Other nutty stuff

Why I am painting my nails

If you have watched any of my videos you will know that I never wear nail polish. There are actually a few reasons for this. I don’t always record the different parts of a video in chronological order. This means that if I have nail polish on one set of shots and not on others there will be a continuity error in the video. Something I want to avoid. Another reason why I don’t wear nail polish is because when I do have nail polish on, after a few days it is no longer immaculate and then I start picking at it which only makes it worse. So, to make a long story short, I don’t wear nail polish.

But then there was a little boy in The Netherlands who changed all that. His name is Tijn and he had cancer. I am saying “had” because Tijn has lost his battle with the disease. We all knew that it was a battle that he couldn’t win, but that doesn’t make it any easier when a child dies.

How it all began

For those of you who don’t live in The Netherlands, let me try to share Tijn’s story with you. It started in December 2016 in Breda. Tijn went to Het Glazen Huis (“The Glass House”) which is an annual fundraiser by 3FM radio station in collaboration with The Red Cross called Serious Request. In the week before Christmas 2 or 3 DJ’s lock themselves in a house made from glass, with no food, only water and play requests 24 hours a day in exchange for donations. Each year Het Glazen Huis is in a different city and last year it was in Breda, a city close to the town where Tijn lived.

Tijn was 6 years old at the time. He had brain stem cancer and he knew he had less than a year to live. There was little that doctors could do for him. Nonetheless, Tijn wanted to make a difference. He asked his father and together they went to Het Glazen Huis and asked the DJ’s if they could paint peoples’ nails. Tijn wanted to raise 100 euro this way and make a small difference. The DJ’s were overwhelmed by Tijn’s story and invited him in, and Tijn grew out to become a legend.

Miss Montreal wrote a song for him, and even though it’s in Dutch I hope you can feel the deep emotion of the song. She sings that Tijn is an example to us all and that his story is eternal. She sang this song in Het Glazen Huis last year.

DJ’s, musicians, politicians, actors, authors, young, old, male, female; everyone painted their nails to show support for Tijn and his cause. Tijn called his work “Lak Aan”, which is a wordplay in Dutch. “Lak Aan” is an expression meaning that you don’t care what happens and what other people think, you are going to do something anyway. Tijn used “Lak Aan” to say “Polish On” because “lak” also means “nail polish”. What the wordplay means is just polish your nails, and don’t care about what other people think. But many people did care about Tijn; during the week of Serious Request Tijn raised 2 million euro!

One last time….

But it didn’t end there. Tijn collaborated one last time with Stichting Sammy, an organization fighting against the same kind of cancer Tijn had. The aim: to raise 1 million euro to be able to buy a special machine and bring it to The Netherlands so that it would be possible to treat children with brain stem cancer. It would not be able to help Tijn, but maybe it will save other children in the future.

During one week only you could buy a bottle of nail polish in one of 4 shades, Tijn’s favorite colors, for 10 euro to raise the money needed. The nail polish is called “Lak door Tijn” (Polish by Tijn). Tijn succeeded, he raised 1.2 million that week. On the last day of the week Tijn died.

And that is why I am paining my nails. To show my respect and support for a very brave little boy and his family.

I added a crackle coat to Tijn’s nail polish because our lives are cracked sometimes, but hope keeps shining through. Rest in peace little Tijn.

With love,


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26 thoughts on “Why I am painting my nails”

  1. Dear Esther thank you so much for sharing Tijn’s story and the beautiful song. It really touched my heart, couldn’t stop the tears. Xxx


  2. Thanks for sharing. Everytime I’ll looked at your videos and your nails I’ll remembered of Tijn’s.
    Love from France.


  3. Thank you Esther for sharing Tijn’s story. What a brave boy, and thank you for the beautiful song. It really touched my heart.


  4. Thanks for sharing Esther. It’s a very sweet story, and even if there’s so much sadness, it’s also full of hope. It’d be so beautiful if Tijn love and dedication could give his friends a long and happy life every child deserves.


  5. Thank you for sharing with the world such a significant story. One little boy made a difference. God bless him!


  6. Mooi geschreven Esther. Ik gebruik ook nooit nagelak maar ik heb nu wel 2 potjes “Lak door Tijn” staan. Wat een geweldig mannetje was hij………


  7. This is truly an inspiring story and, at the same time, so very heartbreaking. What a very brave and caring little boy. My heart goes out to the family.


  8. Tears streaming down my face: for the loss of this little Tijn’s battle, for the glorious and amazing thoughtfulness of his notion to raise so much money for others!!!! What a beautiful story. I will I could share this on Facebook!!! The world needs to hear and see more acts of loving kindness!!! THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU of polishing your nails and sharing this heartfelt story. Tijn will live on in my heart and memory!! ❤


  9. What stength!!! We live and learn every day of our lives, short or long. Long live Tjin in our hearts and I’ll think of him every time I wear nail polish again.


  10. Thank you Esther for making Tijns story known even out of the Netherlands. I live in the Netherlands and knew This story but it brought tears in my eyes again. We had luck with our boy who suffered also from cancer when he was 4. He did win the battle and is now 28.


  11. thank you for the touching story, and the beautiful spirit in Tijin who has lived beyond his years and leaves a lasting legacy. I am in awe of such generosity in a little boy, and hope that his gift will touch many many families in The Netherlands.


  12. Thanks for sharing this story – haven’t heard of it before …. and I hope his legacy will live on and there will be a way to get rid of cancer ……


  13. My eyes are full of tears. No child should have to be so inspiring — but how blessed the world was, to have had him in it.


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