Why Designer Helen Cody Believes This Is The Ultimate Gift

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Visiting her solicitor in the midst of ongoing chemotherapy, just over two years ago, designer Helen Cody wrote a two line Will to ensure that her husband Rory would be looked after and her business affairs would not be left in what she describes as a mess. At that stage, Cody tells me, she didn’t care if she lived or died, she felt so poorly, though it was not in her nature to give up. “I felt acutely the shame of admitting I was not coping.” Two years later, I talked to Helen Cody this morning about how she has now amended her Will to include another massive support in her life: charity.

“My oncologist suggested I contact ARC Cancer Services [which offers a range of services to those affected by cancer as well as their immediate family]. It was a release in itself and the permission I needed to say I’m failing. From the very beginning it was a place to cry, to be vulnerable and to ask difficult questions.” With the help of her counsellor and by taking other complementary therapies, Cody describes how she took “baby steps towards looking for light.” She marshalled her strength before embarking on a final round of chemo. “I will be eternally grateful for the support my counsellor gave me and my husband Rory [who also underwent counselling],” says Cody.

Since that time, she has been active in promoting and supporting the charity, which relies on volunteers and ongoing donations. To date through fashion shows and art exhibitions Cody has helped raise over €100,000. She’s also mindful of cancer patients who are undergoing treatment in isolation. “Your immunity is so compromised anyway, that it must be so very frightening for patients to try and protect themselves with the ongoing threat of Covid-19.”

Such is Cody’s empathy, she says she is constantly on the phone to the charity and has been concerned about the impact Covid-19 has had on its vital fundraising programme. Since March, ARC’s centres have been closed though they continue to offer essential services via phone, video conferencing and online. In addition its extensive events programme has been cancelled, though some online events and initiatives still continue. This weekend, for instance, supporters are encouraged to participate in a Torch of Hope walk within their own communities.

“I’m proud of how ARC has adapted. This pandemic is temporary but cancer isn’t going anywhere. They and all charities need our support.”

“I’m proud of how ARC has adapted. This pandemic is temporary but cancer isn’t going anywhere. They and all charities need our support.” That’s why Cody is endorsing My Legacy Month, which begins today. “Now more than ever leaving a legacy gift is something we should all consider. No matter how big or small, a legacy gift will make a big difference in the future to a cause you care about.”

It’s not a complicated process, and if like me, you’ve been procrastinating about making a Will, lockdown is the ideal opportunity to get your affairs in order. Indeed, since the beginning of the pandemic, solicitors have been reporting a significant increase in Will making enquiries and as a result have adapted their processes. Solicitors now take take instructions over the phone, and a legacy gift can be processed online.

Having been established in 2006 by a small group of charities, My Legacy has since grown to a group of 70 Irish charities. Legacy gifts left to these charities are tax-free and no matter how big or small a gift is, it makes a huge difference to those in vulnerable positions. Cody has amended her Will and is leaving a legacy gift to ARC. As Christmas approaches, this lasting gift idea is one we should all consider. To find out more, visit MyLegacy.ie.

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