Cassey was diagnosed with High Risk Neuroblastoma, Paraspinal thoracic lesion Stage 4, in May 2012, when she was 15 months old. Following the shock diagnosis, Cassey underwent surgery, chemotherapy, a stem cell treatment and radiotherapy, and took part in a clinical trial.
Mum, Janet, said: “At the time it did not sink in. When they first told us what it was, they said ‘lesion’, so I hoped it was just a cyst, but when they said it was a ‘large tumour’, I realised how bad it was.”
During this difficult time, her family stayed in CLIC Sargent’s ‘Home from Home’ called CLIC Haven near to Southampton Hospital where families can stay for free to be near their child – providing a vital lifeline for families.
“It was just such a relief to have the Home from Home. When you are facing all the problems with Cassey, you didn’t want to have to be thinking: ’where are we going to stay?’
“When you are there, you can have a little break and some time to yourself. It’s wonderful, you feel you are at home, but the hospital is very accessible from there. The staff are really accommodating too, and it is really clean.”
Our CLIC Sargent Social Worker
The Abella family also had support from a CLIC Sargent social worker who provide practical, emotional and financial support.
“Tricia, our CLIC Sargent social worker, was there before and after the surgery and checked how we were every day. She was very easy to talk to and it was a relief to open up. She helped us out with information not just for Cassey but for her brothers too. The financial grant was very helpful as the costs soon pile up when you are in hospital and not working to look after your child.”
With Cassey, now thankfully in remission, her family are keen to give something back by lending his support to the campaign to help other families.
“I really hope that everyone in Guernsey backs this appeal because it is a lifeline to families like ours who have their world turned upside down. If we can share our story to inspire others to donate to help families like ours in the future then it is all worth it.”
About Jean’s House
CLIC Sargent is planning to open a new ‘Home from Home’, called Jean’s House in Southampton this autumn , providing vital free accommodation for young patients and their families during cancer treatment at nearby specialist Southampton Hospital. Jean’s House will have seven en-suite family bedrooms (sleeping up to four people), two open plan kitchen/diners, two lounges and a teenagers’ space, helping families spend more time together and avoid often debilitating travel and accommodation costs.
Please join our fight for young lives against cancer and help us raise £400,000 to relocate our Home from Home in Southampton. Donate now.