To mark the occasion, which officially fell on Monday 4 February, Lady Helen celebrated with young cancer patients and families currently using the facility, which offers free accommodation to families who have a child receiving treatment at John Radcliffe Children’s Hospital. Lady Helen happily mingled with partygoers and heard about their direct experiences with cancer and how the charity has been helping them cope.
CLIC Court has offered an estimated 20,000 free nights to families dealing with childhood cancer and was first opened by Lady Helen’s mother, Duchess of Kent, on 4 February 1993. Many families require a stay for one night, a few weeks or even months until their child is well enough to return home. The house is funded entirely by voluntary donations and currently costs £40,000 per year to operate.
Commenting on attending CLIC Court's 20th anniversary celebration, Lady Helen said: “I am delighted to be part of CLIC Court’s 20th birthday and toast its success, celebrating 20 years of service to children and young people with cancer.
“The house is such an amazing sanctuary for families, giving them one less thing to worry about when they find themselves in the midst of a cancer diagnosis and the beginnings of what is likely to be one of the most difficult times in their lives. I would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone in Oxford who has helped generate funds for CLIC Sargent over the last 20 years. Without their support, the charity wouldn’t be able to provide families the practical, financial and emotional support they need when a child is diagnosed with cancer.”
Jo Bell, from Northants, and her family stayed at CLIC Court when her daughter, 17-year-old Charlotte, was receiving treatment for medulloblastoma. Commenting on the family stay at the Oxford-based Home from Home, Jo said: “CLIC Court was a complete lifeline for us. It wasn’t a clinical place at all and really became our home for six weeks. During this time we had visits from family and friends and even did some baking there. The staff were a fantastic support, providing a listening ear if you needed a chat or just someone to sit and have a cup of tea with. They became part of our family and I can’t speak highly enough of them.”
Since it opened in 1993, CLIC Court has offered a warm welcome to over 1,000 families and in the last year alone supported 75 families from across Oxfordshire and surrounding counties.