’s kidney was then removed and transplanted into my husband.
All in the same day ! Amazing isn’t it?
And for me personally, not only is my husband really well now and back at work, but I found out that my kidney went to a child who had been on dialysis since he was born.
I haven’t been allowed to meet him but his Mum and I exchange Christmas cards via the Queen Elizabeth Hospital and last Christmas, she wrote to tell me that her son had participated in the Transplant Games and had won five medals.
So there it is, that’s why I gave up my job ! That and the fact that I was ready for a change – 28 years in General Practice is a very long time indeed !
So why Afternoon Tea ? Well, I love to bake and I love to entertain and over the years, friends and family have always raved about my afternoon teas so I thought why not do something I really enjoy?
I have often felt underwhelmed by many afternoon teas I have had out and about - the cakes have been dry, the scones cold, the sandwiches a bit limp or curling at the edges and the selection a bit limited.
So MYSELECTIONBOX was created out of a desire to offer people a hotel style Afternoon Tea with a selection of beautifully prepared sandwiches, scones, cakes and desserts.
I wanted to be able to bring what I did in my home, into other people’s homes so that they could celebrate life’s special occasions without the hassle of going out.
So I bought some lovely contemporary fine bone china, afternoon tea cutlery, white linen napkins and white tablecloths, oh and some rather fabulous Villeroy and Bosch cake stands and some tea pots and the rest is history.
And now I do Afternoon Teas for all occasions – Baby Showers, Hen Parties, Bridal Showers, Eighteenth Birthdays, 75th Birthdays, Golden Wedding Anniversaries – the list goes on.
I have just launched my new corporate menu a few months ago – giving businesses the option to have an Afternoon Tea instead of the usual sandwich lunch and yes, I’m flexible with time – Afternoon Tea with MySelectionBox can be anytime you want !
On 28th November from 12-2pm, I will be fundraising for Kidney Research by selling Selection Boxes of my bakes and individual sea salt chocolate brownies in the foyer of the Chamber of Commerce so please come along and help support this vital work.