About

The 20th Anniversary Snowflake Ball in December 2016 was a sell-out, with almost 300 people coming along to celebrate and to raise awareness and funds for the British Heart Foundation, Transplant Sport and FHLTA.

Over £10k was raised and a fabulous, memory making evening was (I'm reasonably confident) enjoyed by everyone. For me, it was one of the most moving, humbling and motivating experiences of my life and at the time, I thought that would be it...for at least another 5 years or so...but things change, and 2017 has given me many reasons to do another.

This time we're raising funds for The British Heart Foundation and Cardiomyopathy UK. The BHF is a fabulous charity which is fighting to end heart disease. They are the biggest independent funder of cardiovascular research in the UK. Cardiomyopathy UK's vision is for everyone affected by cardiomyopathy to lead long and fulfilling lives. They provide support and information services, work to raise awareness of the condition, campaign for better access to quality treatment and promote research.

 

We've already got some amazing ideas lined up for the 2018 Snowflake Ball so keep 1 st December free, tickets are on sale now!

"Absolutely stunning evening - perfect in every sense!"

"Suberb evening, well organised."

"What a fab night amazing peeps grand venue lots to eat and drink with so much entertainment - fab night!"

On the 3rd December of 2016, I stood in front of an audience of almost 300 people and gave them a figure.

7557

It's the number of bonus days I'd had since my heart transplant.

Kaylee's Story

Back in 1996, I was in my final year at university, enjoying my freedom and studying hard (ish). But that perfect student life changed very quickly, and over the course of just a few days I began to struggle to breathe. Walking became tiring… too tiring, and I found it hard to stand for any length of time or to lay flat.

One morning, after climbing just a few stairs on the way to a lecture, I had to stop and rest because it felt like my lungs had shrunk and there was no space for air. Was I unfit? Did I need to do more exercise or perhaps eat more sensibly? I was rather partial to custard slices and knew that consuming a twin-pack probably wasn't the best thing for my overall health! Or, was it a cold or a chest infection? I didn't for one second think that it was anything serious. It didn't cross my mind that this was something life threatening.

My first visit to the Doctor led to an early diagnosis of stress, but within 24 hours I was sent to hospital with suspected pneumonia. After collapsing, the diagnosis changed again, and I began treatment for chronic heart failure because of a condition called Dilated Cardiomyopathy.

It's quite something to find yourself on a ward with a bunch of eighty-year olds, each keen to give pep talks about how I'd be home in no time. But that wasn't to be my story. My hands and feet began to swell, my vision failed, and whilst I did leave the ward before the rest of the ladies, it was to move to the high dependency Coronary Care Unit with round the clock nursing care.

There then followed a tough couple of weeks. It is my memories of those days and many similar experiences in the months that followed which cement my unwavering appreciation of the NHS with Nurses that stayed late or came in early to wash my hair or to accompany me to theatre and Doctors that 'popped' in on their days off and stayed far too late in a bid to get a young girl back on her feet.

When it became clear that options were limited, I was transferred to The Freeman Hospital in Newcastle where I was quickly put on the transplant list. Battling heart failure and with time running out, the decision was made to put me on life support, and with a machine breathing for me, I was given 48 hours before my organs would start shutting down or infection would get the better of me.

And so the waiting game began.

Undoubtedly, this bit was harder on my family as I had the luxury of sedation with only intermittent moments of lucidity in which I could make a brief written comment or the odd request for important things (like a nice glass of red wine ' which incidentally I did get, but that's another story). My family had no such relief, and they waited hour after hour for the unthinkable. It's not a situation I'd wish on anybody.

72 hours later, the Ward Sister appeared at the window of my room and gave me a thumbs up sign.

In 1996 Cardiomyopathy was an unwelcome stranger. No one in my family had heard of it before, so the cause of my illness was blamed on a virus, an unlucky and terrifying experience, but one which, everyone seemed confident, wouldn't be repeated. Lightning doesn't strike twice, and with this reassurance in my pocket, I carried on with life, graduating from university, travelling, working, meeting my better half and ultimately starting a family.

Ten years later, my family's life was turned upside down when lightning struck again only this time it hit my brother, Darren who at the age of 29 was diagnosed with Dilated Cardiomyopathy.

I was pregnant with my first child at the time, and Cardiomyopathy was no longer a stranger. In all likelihood, it was an inherited condition.

Darren battled the condition for over six months, but by the Spring, he too was transferred to Freeman Hospital and put on the transplant list. It was harder for him. He was over 6ft tall and built like a rugby player. Finding a donor heart for a man of his stature was a big ask and the wait felt like forever. To buy time, Darren was fitted with a Berlin heart, a fairly new, unfamiliar yet ingenious piece of technology which kept him with us a couple of extra months.

Eventually, a donor heart was found for him, and as a family we allowed ourselves to believe that everything would be fine. After all, I was a shining example of just how successful a heart transplant could be, but the surgery was complicated. Removing this new device proved to be tricky, and it was time-consuming. Every minute spent removing the Berlin Heart was one more minute when the donor heart wasn't beating. When it came to the transplant, the donor heart wouldn't beat independently, and despite everyone's best efforts, Darren didn't survive the surgery.

We lost him on 15th June 2006. His first nephew was born a week later. A further five months down the road, our Mum was also diagnosed with the same condition. It felt like our family was the punch bag and Cardiomyopathy was the glove that kept dealing us the left hooks.

But it won't be that way forever.

The faulty gene that causes the type of cardiomyopathy that my family have experienced has now been identified. This is a huge leap forward. The next step is identifying what causes that faulty gene to trigger… because it doesn't always.

From there, we work out how to prevent it.

In 1996 the prognosis for someone receiving a heart transplant wasn't great, and yet that all important number now stands at 8000 days. That's almost 22 bonus years, and for this I need to thank the incredible team at the Institute of Transplantation for the on-going after care they continue to provide. However, I also recognise behind that team is a mass of knowledge and information that has been acquired through years and years of research, by people who had to ask difficult, complex questions. Questions that ultimately led to answers being found.

So, with that in mind, I have very, VERY high hopes for the next 5, 10, 20 years' worth of research.

This year, The Snowflake Ball is supporting The British Heart Foundation and Cardiomyopathy UK, two charities whose work will help us move closer towards a future where Cardiomyopathy doesn't destroy families and strike fear into the hearts of anyone receiving it as a diagnosis. Two charities that are asking the questions which will ultimately lead to the answers we need.


Kaylee Burridge-Pawley

Charities

Given that the original catalyst for the first Snowflake Ball was a celebration of the 20th anniversary of a successful heart transplant, The Snowflake Ball 2018 will continue to promote awareness of organ donation as part of its efforts, but this time around we are fund raising for the following two fabulous charities: The British Heart Foundation and Cardiomyopathy UK.

 

British Heart Foundation logo
Cardiomyopathy UK logo

The Elvetham Hotel

Set in the midst of 35 beautifully landscaped acres, The Elvetham's stunning 19th Century architecture makes it the perfect backdrop for The Snowflake Ball.

The Snowflake Ball experience begins the moment you pass through the hotel's gated entrance and wind your way along the curving driveway. Whatever the December weather, the moment you step through the arched doorframe of the main entrance you are greeted by glorious roaring fires; vast, high ceilings; sky-scraping Christmas trees, and swooping, festive garlands.

Ballroom tables

Winter Marquee

Hotel entrance and tree

Hotel

Dancing

Entertainment

Included in the price of your ticket is a welcome drink served in the Conservatory on arrival. In addition, half a bottle of wine per person will accompany a delicious, freshly-prepared, 3-course dinner, served in the mesmerising Winter Marquee. The menu, recently created by The Elvetham's Head Chef, will provide guests with the very best of dilemmas when it comes to choosing from the selection on offer. And, if you have any special dietary requests, you simply need to mention this on your booking form, and the menu will be adapted to cater for your requirements.

Within easy reach are two bars, one in the marquee and another in the public bar, both of which take cash and card payments and serve a wide range of refreshments.

If you'd like the evening to extend beyond the 1 am close, you could take advantage of The Elvetham's special rates for Bed & Breakfast. Rooms are available at a discounted price if you mention 'The British Heart Foundation Snowflake Ball' as follows:

 

The Elvetham is situated on the outskirts of Hartley Wintney with easy connections to the M3, M4, London and Reading.

From the East:

  1. Leave the M3 at Junction 4a
  2. Take the slip road (A327)
  3. Keep in the left-hand lane towards Reading
  4. At the roundabout, take the first exit (A327)
  5. Follow signs for the A30, passing the Gibraltar Barracks
  6. At the next roundabout and take the 2nd exit (signposted A30)
  7. At the next roundabout turn left onto the A30 and follow signs to Hartley Wintney
  8. On arrival into Hartley Wintney, turn left at the mini roundabout onto the Fleet Road (A323)
  9. The Elvetham is signposted one mile on the left after a series of bends

From the West:

  1. Travel east via the M3
  2. Leave the M3 at Junction 5 and at the roundabout take the 2nd exit (B3349) towards Hook
  3. At the next roundabout, take the 2nd exit and follow the signs to the A30
  4. At the next roundabout take the 3rd exit (A30) and follow the signs to Hartley Wintney
  5. On arrival into Hartley Wintney, turn right at the 2nd mini roundabout onto the Fleet Road (A323)
  6. The Elvetham is signposted one mile on the left, after a series of bends

From the North:

  1. Travel south via M4 and leave at Junction 11
  2. Take the A33 (direction Basingstoke)
  3. At the end of the dual carriageway (approximately four miles) turn left at the roundabout
  4. Follow the signs to Fleet and Hartley Wintney (B3011)
  5. On arrival into Hartley Wintney, turn left at the first mini roundabout and right at the next mini roundabout onto the Fleet Road (A323)
  6. The Elvetham is signposted one mile on the left after a series of bends

From the South:

  1. Travel north from either the A33 or M27 and join the M3 (signposted London)
  2. Leave the M3 at Junction 5 and at the roundabout take the 2nd exit (B3349) towards Hook
  3. At the next roundabout, take the 2nd exit and follow the signs to the A30
  4. At the next roundabout take the 3rd exit (A30) and follow the signs to Hartley Wintney
  5. On arrival into Hartley Wintney, turn right at the 2nd mini roundabout onto the Fleet Road (A323)
  6. The Elvetham is signposted one mile up on the left after a series of bends

By Rail:

In the event that you need to call for a cab or arrange your transport home at the end of the evening, Hart Taxis offer a 24/7 service and can be contacted on 01252 616 149.

Entertainment

Already confirmed for the drinks reception, we have the unique and captivating Champagne At The Blitz who will be performing a number of upbeat and swing tunes from the forties through to the current day to get you all 'In the mood'!

Magic Mirror on the wall; Who’ll have fun at the Snowflake Ball? We are thrilled to have booked a fun and quirky alternative to the traditional photo booth. There’s nothing quite like getting a few candid snaps of a great night out to remind you of the fun you had, and OutsideandInstant.com, with their Magic Mirror, are bound to capture some great memories!

With dancing a key part of any good evening, we have asked The Magic Tones to provide live music throughout the evening. With a disco in between sets, we also have the opportunity to play a few party favourites, so if you have any songs you'd like to throw into the hat for consideration, maybe drop us a note on our contact form below and get your request on the list! We can't guarantee it'll be played, but we'll do our best to ensure there are a great mix of tunes to tempt you into the dance floor.

If the dance floor isn’t your kind of thing then maybe competing for the fastest lap is? Whilst guests are dining in the Winter Marquee, The Snowflake Grand Prix will be set up in the conservatory with a row of super-speedy Scalextric cars lined up and raring to go!

Champagne At The Blitz
Champagne At The Blitz
Selfie Mirror
OUTSIDEandINSTANT
The Magic Tones
The Magic Tones
Scalextric cars and track
Snowflake Ball Grand Prix

Booking and Contact

Booking Form

Contact Information

date:

1 st December 2018
Your message has been sent. Thank you!