Mother and daughter cancer survivors Josie Connar, 48, and her 13-year-old daughter Ruby from Cranbrook, Devon, are backing a campaign to win £7 million for CLIC Sargent, the support charity which got the family through their hardest times.
Ruby was diagnosed with leukaemia in November 2011 aged 8 and was supported by CLIC Sargent’s Cancer Care team during her treatment at Bristol Children’s Hospital, a 150-mile round-trip from their home. One year into Ruby’s treatment, in another devastating blow for the family, Josie was diagnosed with breast cancer.
At times they would be having chemotherapy at different ends of the same hospital. And on the date when Ruby finally had her last round of chemo, Josie had a double mastectomy – signalling the final part of both their respective life-saving treatments.
Ruby was officially given the all-clear last November and, while Josie is still technically in remission, she is showing no signs of the cancer returning to her body. The duo say that they have never been closer, due to their shared ordeal.
Josie and Ruby are now urging Morrisons employees at their local store in Prince Charles Road, Exeter, and right across the UK to vote for CLIC Sargent in their staff ballot for the supermarket’s new charity partner – which could be worth up to £7 million for the winning charity.
They are also calling for friends and family members of Morrisons staff to encourage their loved ones to join team CLIC Sargent, so that the charity can help other families like theirs in need.
“Heather our CLIC Sargent Social Worker was amazing and without her help, financially we could have gone under. Travel expenses, parking charges and me eating at the hospital got so expensive, but she arranged grants and benefits that helped us cope.
“And CLIC Sargent arranged free accommodation for me and Ruby’s older brother Jack at CLIC House, the charity’s ‘Home from Home’ for families nearby to Bristol Children’s Hospital. That meant we could stay close to Ruby during her treatment.”
Recent CLIC Sargent research has shown that on average parents face extra living expenses of £600 a month when their child is on treatment, with the biggest increased costs found to be travel expenses and hospital parking fees, forcing many into debt.
“Heather was a big support to Ruby and me emotionally - especially when I found out I had cancer too.
“I really hope that CLIC Sargent win the Morrisons vote, they are not very well known as a charity but the work they do is amazing.
“The support we got from CLIC Sargent was phenomenal and no family should have to go without that support when they need it most.
When Ruby was well enough to return home between hospital treatments, CLIC Sargent’s specialist Nursing Team stepped in to provide clinical support at her home and at her school, which helped keep life as normal as possible, as it meant that less hospital and GP visits were needed.
“Parents like me couldn’t survive without CLIC Sargent’s Nurses, they are invaluable, they were a godsend to us.
“Without Lynn, Jenn, Heather, Louise and Sandy, Ruby would have had to spend a lot more time in hospital and a lot of the questions and worries I had at the time about her treatment would have gone unanswered.
“It made such a difference knowing that help was just a phone call away, whenever I needed it.”
Last year CLIC Sargent supported 619 children and young people with cancer and their families across the South West, and awarded over £87,000 in financial grants to families in need to help them meet the extra costs of cancer treatment.
Ruth Caulfield, Fundraising Manager, CLIC Sargent, said:
“Seven million pounds would transform the lives of thousands of young cancer patients and their families right across the UK, and we’re so proud to have the backing of Ruby and Josie.
“If we win, CLIC Sargent will be able to double the amount of financial grants we give to families and young people struggling to cope with the extra costs of cancer, increase specialist nursing support for young patients, and create safe havens for families to relax away from the intensity of the cancer wards.
“On behalf of families like this everywhere - please vote Team CLIC Sargent for Morrisons’ new charity partner and help stop cancer destroying young lives.”
This January Morrisons’ employees across the country are being asked to vote for their new charity partner, worth up to £7 million for the winning charity. Find out how you can support the bid.
For more information, interviews or images please call Claire Monger on 07932 666 163 or email firstname.lastname@example.org