26 Year-Old Yorkshire Writer Dedicates Will to Charity After Surviving Cancer

Yorkshire-based author and entrepreneur Hannah Russell’s life changed drastically in 2020, when she was diagnosed with Sarcoma cancer aged 24. Now in remission, Hannah is considering how she can leave a legacy for generations to come – dedicating her Will to international animal charity, Brooke. 

After undergoing intensive cancer treatment, Hannah, who rose to fame at age 17 with the award-winning Little Alf children’s book series, has decided to write a Will to “set the foundations” of her life whilst supporting causes close to her heart. This includes a generous gift to Brooke, a charity dedicated to improving the lives of working horses, donkeys and mules worldwide. 

Hannah was first diagnosed with stage three Sarcoma in her hip during 2020, leading to six operations and radiotherapy to remove the tumour. Shortly after, Hannah discovered she also had skin cancer and underwent further treatment. After two years of gruelling recovery, Hannah’s cancer went into remission in June 2022, and since then she is “living life to the full ” at a smallholding in the Yorkshire Dales. 

During her cancer treatment, Hannah turned to animals to support her emotional wellbeing – including two Valais Blacknose sheep who have brought “endless therapy and enjoyment especially on those hard days”. Izzy and Ida became popular with fans online, after Hannah began sharing their antics via social channels- reaching 72 million views on her blog. 

As a Youth Ambassador for Brooke, Hannah has worked tirelessly to raise awareness of the charity from a young age. After visiting Kenya in 2019 to see Brooke’s vital work in the country, Hannah was inspired to leave a gift in her Will, which will help to protect working equines for many years to come. 

Hannah said: “I have been involved with Brooke for a number of years now and love the impact of the work they do.

“I love all animals… so it was important that I think about them and make sure that they are also cared for. Writing a Will, no matter my age, is the best way to ensure they will be cared for.”

Hannah wrote her Will using Brooke’s new Free Will Service, which allows you to write a Will at no cost to you, either online, over the phone or face-to-face with a solicitor, so you can remember loved ones and causes that are important to you. Gifts in Wills fund over half of Brooke’s work and in 2020 they helped to protect over 1.5 million working horses, donkeys and mules. 

Hannah’s visit to Kenya also influenced her 15th book of the Little Alf chronicles, which follows Little Alf travelling to Brooke’s different countries of operation. The bestselling series, based on Hannah’s miniature Shetland pony, became a social media sensation on release and has been published in multiple languages. 

Hannah said: “My trip to East Africa inspired the story of Little Alf’s adventure around the world, which I’ve really enjoyed bringing to life”. 

“I live life very much every day; it’s about making memories. I decided to write my Will aged 26, as I think it’s important to set foundations…as I grow as a person.

“No matter how big or small, by leaving a gift in your Will to Brooke you can help the charity continue to do all their amazing work.”

Little Alf’s Adventures Around the World will be available to purchase from 8 September on Hannah’s website. You can pre-order here

Learn more about Hannah’s story here

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