Reuben's story

Last December Reuben had a scan which revealed he had a mass in his tummy. His parents Jess and Kulwant were devastated to find out that he has a rare cancer called neuroblastoma.    

Reuben, aged 3, and his family are sharing their story with The Sun in support of our Smiles at Christmas fundraising appeal.   

Reuben's story

Reuben’s treatment is continuing and he’s back in hospital this December, but they hope he’ll be home for Christmas.

Life turns upside down

Jess said: “You don’t think of kids having cancer and I just couldn’t get my head around what I was hearing. At that moment we went from being a perfect family of four, feeling happy and lucky about our two beautiful children and our life together, to being thrown into the world of paediatric oncology."

CLIC Sargent support

“We met our CLIC Sargent Support Worker Shelagh early on.  She met us on the ward and gave us a big bag of things to make our stay easier – toothpaste, deodorant, tea bags, a little stuffed dog for Reuben, loads of information about how she could help us.  Within two weeks we’d got a grant from CLIC Sargent to help with all the extra costs we had like travel and parking.  She’s been like a fairy godmother to us ever since, supporting us however we need.”

Home from Home

Because Reuben is treated at a specialist hospital in Oxford, far from where the family live, Jess and Kulwant initially rented a place to stay nearby, which was expensive. But then Shelagh told them about CLIC Court, CLIC Sargent’s Home from Home, about five minutes away, a lovely homely place where families can stay close to their loved ones for free during treatment. Jess, her younger son Hari who was just 9-weeks-old at the time, and Kulwant moved in straight away.

After Reuben’s initial treatment, he was discharged just before Christmas on 23 December.  But his parents were terrified about taking him home – they knew how vulnerable he’d be to infection, and had so much information about how to give him the medication he needed that they found the responsibility overwhelming. So to help them transition from hospital to home, they decided to take Reuben to CLIC House.    

Jess comments: “He absolutely loved it here. There was a huge Christmas tree up, and tons of decorations, which we hadn’t had a chance to sort out at home.  He started to call it, and still calls it, his ‘Christmas holiday house’.   

“The team there had made it so cosy and made us so comfortable.  They helped us get our bearings, and on Christmas Eve we left to spend Christmas Day with my parents."

You can help

Jess adds:  “We don’t take CLIC House for granted at all.  We think about how lucky we are all the time to be able to stay there.  So this Christmas we’re asking people to donate to CLIC Sargent instead of buying presents.”

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