2nd September, 2021

A night at the Casino - Francesca's (B19) Charity Ball

Ampleforth Society

“Remarkable” and “inspirational” are just two of the words used to describe 20 year old Francesca Foxcroft (B19) who organised and hosted a Charity Ball for PoTS UK and YoungMinds at the stunning new venue, Woodstock Events in Shipton. Francesca was diagnosed with PoTS which stands for Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome, a condition that causes the heart rate to shoot up when she stands up which leads to a multitude of symptoms including dizziness and nausea. Having never heard of the condition before her diagnosis, Francesca wanted to raise awareness for the disease but also much needed funds for the Charity PoTS UK, an organisation run by medical professionals who are hoping to carry out more research and offer support to those suffering. 

“We are so lucky to have a consultant cardiologist, Dr Sanjay Gupta who has a particular interest in PoTS at York District Hospital.” Francesca explains, “Dr Gupta has carried out extensive research PoTS and the many other conditions that go hand in hand with PoTS. Thanks to him, I managed to get my diagnosis relatively quickly but the average diagnostic delay is 6 years.” 

Dr Gupta said “I don’t think I’ve come across a single patient who hasn’t broken down in front of me – they all say the same thing “Thank God someone believes in me.” For me, working with and treating patients with PoTS and seeing them flourish after years of being in a dark and lonely place is far more rewarding than anything else I’ve done as a Doctor. I see at least four patients every day with this condition and I think this is just the tip of the iceberg. I suspect that all these patients who have Long Covid probably have PoTS.” 

Francesca’s idea for a Fundraising Ball was also to raise awareness and to give herself a purpose, goal and a focus throughout this year. Once she saw the venue “Woodstock,” stunning converted farm buildings just outside Shipton-by-Beningbrough she knew that was the place! With its huge expanse and indoor/outdoor space and being able to cater for large numbers, it was perfect. It is just like being in an Alpine ski lodge with beautiful chandeliers and candelabras! 

The other charity Francesca wanted to help was YoungMinds. This is a subject so close to her heart and has also helped many of her friends. It is a known fact that many young people have mental health issues which results in silent suffering, invisible damage and long-term effects. YoungMinds are an organisation that work tirelessly to offer support, guidance, advice and tips. 

During her long illness, Francesca managed to complete many poems which she has since published called “Bubbles on my Kneecaps,” which is available on Amazon. 

Dr Gupta finished his speech saying: “PoTS is a remarkable condition, but it seems to affect remarkable people like Francesca who battle with their own symptoms but find the time and energy to organise something like this Ball for the benefit of others. Remarkable people like Francesca who feel broken all the time, yet refuse to break. Thank you Francesca, you are an inspiration and you are unbreakable.” 

The successful inaugural Charity Ball raised over £10,000 on the night and Francesca would like to thank many local businesses who donated incredible prizes such as The Pheasant Hotel, The Fairfax Arms, The Durham Ox, Hearts Boutique, Home Farm Café, Fetlock & Feathers, The Blacksmiths Arms Newton, Browns of York, Fenwicks, Saks Hairdressers and many more friends and family who dug deep into their pockets on the night to show their generosity and support.

Well done to Francesca for organising such an amazing night - we are all very proud of your achievement!